Tips for Psychologically Safe Workplaces

Thursday 14 September 2023 is our National Day of Action, dedicated to reminding everyone that any day is the day to ask, 'Are you OK?' and support those struggling with life’s demands.
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Thursday 14 September 2023 is our National Day of Action, dedicated to reminding everyone that any day is the day to ask, ‘Are you OK?’ and support those struggling with life’s demands.

This day offers managers the opportunity to foster real human connections. Have a conversation with a colleague who may be struggling. It shouldn’t be a once-and-done scenario – make such conversations part of a broader cultural shift, while recognising that this can take time.

Listen to your colleagues and team members, take notes and feed any relevant information or ideas back to those who are responsible for policy-making in the organisation. Humanise the policies that your company has.

Some practical tips employers can take to promote a healthy and supportive workplace include the following.

Promote Awareness and Education

  • Organise workshops and training sessions to raise awareness about mental health issues.
  • Provide resources such as pamphlets, websites and videos on mental health topics.

Create a Supportive Culture

  • Foster an open and non-judgemental environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns.
  • Encourage managers to have regular check-ins with their team members to discuss workload, challenges and well-being.

Offer Flexible Work Arrangements

  • When possible offer flexible work hours or remote work options to accommodate employees’ individual needs and reduce stress related to commuting and work–life balance.

Manage Workload and Expectations

  • Set realistic goals and expectations for employees to prevent burnout.
  • Provide clear job descriptions and responsibilities to reduce uncertainty and stress.

Address Workplace Stressors

  • Identify and mitigate sources of workplace stress, such as excessive workload, poor communication and lack of resources.

Encourage Breaks and Physical Activity

  • Promote regular breaks and encourage employees to engage in physical activity during work hours to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

Offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

  • Provide access to confidential counselling services through EAPs to support employees facing mental health challenges.

Promote Work–Life Balance

  • Discourage after-hours work communication and encourage employees to disconnect during their time off.

Invest in Leaders

  • Strong and inspiring leaders, who exhibit emotional awareness of their teams needs, communicate clearly, and are approachable help create safer workplaces and cultures. Poor leadership creates uncertainty, anxiety and psychologically unsafe work places.

Recognise and Reward

  • Acknowledge employees’ efforts and achievements, fostering a sense of value and belonging.

What can you, your team and your organisation do to help foster psychologically safe workplaces?

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