Identify issues and address them early on
Keep up to date on your employees’ well-being and develop ways to promote mental health at your workplace. Develop occupational health collaboration and maintain a low threshold for seeking help.
Approach mental health the same way as health in general. Keep track of your employees’ thoughts and opinions on factors affecting mental health while monitoring their overall well-being. Include in personnel surveys questions concerning the smooth flow and structure of work, workplace interaction, supervisory work and workplace culture.
Draw up summaries of the topics addressed in development discussions and include mental health and stress as one area in the development discussions. Collect supervisors’ observations on daily management and the discussions held with employees. The company’s HR reporting on absences due to illness and your occupational health partner’s regular reporting are also useful tools for keeping track of the situation.
Also remember to communicate a positive message of promoting mental health at the workplace. Make sure your employees know what kind of support is available and encourage them to use the support services. Embracing mental health and its promotion as a recurrent and acceptable topic of discussion allows you to build a workplace culture where people do not feel ashamed of their mental health issues and are less afraid of being labelled because of them.
Develop occupational health collaboration
At its best, successful occupational health collaboration allows you to build a continuous dialogue to promote the mental health of your employees. Keep your occupational health partner informed of the nature of your company’s operations, the current situation, ways of operating and the support available to employees, such as the possibility to accommodate work. That allows you to target the occupational health measures correctly. Plan, together with the employees and the occupational health partner, policies and recommendations for addressing mental health issues at the workplace.
Clear, comprehensive and regular occupational health reporting, follow-up of the measures carried out and sufficiently frequent joint planning and updating of action plans ensure that you can tackle potential problems proactively.
Occupational health service is a statutory service that does not necessarily cover all of your company’s needs in promoting mental health. However, the service offering of most occupational health service providers is much more comprehensive than the minimum level required by law. Ask questions and challenge your occupational health partner to offer solutions that meet your organisation’s precise needs.
Lower the threshold for seeking help, strive to handle work-related issues at the workplace
Also consider reaching out for support and assistance beyond the occupational health services. There are several service providers that offer various degrees of support to employees dealing with challenging situations. It makes it easier for people to reach out for help when they know that help is available, easy to access and is confidential. Build collaboration networks boldly but do not completely outsource the resolution of work-related problems. Always strive to address work-related mental health issues also at the workplace. In terms of work ability, it always comes down to matching the employee’s capabilities and resources with the demands of the job.
Also consider developing peer support between employees at the workplace as one option. In many cases, it may be easier to first tell a colleague about difficult situations. This naturally requires developing and supporting employees’ competence and an open and confidential culture of dialogue.