Workplace Counselling and Psychology

Psychologists at Brisbane Counselling Centre have been assisting individuals and organisations with workplace-related issues for over 35 years.

Employees can be assured of receiving confidential support when dealing with problems at work, strategies to improve performance, work-life balance, job satisfaction and coaching to achieve career goals. Understanding the importance of mental health in the workplace is crucial for both individual well-being and collective productivity.

What is workplace well-being?

Workplace well-being refers to the culture of a work environment, where there is a positive energy created and people want to come to work to be productive. With a healthy workplace, this assists to improve a person’s mental health, usually indicating an employee is less likely to be unwell and take sick leave.

Let’s face it, we spend more time with our colleagues and clients than we do our own family and friends during a typical working week. It’s essential our workplace is a safe, healthy and valuable space for us to be, so we can be mentally well and flourish in our roles and our lives. Statistics in Australia indicate mental illness is now the leading reason why people take sick leave and are unable to work long term.

What makes for a healthy workplace?

What sets a mentally well workplace apart is the following:

  • Team members and managers understand mental health and are willing to talk openly about it
  • Team members and leaders look out for each other, help each other out when they can and check on each other to see how they are managing their role
  • Staff are encouraged and supported to seek help for their mental health early
  • Team members feel supported in their mental health, as well as in their recovery
  • How to build resilience is something that is discussed and valued in the workplace, as well as being encouraged at work and home to participate in building the resilience

A healthy workplace is great for employees and businesses alike

A healthy workplace creates benefits for the individuals in the team, as well as for the business too, including:

  • Improved work performance and productivity, including an increased level of job satisfaction
  • Improved profitability as there is a decrease in the number of sick days taken, less staff turnover resulting in less recruitment and training costs, as well as increased productivity whilst at work
  • Enhanced well-being, as work provides a person with a purpose, as well as social connections and support. Work can also assist a person to grow, develop, learn new skills and master challenges, all assisting one’s mental health
  • Assistance in recovering from mental illness, work can provide a healthy focus for an individual who has been struggling
  • Being able to attract and maintain great talented staff within the business when mental health is invested in and valued

Factors that influence workplace well-being

There are a number of factors that contribute to the well-being of a workplace, some of which are hazardous factors and some are protective factors. These factors are:

  • Career design – resources available to complete the work, how demanding the role is, the level of engagement required and any risk of harm or potential exposure to trauma, like with first responders for example
  • Team dynamics – how supportive leaders and colleagues are of each other, opportunities for staff training, how effective the leadership team are and the quality of the relationships within the team
  • Organisational influences – such as recognition of the work that is conducted, how rewarding the type of work is, how supportive the business is as a whole, how psychologically safe the organisation feels and if there are any changes within the organisation
  • Individual traits – factors like personality, genetics, prior history of mental health, family dynamics growing up, cognitive processes, behavioural traits and coping mechanisms
  • Household dynamics – if there is conflict within the home or significant personal events outside of work that have occurred, or if work demands create conflict at home

All of these factors can interact with each other in many different ways, creating very complex dynamics. Employers can influence some of these factors in a proactive way to establish a healthier work environment for the well-being of their employees.

How to work towards achieving wellbeing in your work setting

Research demonstrates by investing in the mental health of a workplace, returns dividends in the benefits of a healthy culture for the people in the workplace, as well as productivity for the business, which is a win-win situation. Following are some suggestions about how you can work towards creating a mentally healthy work environment.

Flexible working conditions

  • Enable flexible working hours
  • Discuss the culture around when/where/how people work
  • Enable a safe and encouraging workplace
  • Regularly monitor employee’s workloads
  • Allow employee’s to have a say in their working conditions and genuinely listen to their suggestions and feedback

Creating improved culture within the workplace

  • Lead by example and have conversations with people you may hold any concerns about. As a part of the culture in the workplace, encourage team members to look out for each other
  • Bring into the workplace a policy around bullying and discrimination to send a clear message it will not be tolerated
  • Encourage conversations about mental health and leave information about mental health easily accessible within the workplace. Encourage staff to seek assistance early
  • Educate team members about mental health and how to support someone who is experiencing mental health challenges. Include mental health information in your induction process
  • With your leadership team, ensure they are creating a psychologically safe work environment

Resilience building within the workplace

  • Implement a mentoring or coaching program
  • Encourage regular breaks and exercise opportunities, including meditation, yoga and cardio opportunities
  • Provide education around stress management, particularly for those who are in stressful positions of employment

How can we help to find a positive blend of work and life?

Sometimes work can get in the way of living a healthy life. Someone in your family may tell you that you don’t seem to be mentally present when with your family. It may be that work is bothering you and, on your mind, even when you are away from work in the evening and on weekends.

Reaching out for help can be anxiety provoking or seen as being weak. It takes courage to ask for help and can be a hard step to take. Research shows that seeking help early helps to recover from whatever is happening for you faster. If you are distracted with work or feeling the pressure of your role, talk to a caring and understanding psychologist at Brisbane Counselling Centre to gain some clarity about what is happening for you, as well as some tools about how to improve the way in which you are living your life.