The working world is often stressful. And let’s be honest: we all have days in the office when we don’t feel our best. But what happens when these days turn into weeks, months, or even years, and the stress starts to feel overwhelming?

For many of us, work is a major part of our lives. It is where we spend much of our time, where we get our income and often where we make our friends. Having a fulfilling job can be good for your mental health and general wellbeing.

Many leaders don’t realise that certain policies, practices and behaviours create and reinforce toxic cultures in their teams. Often by the time HR becomes involved, the only option is to ‘manage the employee out’. Left unchallenged, toxic leadership behaviours perpetuate a negative, fearful culture that degrades productivity and creates mental health problems.

Below are some tips to help on your journey towards better well-being in the workplace, for both employees and organisations.

• What does wellbeing mean to you? According to Psychology Today.com, “Well-being is the experience of health, happiness, and prosperity. It includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction, a sense of meaning or purpose, and ability to manage stress. More generally, well-being is just feeling well.” To be completely healthy, we must achieve optimal mental health. So how do we define good mental health? Good mental health means feeling fairly confident and having decent self-esteem. It means being comfortable with experiencing a full range of emotions, from joy to anger to sadness, and everything in-between.

• Improving mental health and wellbeing is a global challenge and it’s every bit as important inside the workplace as it is outside of it. Mental wellbeing in the workplace matters. It can affect the lives of employees and their families, productivity, profits, and overall success of your organisation.

• In order to be good leaders, we need to be able to give people and organisations our best. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to give our best when we’re depleted, exhausted, burnt out, and stressed. This leads to lower engagement, reduced productivity, and overall a poor professional performance. When leaders prioritise employee wellbeing in the workplace, they also benefit by attracting talent into the organisation. Individuals are now much more likely to choose an employer who cares for their work-life balance and wider wellbeing. Ensuring better leadership in organisations should be a foundational step in establishing any wellbeing program. Because a central function of employee wellbeing initiatives is the permission to be human.

• Better mental health starts with a better work-life balance. For most people, juggling the demands of a career and a personal life is an ongoing challenge, especially at a time when many companies have slashed their ranks–and expect more from the survivors. Work-life balance has perhaps never been more important. Employers need to help staff achieve this during the pandemic and beyond.

• Leaders should help struggling employees by co-creating a wellness action plan. The purpose of a wellness program is to promote healthy lifestyle wellness initiatives and can include smoking cessation programs, on-site gyms, healthy food initiatives, wellness education and much more. While some businesses implement very comprehensive health programs, others achieve savings or increased productivity with just a few simple activities that promote healthy behaviours.

Final thoughts…
All of us sit somewhere on the mental health spectrum, and many of us will struggle with our well-being at some point in life. If your working life feels too stressful to cope with, you can take positive action by identifying your stress triggers and examining your work-life balance. If you’re an employer, then remember that better employee wellbeing isn’t just good for your staff; it’s also crucial to the long-term success of your business.