The importance of Mentally Friendly Workplaces has received a lot of recent attention. This begs the question: is my work mentally unfriendly? How would I know if I’m at risk or if my workplace could do better?
Workplace Risk Factors
Safework Australia identifies a range of risk factors that may place employees at a higher level of risk of poor mental health, or may hinder their ability to seek support for poor mental health. While the specific risks will vary between businesses and industries: consider this as a starting point.
Bullying, Violence or Workplace Conflict
Unreasonable behaviour aimed towards one person is one of the most direct threats to an employee’s mental health. Where someone is abused, threatened or assaulted it can also have a significant impact.
Unfair Work Practices
Perhaps more subtle that bullying or violence, unjustified special treatment to an employee is another key risk factor.
High Demands and Low Control
It is more common to experience job strain or work stress when an employee faces high demands and low control.
Unclear guidelines of what is expected of employees, including vague job descriptions or poorly defined objectives, may negatively impact an employee’s mental health.
Job uncertainty and insecurity is a key source of stress and anxiety. Poorly managed or communicated change may also impact an employee’s mental health.
Failing to recognise when an employee produces great work or outcomes, or failing to reward employees for great work can have an impact on mental health, particularly if the practice is ongoing.
Lack of Support
If workers don’t feel supported by co-workers or managers, it hinders their ability to reach for help.