Make your workplace psychologically safe21 Oct 2021
October is Work Safe Month, and that gives business leaders and team managers like us the perfect opportunity to reconsider how safe our workplaces really are. According to Safe Work Australia, “Being healthy and safe means being free from physical and psychological harm.”
For many of us, limiting the risk of physical harm is somewhat straightforward — but when it comes to creating psychologically safe environments, we can feel a little lost.
The good news is that, with the right research and a few tricks up our sleeves, we can all create workplaces that empower our people to take control of mental health. Here’s how to put emotional safety and employee well-being at the front of your mind this October (and beyond).
Why psychologically safe workplaces matter
To understand why a workplace isn’t safe unless it is both physically and psychologically comfortable, consider these facts:
- The cost of workplace mental health injures has risen 80%.
According to research by Allinaz, psychological workers compensation claims have increased 22% every year since 2017. That’s bad news for employees, the teams and customers who count on them and the organisations that need them.
- 91% of workers value mentally healthy work environments.
Although many want it, just over half actually have it: Only 52% of employees reported that their workplace feels mentally healthy, according to Heads Up. What’s even more concerning is that 21% of surveyed employees reported taking time off due to feeling mentally unwell.
- Spending on a psychologically safe work environment has a high ROI.
Research by PwC has shown that, for every dollar invested in psychological safety and employee wellbeing, you could expect a positive ROI of 2.3 on average.
Tips for a mentally healthy work environment
Now that you know the facts, let’s take a look at some ways we can make our workplaces safer and more comfortable:
1) Prioritise communication
One of your first lines of defence when it comes to psychological safety is always clear communication. Create a culture of respect where employees feel comfortable addressing their thoughts, struggles or ideas. This doesn’t mean you can or should press workers for details on their mental health, personal lives or medical backgrounds. It simply means you should have the tools and skills to communicate effectively no matter the situation.
2) Empower collaboration
Employees often feel less isolated when they’re encouraged to collaborate. Whether through regular check-ins, company happy hours, team-wide group chats or other methods, give your people the collaboration opportunities they want. This provides workers with the space they need to address their own needs for social connectedness, but it also empowers them to check up on one another and potentially catch early signs of mental health struggles among their co-workers.
3) Invest in training
Not many business leaders are comfortable with risk taking when employee well-being is on the line. That’s why it can often be helpful to invest in training courses that give you and your employees the tools, techniques and approaches necessary to create a psychologically safe workplace.
Psychological safety training is a great way to make employees feel comfortable in every stage of any collaboration process. They’ll have the tools to communicate when and how they’re struggling, but they’ll also feel more empowered to share their ideas when they can rely on a culture of respect.
If you’re looking for a way to make your workplace psychologically safe during this Work Safe Month, contact us to learn more about our Psychological Safety Training Course.