The holiday season is right around the corner, and it’s imperative to take the time to ensure that your workplace is stable and welcoming environment for your workers. As the stress of a busy year builds up and crucial deadlines loom closer, make sure that your workers are dealing with the pressures of juggling a heavy workload with bustling home and private lives, and that you’re creating a mentally healthy workplace during the holidays.
Consider the following changes and factors in workplace technology, management and future objectives and how these might impact on your organisation and the mental wellbeing of your workers.
How stable is your job? Put fears about job safety to rest
A perceived concern about job insecurity may increase workers’ stress-levels and impact negatively on their workplace productivity. As a result of worrying about the security of their job, workers’ mental well-being may suffer and because of poor workplace moral, organisations could be hit by an increased number of workers taking sick leave, incurring significant financial losses. Particularly during holiday periods, the concerns of non-permanent staff members are heightened, severely affecting their mental well-being and organisations must take careful steps to ensure that these workers do not feel isolated or alienated by more permanent workers. It is the responsibility of senior staff members and HR representatives to remain informed about the impact of the workplace environment on all of their workers. Additionally, good workplace practice suggests building a good rapport with those members of staff who may be feeling vulnerable at the most stressful times of the business year, so that any assurances given about improvements or stability of the workplace will be met with credibility.
Are you in control? Make sure your workers are satisfied with their roles
Another factor impacting negatively on mental well-being in the workplace is a perceived lack of control over workers’ job environments. Heading toward Christmas, workers’ job insecurities will increase significantly, as they consider financial pressures at home. Workers may also worry about heavy workloads, their input in staff meetings and general decisions they need to make in the workplace. In recent years however, workplace productivity has been seen to increase in environments where workers believe they have more control over their workload and job role. This includes the freedom to make decisions and perform tasks, rather than feeling obligated to respond to managerial demands. In the scenarios where workers are able to make these small decisions independently, they feel they are in greater control of their working environment, putting their fears to rest. Additionally, these workers are more motivated to take on larger work tasks and to freely participate in a wider range of activities, increasing workplace moral. Some methods of perceived control might include participating in the decision making process of larger tasks, having a greater freedom in regards to working hours, or a greater input in working in autonomous or smaller specialised teams.
Looking to the future — making professional development count
There is often a high demand in workplaces to encourage workers toward further professional development. In the interest of increasing workplace productivity, these professional development expectations can result in a pressure to achieve efficiency in the organisation, rather than innovation. This can have a negative impact on workers who feel obligated to pursue professional development for the simple purpose of increasing the efficiency of their workplace. It is important to encourage all workers to feel comfortable in their aspirations toward gaining further relevant skills for their industry, in the interest of increasing their value as an individual and a professional contributing to new and exciting innovations. Workers who have a high level of job satisfaction should feel that they are encouraged by their organisation to develop and train their skills and to perform better in their roles, as both a personal contribution to their organisation and to increase their team’s productivity. These are the kind of workers who will freely pursue personal and professional development. Consider carefully, the mental effect on workers of placing too many external pressures on an organisation’s rapid development.
Managing a healthy workplace – the benefits of building constructive working relationships
Managers are generally responsible for larger workloads and must often face the consequences of decisions made on behalf of their organisation or workers. Combine this with the pressure of competing with other organisations in the industry, and this is a highly stressful occupation to fill. During the holiday periods, meeting impending deadlines becomes a very stressful and demanding part of a manager’s working day. Increased pressure on managers can certainly have a negative impact on an organisation and its workers. It is important to remember that these pressures are a two-way street; effective communication between managers and workers is integral to maintaining a healthy workplace balance. While managers deserve support and positive feedback from their workers, workplace mental health and worker job satisfaction is increased through constructive conflict resolution, communication and directions from managers and supervisors.
Take some time to reflect — life goes on outside the workplace and that’s okay
Be aware that the holiday period, whether your workplace is winding up or down from its busiest time of year, is a hectic time for workers, who may be juggling stressful situations in both their professional and private lives. Take the time to make sure that your workers are receiving proper breaks from their roles; in the lunch period, have them turn off their phones and set their email to away, drink a coffee with them and remind them that for an hour of the working day, there is life outside of the job.