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How to improve mental wellbeing in the workplace

Opinions expressed by australiabusinessblog.com contributors are their own.

It is widely recognized that having a healthy mind and body is necessary for a healthy, productive work life. But as life moves faster and faster, this is much easier said than done.

As an australiabusinessblog.com, it’s important to stay aware of the needs of your body and mind so you can stay productive and creative. But it can be easy to let these things slip to the side during busy seasons — and honestly, what seasons aren’t busy as an australiabusinessblog.com? Many of us are familiar with late nights at work, forgetting to eat or exercise and unfortunately dealing with a lot of stress, exhaustion and burnout. While it’s important to pay attention to the needs of your mind and body, it’s also important to remember that your employees have the same needs.

Life and work are intertwined in a way that is inseparable. It may seem easy to put aside everything you’re doing at home to focus on your work during the day, but it’s not realistic. Likewise, problems at work come home with you. Both our personal life and our work life affect our moods, energy levels and ability to concentrate. Of course, if your child is sick or you have a tense quarrel with your partner, you cannot fully engage in work – what is happening at home is more important to you. And problems in the workplace, such as stress, burnout or a negative work environment affect your mood and energy level when you go home. You may make your fight with your partner worse because you’re tense and stressed, or you can’t sleep because you’re afraid to return to your toxic work environment the next day, making the problem even worse.

Related: How I Failed Miserably as a Leader and Ultimately Improved My Business

By promoting the mental and physical health of your employees, you can create a better work environment and encourage employees to succeed, creating a more sustainable workplace in the long run. Happy, healthy team members will be more productive and create better results for your business. But promoting your team’s health isn’t as simple as putting some exercise equipment in your office, especially when you consider mental health, which is complex and can have a major impact on the way a person thinks, feels and performs his job. Strong mental health depends on several factors, but here are a few necessary things that you can apply in different ways for you and your team:

1. Nourish your mind with good food and hydration

Staying hydrated and eating right is necessary to keep your body and mind running. And brain functions like energy, focus, and creativity are some of the first to suffer if you don’t understand these things. If you forget to drink enough water, it can be helpful to use a large water bottle with measuring marks to keep track of exactly how much you drink. This is an easy tool that you can also give to your team. It is a good idea to have healthy snacks in the office, both for yourself and for your employees. Some foods give you a burst of energy, while others, especially those high in fat and carbohydrates, slow you down or make you sleepy. Having healthy options readily available helps you make good choices. Another way to promote healthy eating for your team is to have them work from home, where they can prepare healthy meals themselves. When employees are in a rush to get to the office in the morning, where they might order takeout or pack things that are quick and easy instead of nutritious for lunch.

Related: 6 Healthy Habits to Maximize Your Mental Health and Get You Through Your Worst Days

2. Prioritize sleep

Sleep may be even more important than eating and exercising, but unfortunately it is overlooked by many people. A phenomenon in many offices is a kind of competition to see who has slept the least. If you notice this kind of attitude towards sleep, it might be worth addressing. Sleep deprivation is often due to bad habits, but it can also be the result of busy schedules that don’t leave enough time for sleep. To ensure that you and your employees have enough time to sleep, consider offering flexible working hours so they can adjust their schedules if necessary.

Related: How serving in the military taught this leader the importance of employee well-being

3. Exercise stimulates the mind

Did you know that sitting literally kills you? Excessive sitting shortens your life expectancy and can lead to injuries from repetitive movements and weakened muscles. And as we all know, exercise is excellent for both the body and the brain. Have you ever noticed that some of your best ideas come from working out? Or have you ever taken a training break and returned to work energized and highly productive? Take regular breaks to go for a walk and encourage your team to do the same. Even if those breaks take up 10-15 minutes of the working day, they will increase your team’s overall productivity. You can also place exercise equipment and standing desks in your office, or offer wellness benefits, such as gym memberships, to encourage your team to exercise outside of work hours. Sharing links or apps for breathing exercises or mindfulness exercises can help employees better manage their stress levels.

Related: 5 Steps to Creating a Workplace Focused on Mental Well-Being

4. Be mindful of mental health

One of the words most commonly used when someone is struggling with their mental health is “stress.” Mental health is inseparable from physical health, and just as treating your body properly can help your brain, negative emotions can seriously affect your body. Reducing stress, burnout, depression and other mental health issues is complex, but there are a few things you can do.

First, make sure you are getting enough sunlight. Not only does vitamin D improve your mood, the light itself also plays a major role. Working in an office without much sunlight can be exhausting, but if you can’t manage to set up your office so that everyone has access to sunlight, consider working remotely at least part-time.

Related: The truth about loneliness during the holidays and 5 tips for dealing with it

Burnout is another factor that affects the mental health of many people, and it has been in an epidemic of late. Pay close attention to burnout in yourself and your employees, and if you identify it, take steps to improve the situation that is causing it. Have managers include this discussion in their regular one-on-one conversations. Create a culture of support around burnout and other challenges people may face, such as family issues and health issues, which can significantly contribute to burnout. There are many resources to address burnout as it is a complex problem. Remember to prioritize your employees as people rather than employees. If you’ve hired well, your team wants to do well. If they’re struggling, there’s probably a reason for it. Ask for and listen to feedback, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Work and work-related activities take up most of a person’s waking time, so the environment you provide plays a huge role in an employee’s quality of life.

I highly recommend offering some kind of mental health benefits, even telehealth options. This may seem like paying for advice to those who need it. Or try allowing mental health days. We have changed our sick leave policy to include one day for mental health, not just one day for physical illness. Just knowing that they have the option to take a day off if they need to is probably enough for most employees, and you probably won’t experience significant costs.

To maintain a happy, healthy and productive workforce, the most important thing you can do is create a positive work culture. A negative or toxic culture can easily affect anyone and cause problems both at work and at home. With these steps, you’ll be on your way to improving the health of your entire team and creating a stronger and more sustainable work culture.


Shreya has been with australiabusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider australiabusinessblog.com, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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