Promoting Mental Health in the Workplace (Transcript)

On average, Canadians spend 60 per cent of their waking hours working, which has the potential to impact their mental health. That’s why it’s important for workplaces to foster psychologically safe and healthy environments.

Employers are responsible for identifying hazards in the workplace, including physical, chemical, biological, ergonomic, safety and psychosocial hazards.

Psychosocial hazards can include:

These psychosocial hazards can be harmful to a worker's mental health and can negatively affect the organization.

Here are some ways your organization can promote positive mental health in the workplace and protect workers from psychological harm.

Distribute workloads fairly among workers. Set reasonable deadlines and put plans in place during staff shortages to complete tasks.

Create opportunities for work-life balance by offering paid time off and breaks.

Always respect the right to disconnect outside of work hours.

Set clear expectations for workers to understand what is necessary for them to accomplish their duties and help them prioritize competing tasks.

Encourage civility and respect in the workplace. Saying hello, an invitation to lunch, and using respectful language go a long way in creating a positive work environment.

Collaborate with workers to shape your organization’s mission, vision and values. Invite them to help build a culture of trust, honesty, fairness, and accountability.

Improve engagement by encouraging collaboration among team members and providing team building and volunteer opportunities. This can be for workers to get involved in activities within your organization, or the community.

Meet with workers regularly to discuss their professional goals. Provide opportunities for education and training to help them achieve milestones.

Face-to-face discussions, surveys, and suggestion boxes can help you gain valuable feedback from workers. Include them on important matters that affect the workplace.

Put policies in place that protect your workers’ physical safety. Provide workers with health and safety training and investigate any incidents immediately.

Establish a safe and confidential system for workers to report incidents, like bullying, harassment, or discrimination – without fear of reprisal.

Make mental health resources readily available to workers, such as an employee assistance program or counselling services in the community.

Make sure job descriptions reflect the psychological demands on a worker. Support workers through stressful events, like a workplace emergency or difficult customers.

Lastly, acknowledge workers for a job well-done. Find out how workers prefer to be rewarded and recognized. Communicate individual or team accomplishments widely, and reward workers, where possible. Examples can include bonuses, raises, team parties or simply a sincere thank you.

Good things happen when an organization protects the mental health of its workers: like better engagement, morale, satisfaction, retention, recruitment, and productivity.

Take steps today towards better mental health in your workplace. To learn more, visit: