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Organisational practices for a mentally healthy workplace

We spend a large part of our day at work so our work environment (how work’s organised, the physical environment, and our working relationships) has a big impact on our mental wellbeing.

Good mental wellbeing at work comes from an environment where people feel supported, happy, and able to do good work.

Positive organisational practices start at the top

Leadership from the executive or management team on how it views and approaches mental wellbeing sets the tone for the entire organisation. Leaders who have good mental wellbeing habits in their own lives will experience the benefits personally and encourage others to do the same.

This might include modelling mentally and physically healthy behaviours. They might practice the Five Ways to Wellbeing, sponsor and be visible at wellbeing events, and show concern for employees’ wellbeing in staff communications.

While motivated leadership is essential, involving employees in planning and running wellbeing initiatives is essential. Most workplaces have wellbeing champions who will enthusiastically help organise events and activities and spread the word about wellbeing.

Workplace practices for a mentally healthy organisation

These should include the following:

  • Zero tolerance of discrimination – Commit to fair processes for all and provide support and work accommodations as you would for any physical health issue or personal situation.

  • Zero tolerance of bullying – Educate about what bullying is, reinforce expected behaviour guidelines and take immediate action if they aren’t met.

  • Make mentally healthy behaviours part of your organisation's culture – Reinforce positive ways of working. Provide supporting resources and promote activities or exercises that support these, such as focusing on the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

  • Encourage positive interactions based on trust, respect and civility – Role model trust-based conversations and actions by following through on what you say, and stamp out rude behaviour.

  • Manage and support employees – Recognise and build on their strengths, and find ways to use those strengths in their work.

  • Promote teamwork and reduce social isolation – Make sure your people work together for a common aim, even if their tasks don’t overlap.

  • Acknowledge emotions in the workplace – Be aware of them and respond empathetically and supportively.

  • Build a culture where people take responsibility for their emotions and ask for help – Make discussing emotions easy to talk about, and have support readily available.


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