Promoting a healthy approach to work

Patient and therapist

27 / 4 / 2016 Midnight

Managers play a key role in creating and maintaining positive and open team cultures that support mental wellbeing. Organisations such as Mind, and Shift have produced a number of useful resources which managers may want to access. The key themes from these resources on how to promote a healthy approach in the workplace include the following.

Engage and inform

  • Engage with staff so they understand their own objectives, their teams’ objectives and the organisations’ objectives.  This includes giving staff the opportunity to ask questions and feed back their views.
  • Give staff as much control as possible over how they deliver their work while ensuring they have the right skills for the job. 
    Monitor the workload of staff to ensure what they are expected to deliver is realistic within the timescales and resources available.
  • Develop a culture where open and honest communication is encouraged, bullying and harassment is not tolerated and people are treated with dignity and respect. This includes encouraging staff to talk about mental health and creating a safe environment for staff to disclose their own mental health problems.
  • Keep members of staff informed of organisation or team changes.  This includes providing a rationale for actions and decisions taken.


  • Encourage staff to have a good work-life balance including facilitating flexible working where possible.  For example managers could make staff aware of their organisations’ flexible working policies.
  • Have protected time when managers are available for staff to come and speak to them.
  • Treat all staff consistently and fairly and provide positive feedback to staff when they do a good job.
  • Encourage exercise and social events. Physical activities are shown to boost staff health, team work and mental wellbeing.
  • Make staff aware of the internal resources that are available to them such as occupational health or Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs).
  • Follow up problems on behalf of the team as soon as they arise.

Employers have a legal duty to assess the risk of stress-related ill health arising from work activities. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced the HSE management standards which provide information on how to assess and control the risk of stress, they cover six key areas which are the primary causes of stress at work and there is a degree of overlap with the principles of supporting mental health and wellbeing listed above. The HSE has also produced guidance on how to implement the management standards.

For further information on supporting mental health and wellbeing please see the following webpages Mind, Shift, the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Partnership Group (HSWPG) and Mind in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

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