Earlier this year, one of EAC’s associates undertook a survey of real estate agents in southern NSW and northern Victoria — groups and independents — to determine how offices support strong mental health.
Unfortunately, unlike other large industries, few real estate agents identified having managers who have ever received any training in workplace mental health, and most managers said they didn’t really know what to do or where to refer an employee they may be concerned about.
Our 2019 Mental Health article series has been an opportunity for the EAC to provide some insight into this area. This month, we bring those articles together, with a range of resources from mental-health support groups to provide you with a Workplace Mental Health Toolkit.
Share it with your team, save it to your favourites and call on it when you need it.
Preventing mental health issues at work
Mental health issues don’t always originate at work, but even so, they can affect your staff and colleagues while they are trying to get their work done. Extra stress and pressure can also exacerbate issues, making it more difficult for a person to cope.
To help minimise unnecessary extra stress and avoid creating circumstances that can contribute to serious issues, like anxiety or depression, it is important you lead from the front, and create policies and processes that help build a positive and healthy workspace.
Making work/life balance or flexibility a priority
A more balanced life can help people feel happier and healthier, but while many organisations promise flexibility, few deliver.
Create a culture of balance:
- 6 ways to support work/life balance for staff [EAC Management Series]
- You can achieve work/life balance in real estate, you just have to think differently
- The benefits of workplace flexibility [inc.com]
- Be more present and happy at work
- Be more present and happy at home
Eliminating harassment, bullying and discrimination
Workplace harassment or bullying can make people lose confidence, feel insecure and alone, and can lead to or exacerbate mental health issues. This template from the Australian Human Rights Commission provides helpful guidance for creating policies that let staff know bullying will not be tolerated.
- Workplace discrimination and harassment policy template [human rights commission]
Creating a healthy workplace
Physical health and well-being is an important part of supporting strong mental health. The below resources can be used to help you create a healthier workplace with happier employees:
- Heart Foundation: Healthy workplace activities at a glance
- Heart Foundation: Move more, sit less toolkit
- Make walking meetings work: Harvard Business Review OR Step Jockey
Identifying staff and colleagues who may be struggling (what to look for)
While we may do our best to prevent and help minimise the effects of work on mental health, inevitably, there will be some people who do struggle and who need some extra support.
But how do you know who is just having a bad day and who is going through something bigger? The simple answer is, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of a bad day or more serious issues, reaching out can help a colleague get through a tough time. These resources will help you identify struggling colleagues.
Start by educating yourself and informing others:
- Harvard Business Review: Common workplace mental health conditions and what to look for
- Providing support for struggling staff is everyone’s job (what to look for)!
- Beyond Blue: What is depression and what are the symptoms?
- Beyond Blue: What is anxiety and what are the symptoms?
- Bupa: Stress vs Anxiety
- Identifying workplace issues — this resource applies to general, not specifically mental health workplace issues, but the series of questions it provides can be very useful in any situation
Supporting staff or colleagues who may be struggling (what to do)
Now you have a better understanding of what challenges may be facing your team, you can take action:
- Starting a conversation with a colleague who is struggling
- Beyond Blue depression and anxiety check list (share it with your team)
- Managing stress: Better Health OR Health Direct
- Blackdog: When and where to seek help
- Self help tools and apps
- Clinics and support groups
- Blackdog Institute workplace mental health training for managers
Supporting recovery at work
Research tells us staying at work or coming back to work can help with recovery, but as a manager or colleague, this can put a lot of pressure on you and you may feel overwhelmed.
These tookits and articles provide robust guidance for helping a colleague recover from a mental health issue at work.
- SafeWork: Recover at work
- Heads up: Help others stay at work
- Heads up: Managing someone with a mental illness
- Recovery at work support tools: rapid review
These tool kits may also be helpful in planning your approach to managing mental health at work: