Promoting a Healthy Workplace

1 August 2021

Adopting wellbeing initiatives in practice is important, but monitoring how these are going should also be a priority. Section seven of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Toolkit offers tips and resources around maintaining a healthy, positive and supportive workplace.

Promoting positive mental wellbeing at work goes further than minimising psychological health and safety risks. It’s about focusing on opportunities, strengths and resources that help build a healthy, positive and supportive workplace.

When adopting wellbeing initiatives in practice, it is important to track and evaluate your progress along the way. This can be as simple as capturing data on participation, issuing evaluation forms and having discussions with staff. To gather more specific feedback, you can conduct an employee survey. This is a great way to identify if your initiative has been successful, what’s working well and suggested areas for improvement.

Seeking feedback about staff wellbeing can also highlight potential areas for improvement or ‘easy wins’, as well as generating ideas that may not previously have been considered.

Tips for practices

  • Establish whether a staff wellbeing survey or a more informal method would be more appropriate for your practice.
  • Make surveys anonymous and carefully worded – the resources opposite can give further information and sample questions.
  • Be wary of anonymity issues at smaller practices – in such cases, potential problems can also be monitored by mental health champions, who have been trained to recognise signs of stress and mental health warning signs (have taken Mental Health First Aid course).
  • Consider signing up for an EAP and keep informed about the program’s usage within the practice.

Tips for individuals

  • Open up (to an appropriate person) if you feel your mental health or stress levels are not where they should be. Get in touch with the practice’s EAP provider if one is available.
  • Open up to family or friends if you do not feel it is possible to speak to a colleague or senior staff member.
  • Get in touch with the organisations referenced throughout this Toolkit who will be happy to listen or offer assistance if you are seeking support independent from colleagues, family or friends. While it may not always feel like it, talking is the first step to solving any mental health problem.

Useful references

  • Strategies for Healthy Workplaces – Heads Up (Beyond Blue). Framework for workplaces to promote mental wellbeing, minimise workplace risks to mental health, support people experiencing mental health issues and reduce stigma.
  • Workplace Wellbeing – Black Dog Institute. Packed with tips on how to create a mentally healthy workplace in a simple, inexpensive way.
  • Workplace Mental Health Toolkit – Black Dog Institute. Helps employers and employees recognise the signs of anxiety or depression in colleagues and gives guidance on how to help.
  • Digital tools and apps page – Features a number of tools for mental health and wellbeing, including self tests for anxiety and depression, an online clinic with a free personal assessment tool and a range of other resources for specific needs.
  • WorkWell Toolkit –Victorian State Government.
  • Mentally Healthy Workplaces Toolkit – Worksafe Queensland.

This is an excerpt from the first edition of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Toolkit (Australia), an edited version of the UK Toolkit, which was compiled by members of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum in the UK – a group that John Assael and Ben Channon set up in late 2017 with the ambition of improving mental health across the profession.

This toolkit includes content and resources specific to Australia. We would like to thank Ben Channon and the AMWF UK for their generosity in allowing us to tailor this Toolkit for the Australian profession. Thanks also to Artemis Nikolopoulou, who designed the UK Toolkit, and Siân Rearden for the illustrations.