Assent focuses on Psychological Wellbeing at Work this Mental Health Awareness Week

This mental health week, Assent is focusing on mental health in the workplace and how organisations can better support their employees.

We’ve heard the phrase “work-life balance” used frequently in the last few years in reference to supporting the mental health of employees, but this is just one aspect of the broad spectrum of psychological risk that should be considered.

Factors that could affect your employees’ mental health can be put into to categories: external (outside of work), and internal (within working time / spaces / activities).

The external ones are sometimes the most obvious (financial worries, relationship issues, health concerns, etc), and it’s common for employers to focus on the more obvious internal issues too, such as tensions between employees, workload, and difficult projects.

However, there are many other risks to psychological wellbeing within the workplace which aren’t so obvious, such as:

  • How work is organised – including prioritisation, clear definition of roles and responsibilities, and increasing the control workers have on how their work is conducted
  • Social factors – such as raising awareness of psychological risks and the signs that someone may have been negatively impacted, providing behavioural guidelines and reinforcing them, recognising and rewarding individual’s achievements
  • Work environment – such as ensuring workspace set ups meet individuals’ needs, reducing time spent working in isolation, and maintaining equipment adequately
  • Managing change – including adequate discussion, collaboration, and communication of potential and actual changes before, during, and after they are implemented
  • Procurement, contracting and outsourcing – including job security, worker consistency (e.g. a constant flow of new faces could be unsettling), supply chain issues affecting ability to complete work on time.  

These aspects and more are outlined in the ISO standard for psychological health and safety at work

In 2021, a new ISO standard was released into the 45000 series of standards for health and safety:

“ISO 45003:2021 Occupational health and safety management — Psychological health and safety at work — Guidelines for managing psychosocial risks”.

The standard is designed to help organisations build robust management systems to identify, evaluate, reduce and prevent psychological risks faced by their employees.  The guidance and examples provided by the standard are valuable for all sizes and types of organisation, regardless of whether they intend to achieve full certification, or just to have a system in place to protect the wellbeing of their employees.

Our training branch Lorators recently launched a free awareness course, which can be found here.

Whether your organisation is looking to achieve ISO certification, or to improve the wellbeing of your workers and make your organisation a great place to be, Assent can help. Get in touch!

Kathy Clements
Kathy Clements
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