How to provide a safe working environment for employees
A safe work environment comes in many ways. Safety should consider both the physical space and the mental well-being of employees.
As many of our audience work in offices, we will touch base on how to be physically safe and comfortable, but above all we will focus on how to create a mentally safe environment for your employees where they feel secure and free to work at their best.
Physical safety in the office
Here are the significant ways we encourage ensuring a safe workplace:
Having clear OH&S standards and policies and communicating these policies transparently and frequently
Ensuring employees have access to comfortable, ergonomic seating and desk set ups
Including cleaning stations with anti-bacterial wipes and sanitiser readily available
Including natural lighting in your workplace
Keeping a tidy and clean office space where all trip hazards such as wires or files are carefully organised
Include safety training during your induction process and regularly update employees about any office safety changes
Respond to any incidents immediately and with utmost seriousness
Engage in workplace inspections and keep records, ensure you are quick to resolve any issues or hazards
Create time for open discussions with employees where they can air any safety concerns
Mental wellness at work
Encourage showing appreciation
A little recognition goes a long way! Normalise celebration and showing appreciation. Some ways you can do this include:
Perhaps every fortnight or month you can encourage your team to share one nice thing about another team member during a social meeting, or send out a note to thank a team member who helped them that week
Always give good feedback where it is due
Thank people for their effort and hard work
Encourage self-reflection and self-celebration
Show understanding during busy and hectic times
Uphold a culture of transparent communication
On that note, transparent communication forges a trusting culture. It not only allows employees to feel part of something bigger, but it also helps them to feel valued. Transparent communication from management will encourage the same communication from employees, and amongst employees so that there is less room for misunderstandings and miscommunications which can often negatively affect a person’s stress levels.
Include mental health at work training in your workplace
Be bold about it and bring mental health to the forefront of conversations. Training is a great way to make sure everyone is equally involved and informed on how to create a positive environment and what to watch out for in others to ensure people are getting the support they need.
Make time and space for open discussion
Creating a safe environment for sharing is really important and can help you gain deeper understanding about employees. It also demonstrates genuine care for your people who may feel more secure and safe in the work environment when they know they are being heard.
Promote and be involved in mental health awareness campaigns
It’s most important to actually create a positive and healthy work culture actively. However, it’s also important to show your colleagues that mental health is a priority to you. This way, they may feel more comfortable to take that mental health day, or be open with feedback and part of any and all discussions. You can also be connected with relevant resources to help increase mental wellbeing at work through other channels.
Make psychological safety a priority
From our friends at Chandler Macleod, we know that psychological safety means we create a space where employees can:
Speak up and share ideas
Own their mistakes
Explore innovative ideas
Be open and honest with feedback and thoughts
Psychological safety at work encourages creativity, innovation, honesty, and accountability. Above all it allows employees to feel valued and engaged and will help them achieve their best work. You can learn more on how to create psychological safetyhere.