BlogMental Health at the Workplace: Psychological safety and belonging 

Mental Health at the Workplace: Psychological safety and belonging 

5 April, 2024

Mental Health at the Workplace: Psychological safety and belonging 

One of the greatest transformations in modern workplaces has been brought about by the hybrid work model. With many of the world’s employees working remotely or coming into the office on certain days, employers face new challenges. The integration of work and personal life has led to a range of issues, the most prominent ones being feelings of mistrust, miscommunication, and exclusion, with ensuing mental health issues in the workplace like anxiety and depression. Consider this finding disclosed in a WHO report-  

  • Globally, an estimated 12 billion working days are lost every year to depression and anxiety  
  • This lost productivity costs the global economy $1 trillion each year  

These dismal statistics point to a need for organizational ownership to improve mental health outcomes in the new world of work. But where does one start? According to multiple studies published in Harvard Business Review, the most important factor determining effective teamwork is psychological safety. It is characterized by a work atmosphere that encourages open dialogue, risk-taking, and protection from punitive measures when speaking up or admitting mistakes. In other words, psychological safety creates an inclusive, accepting space where employees’ ideas are encouraged and valued.  

Your workplace should be a place where employees feel free to communicate their ideas and where those ideas are recognized, valued, and most importantly, heard. One should never be afraid to express their opinions out of concern for how they may be received. This is why every workplace needs to have a conversation about and promote the idea of psychological safety. Through honest and open communication, employee engagement tactics encourage greater productivity, creativity, and a welcoming environment for exploring new concepts and ideas. 

What does psychological safety mean?

According to the Centre for Creative Leadership, Psychological safety is the belief that you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.

At work, it’s a shared expectation that colleagues will not embarrass, reject, or punish them for sharing ideas, taking risks, or soliciting feedback.

An ideal workspace

A psychologically safe workspace is categorized as a space wherein there is mutual trust and comfort in raising opinions and thoughts without fear, regardless of any designation, background, identity, gender or any other criteria that often becomes a point of a preconceived judgement.

supportive mental health

5 tips to help create psychological safety in the workspace:

  • 1. Ensure employees’ feedback is considered and encourage happiness drivers to boost the Employee’s Happiness Index.
  • 2. Promote diversity, gratitude, inclusion, and equity through communicating freely and frequently with your employees and colleagues.
  • 3. Encourage a platform where employees are comfortable conversing with colleagues about mental well-being and a positive mindset in the workplace. 
  • 4. Be a supportive and transparent leader and never put anyone on the spot. Allow opinions and vulnerability.
  • 5. Provide multiple ways for employees to share their thoughts and induce positive expression and discussion styles.
mental health

Psychological Safety in the Workplace- Why is it important? 

Creating psychological safety in the workplace is crucial for several reasons. By its very nature, it brings out the benefits of diversity and improves decision-making, particularly in diverse teams. It is a prerequisite for an inclusive workplace culture.  

Secondly, it improves mental health at work. Research has shown that increased psychological safety results in reduced burnout, stress, and a resultant reduction in turnover, along with improved performance. Particularly, in the hybrid work context, it enables employees to discuss personal life issues that directly impact their work schedule and productivity, without fear of judgment or negative consequences. This can be a game-changer for effective team functioning and better employee engagement.  

Thirdly, it encourages learning, growth, and innovation through unspoken permission to make mistakes, learn, iterate, and improve. Employee psychological safety is most needed in job functions where creativity, novelty, or collaboration are important.  

 How Gratifi can help

Gratifi is an employee engagement platform wherein employees can emote how they are feeling, display their opinions on trending subjects, connect with their colleagues and employers in a comfortable yet professional environment and so much more. An easy-to-use application, Gratifi makes it effortless to implement a positive mindset in organizations which gives it an edge against other manual HR procedures. The platform’s numerous reward and recognition features make it the ideal setting to maintain workplace psychological safety. Connect with us and make your office a delightful place for your employees!

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