Introduction part two

Things that impact mental health at work.


Step 1: Some work-related experiences can have a bad impact on the mental health of workers

Things like:

  • stress
  • bullying
  • tiredness
  • getting hurt
  • all types of violence

These can be caused by 'Psychosocial hazards'

'Psychosocial hazards' are things that can cause mental or physical harm to workers.

Some of these happen all the time, others only once in a while.

Introduction to a mentally healthy workplace

Step 2: What are the work-related factors?

The first step is to be able to spot issues or hazards. Then, you can start to manage the risk of harm, and stop mental injury from happening.

What are work related factors?

Below is a list of the common work-related risks that can impact mental health.

Job demands are too high or too low

Definition:  Job demands are the effort required to do the job.

For example: long work hours or high workloads.

Low or no job control

Definition: When an employee has little control over parts of their work, such as how and when a job is done. It is also when they are left out of decision making.

For example:

  • work being 'micro-managed' (‘micro-managed’ is when managers watch what employees are doing very closely)
  • when employees have little say in how they do their work
  • When employees don’t get to choose when they can take breaks or when they can change tasks.

Low or no support

Definition: Support can be both emotional and practical. When employees don't get the right support they need it can harm their health and wellbeing.

For example: employees aren’t given clear goals, or enough training to get the job done.

Change is poorly managed

Definition: Change can be anything from job title to the business location. Change can cause stress and anxiety when done wrong.

For example: Not explaining change well or not giving enough support.


Definition: Injustice is when people are not treated fairly, or there is bias in the workplace.

It's important to be open and clear about how decisions are made and make sure everyone is treated fairly

For example: When decision making or policies are not consistent or fair.

No recognition or reward

Definition: Not recognising when employees do great work can make them lose motivation.

For example: When you don't give helpful feedback or acknowledge when someone does a good job.

Unclear roles

Definition: People aren't sure what their responsibilities are or what is expected of them.

For example: If a worker is told to do different things by different managers and isn’t sure who to listen to.

Work relationships

Definition: Conflict at work can stress mental health. Things like rudeness, sarcasm and putting people down are bad for relationships.

For example: When conflict between co-workers is not fixed.

Remote and isolated work

Definition:  If you work from home or in a remote area, you may not have all the things you need to do your job well. Especially in an emergency.

For example: There is nothing in place to support people working alone. Or they don't have the equipment they need.

Violent or traumatic events

Definition: Trauma comes in many forms. It affects everyone differently and must be handled with care. Even hearing about traumatic events can cause 'second-hand trauma'.

For example: There are no systems in place to report trauma or services to talk about it.

Poor or dangerous environment

Definition: Workplaces with poor air quality, lots of noise or unsafe machinery are a risk to mental health.

For example: If employees aren't given the safety equipment they need. Or if regular safety tests aren't done.

Step 3: Benefits of a mentally healthy workplace

A mentally healthy workplace is a win for everyone.

Some of the benefits are:

  • less people missing work
  • more work getting done
  • a better company reputation
  • better workplace culture
  • higher quality work

How putting mental health first can save money

It can cost your business up to nine working days per employee, per year when people have less capacity to work but work anyway.

When it comes to mental health, what's good for people is good for business.

You can expect to double every dollar spent on a successful mental health program, (PwC 2014)

Everyone has the right to feel safe at work.

Under Australian law all workers, including migrant workers and visa holders, have rights and protections to be safe at work. The WorkSafe Starter Kit provide important information about your health and safety rights and responsibilities at work. It includes free services and organisations you can contact if you need advice or assistance.

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Disclaimer: The WorkWell Toolkit provides general information only. Please consider your specific circumstances, needs and seek appropriate professional advice.