Cultivating Healthy Workplace Well-Being: A World Mental Health Day Reflection

As the calendar turns to World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October, it is important to discuss and raise awareness of mental health issues around the world. This includes within workplaces to mobilise efforts in support of mental health.

Picture this, nearly half the workforce in Australia alone (a whopping 46%), believes their jobs are doing them a disservice to their mental health. On top of that, more than half of the millennial workforce (56%) believe that poor mental health is affecting their employment. A shocking 70% of Australian workers report feeling stressed at least once a week, with 27% feeling stressed more than 4X per week.

With all this in mind, it is important to prioritise keeping a happy and healthy workplace. Fostering genuine connection among employees is vital for creating a happy, healthy and thriving workplace culture.

While the classic, “How are you?” or, “Are you OK?” is a good starting point, it is super important to dig a little deeper to truly understand and empathise with your employees’ experiences, thoughts and emotions.

“Did you do anything exciting over the weekend?” This question invites them to share their passions, hobbies and all the cool stuff that makes them unique. It’s vital for employees to ask and be asked questions that go beyond the typical day to day conversation.

So, how can this be done? Here are some little tips on how to craft meaningful questions for deeper employee connections (these tips can also be used in real life situations as well):

  1. Connecting with Interests:

To foster meaningful conversations, authenticity and genuine curiosity are key. People can tell if you’re just going through the motions. Show that you care about their well-being, growth and opinions. Instead of generic questions like, “Are you OK?” or, “How was your weekend?” try asking, “What did you get up to over the weekend?” This approach encourages employees to share their interests and passions, offering a more comprehensive view of their lives. When employees feel valued and understood, they are more likely to engage in meaningful discussions.

  1. Reflect on Personal Growth:

Many employees often have personal passions and expertise beyond their daily tasks. By asking about these interests and enquiring, “What’s something new you’ve recently learned that excites

you, either personally or professionally?” you show recognition of their unique talents. Everyone enjoys being asked about themselves, hence why this is a great tip to reflect on when crafting meaningful questions. This question promotes excitement and discussions about accomplishments and growth.

  1. Acknowledging Obstacles:

To support employees, foster an environment where they can openly discuss challenges. Instead of the standard “How’s your day?” try asking, “What difficulty are you currently facing, and how can we assist you?” This approach acknowledges challenges and opens the door for colleagues and employers to offer support, emphasising teamwork and collaboration.

  1. Gratitude and Reflections:

Gratitude is a powerful tool for fostering positive emotions and stronger connections among employees. When they feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to engage openly. You can express gratitude by asking questions like, “What’s an accomplishment you’re particularly proud of?” or “Is there a colleague you’d like to recognise for their support?” Instead of the usual “How’s your week so far?” try asking, “What’s one thing this week that you’re grateful for?” This approach encourages mindfulness and shifts the focus to positive experiences.

  1. Seek Feedback:

Building a culture of continuous improvement hinges on seeking employee feedback actively. By asking questions that prompt their insights, you inspire their participation in shaping team dynamics and processes. Questions such as “What’s one way to enhance our team’s collaboration?” or, “Do you have suggestions for improving our project management?” invite valuable perspectives and encourage engagement in the betterment of the workplace.

These kinds of questions signal that their opinions are not only welcome but valued, fostering a sense of ownership and investment in the team’s success. One conversation whether big or small can truly change a life. So next time you walk into the office and start a conversation with an employee remember these 5 tips that can help for deeper employee connection as well as ensure a healthy, happy and thriving workplace culture!

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