Keeping mentally fit: 4 tips for promoting communication among co-workers
Suicide is a serious social problem in Belgium. Apart from Finland, our nation has the highest suicide rates in Western Europe. According to several psychiatrists, including Peter Adriaenssens, Belgium’s lack of a culture of open communication is one of the culprits. In partnership with local centres for mental health and suicide prevention Logo Midden-West-Vlaanderen and CGG West-Vlaanderen, we wanted to highlight these four conversation starters for the workplace.
1. The 5-minute break
In Sweden, coffee breaks or ‘fika’ have become mandatory in many companies. Studies have shown that spending these five minutes on a coffee break in the company of others often generates new ideas, improves the atmosphere at work and increases productivity levels. So, regularly invite your employees to have a coffee break! It will give them the chance to relax in each other’s company and do some talking.
2. Healthy mental breaks
Maybe try something a little different during lunch breaks: offer yoga sessions, organise a brisk 10,000-step walk in the neighbourhood, or even relaxation exercises. This allows your workers more quality time and stops them from grabbing a quick bite and eating at their desk. It also gives them the opportunity to get to know their colleagues a bit better. And after their healthy break, they are bound to get back to work with renewed energy and a fresh mind.
3. Speed dating among departments
Do you find that there is little interaction between employees from different departments? Then give them the opportunity to get to know one another. One way to achieve this is by introducing brief ‘work experience sessions’ during which your workers get to spend some time at a department other than their own. Or you could organise a speed dating event among your employees, where you provide conversation starters or simple questions to help break the ice. Meeting new people often leads to new ideas and partnerships.
4. Lounge areas
Provide some casual lounge areas where employees can relax in the company of colleagues. Some must-have elements to include are:
- warm lighting;
- comfortable seating;
- vending machines for coffee and soft drinks;
- a flat screen or notice board displaying the latest company news;
- perhaps even a bowl with free fruit snacks.
Workshops to help discuss mental health risks
In addition to the tips above, Mensura offers several workshops designed to improve the mental well-being of your employees. Talking to one another more frequently and in different settings, are key factors for mental health.
- Stress Awareness Workshop for Supervisors. Your team leaders and supervisors will learn more about the causes behind workplace stress and how to find solutions. They will also receive guidelines on how to better communicate with employees about stress and learn coping mechanisms.
- Building Resilience Workshop.Helping your employees deal with stress will result in less absenteeism, greater productivity and a better team spirit. By sharing experiences with colleagues and completing some exercises, employees will gain more insight in the possible causes of stress and how to build resilience.
- Healthy Lifestyle Workshop.Participants will learn more about leading a healthy lifestyle and how to avoid risk factors. They will gain the knowledge and skills required to help them on their way to a healthier lifestyle.
- Training on First Aid Mental Health issues for supervisors. Mental health issues among employees are often difficult to spot or are identified too late. Supervisors do not always have the necessary knowledge and experience to recognise the symptoms or respond correctly. This training teaches them techniques to spot employees with mental health issues, initiate a confidential chat with them and refer them if need be, or to reintegrate them after a long absence.
Read all blog posts about ‘mentally fit’.