In April, I presented to a national conference on workplace mental wellbeing.
Whilst all attendees were there because they have a genuine desire to make their workplaces more psychologically safe, a staggering 81% of attendees said that competing demands / conflicting priorities were a barrier for them in working to reduce psychological harm risks in their workplace.
In the same week, I spoke to an experienced CEO, who asked me to help rationalise their workload, as they struggled with a multitude of projects the Board are raining down that do not align to the organisations strategic vision or fulfill any compliance requirements.
Again that week, a conversation on this exact topic, with a high performing Executive, doubting their ability to perform due to the disabling environment of work overload, and inappropriate ‘organisational priorities’.
This is a constant theme in my work with clients regardless of sector.
All of these experiences have led me to ask the question:
Are We Taking Our Duty to Protect Employees from Psychological Harm Seriously?
Relentless high workload is a recognised work-related stress risk factor.
Unmanaged work-related stress can lead to psychological or physical harm.
There are three frequent flyer risk factors I see almost daily in my work.
In addition to unmanageable workload these are:
- Poorly managed change (yep, this is a biggy); and
- Poor workplace relationships.
What Can You Do
WorkSafe have a handy document outlining a multitude of risk factors along with suggested control measures for each.
All three of the risk factors I mention above are included.
Having a conversation about workload is the starting point. Consulting with your people about the risks, like you would for a manual handling issue, or a falls or physical injury hazard, should be standard practice.
Have a conversation.
If you’re the leader, monitor the wellbeing of your people and check in with them about work demands (it’s actually a legislative requirement).
If you’re being subjected to unreasonable work demands, complete the project register and use this to inform your discussions with your leaders. (Missed this? Refer to my Blog and download the project register at the bottom).
Know your rights and responsibilities in regard to psychological hazards and the suggested controls that WorkSafe supply in their guidance document.
If you’re not sure where to start reach out for a chat.
It is no longer acceptable to continue to ignore the psychological risk factors in our workplaces.
We all have a role to play as leaders of change in creating
and maintaining mentally healthy workplaces.
The future world of work depends upon it.
How We Can Work Together
Gender Equality Act – Implementation Support
Did you know you can get support on your GEA implementation through my Cracking the Change Code Program. With change consultancy packaged up you have a set fee to budget for and can make some huge inroads in your rollout. Book in a chat to find out more about how this could work for you.
Cracking the Change Code Program – Six Months 1:1 for Leaders of Change (download brochure)
Tactical support, coaching and planning whilst building your formal change management competencies.
Building Psychologically Safe Teams – 12 Month Team Based Program
(download brochure) Increase inclusion, collaboration, innovation and productivity.
Consulting – Change Management, Mentally Healthy Workplaces, Diversity and Inclusion, Culture Transformation, Leadership and Team Building Workshop Facilitation Enquire now.
Coaching – Change Management, Leadership
See my full range of programs and services here.
I look forward to working together!
Director & Principal Consultant
MBA, ICFACC, MAHRI, Dip Mgt, Dip Coaching, Prosci® Certified Change Practitioner