Creating a Safe Space™ – How to reduce the fear of vulnerability at work

November 24, 2020

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We all are looking forward to being a part of an organization with a peaceful working environment, where we can experience both personal and professional growth. There are multiple ways of how an organization can make a more supportive environment where employees are able to flourish. Working in a safe space allows people to openly share ideas without any inhibition and protect their identities without discrimination.

Safe spaces help a company to deal with all the negative dysfunction and inequity in the office. There are a couple of employees who are introverts and hesitate to open up and talk to express themselves. There are many instances when they feel discarded and disrespected. Having a safe space at a company helps these individuals to talk and seek help during unforeseen circumstances.

Why Is It Important to Create a Safe Space at Work?

If surveys are to be believed, there are nearly 10% of workers at every organization who experience excessive workload and seek help in any manner possible. It is important that these employees have a space that they can experience a healthy working environment and also increase work productivity for the business.

It is important to understand that the social and moral decisions of the company affect the culture at a corporate office. This is responsible for maintaining work productivity and a positive working environment. Ensure that your office is a place where all your employees feel safe and secure and are improving their work-life balance with steady growth. This not only helps them but also helps your business to flourish.

What Is Unique About Safe Space™ In The Mental Health and Digital Counselling Space?

Safe Space™ provides free bite-sized mental health education for corporate employees to use. On top of that for our corporate mental health program, HR can choose our Basic and Premium tier where there's one-on-one counselling for employees that fits their schedule and individual needs and a Corporate Dashboard for easy monitoring.

Fig 1.1 Video call with the Therapist
A Leader's Role to Promote Mental Well Being at Work

Leaders of every organization play a significant role in developing respect and trust amongst their employees. It is very important to build a strong bond and serve as a role model for maintaining professional ethics at work. It is not an easy task to bring changes to the company culture. But as much as work and productivity are concerned, it is important to maintain a psychologically healthy and engaged working environment to build a better organisational workforce.

There are some steps which leaders can initiate to maintain a better working environment:

●     Making communications easy. Develop a two-way communication strategy where employees feel comfortable and secure to share their perspectives (try an anonymous environment).

●     Make a no-tolerance policy for any level of misconduct and inappropriate behaviour at the workplace.

●     Take fast action to resolve issues related to unhealthy workplace experience.

●     Try to bring the change by individually communicating with all your employees.

Fig 1.2 Safe Space - Corporate Dashboard
What Does a Mentally Healthy Workplace Look Like?

According to a survey in the year 2017, APA (American Psychological Association) stated that an unhealthy workplace is a major reason why certain organisations are not doing good lately. A healthy workplace is a place where there is a reasonable workload, clearer job roles, and each employer and employee possess empathy to understand and support each other in critical situations.

If by any chance, an organization misses these fundamental factors that make a good workplace. Then it becomes difficult to maintain a healthy work environment. The lack of psychological safety and negligence towards mental wellbeing is one of the reasons why there are major chances of increasing “office politics.”

The recent trending movements like #timesup and #meetoo have witnessed the rising concern at multiple workplaces, across the various fields of industries that do not develop a healthy work environment for their employees.

The major factor that influences the working of any organization is the leader. It’s the leader that can bring multiple changes in the workplace and culture. When employees are not comfortable with the working environment then it increases absenteeism, lack of productivity, and zero motivation to work.

What Feedback Has Safe Space™ Received From Employers/Patients?

In our Impact Measurement Survey, 70% of users mentioned that Safe Space™ has helped them to manage their mental health better. The accessibility to access our therapists at a convenient time makes the whole process less daunting.

The Significance of Mental Well-Being at Work

Offices that have high rates of maintaining psychological safety have higher authorities who prioritise the mental well-being of their workers and be emotional support as well. Along with this, they also design job roles according to the capability of the employee. They make sure that these roles are not excessively demanding and provide various opportunities and social support.

If organisations are not taking care of the mental health of their employees, then they gradually become low productive as well. These organisations design job roles that have a high demand for work from their employees. According to surveys, it is stated that with excessive work pressure at organisations there are 43% extra sick days per month and the employees are less productive when they are at work.  

How to Improve Psychological Safety at Work?

To improve psychological safety at work and improve mental well-being employers should design jobs that allow the employees to have control over their work. It improves how employees manage their working hours and work more efficiently based on their convenience. If the employees are given liberty, then this also improves communication between the employees and the senior authorities. If there is a better understanding amongst all the departments then it becomes easier to deal with the mental health issue at the workplace.

The Struggle is Real

We barely have an idea of what does a struggling employee must be facing at work. Due to excessive stress and work pressure employees are sliding down towards mental health and experiencing severe symptoms of psychological stress. In most of the organization, this issue is neglected, leading to employee burnout and signs of depression.

Employees are definitely surviving the day, but are mostly unaware of what has been exactly bothering them and making them feel lethargic. They certainly have no idea why are they emotionally drowning, experiencing stress, and are unable to work.

Bring the Change and Reduce Fear of Vulnerability

Companies should implement initiatives and create policies of communication and training. These policies comprise prioritising mental health, sharing and uplifting each other, and promoting mental health awareness. Since technology now plays a major role in treating mental health, there is also a need to find ways where the treatment can be provided face to face. It is important to make an investment in the mental health initiatives for everyone working at the company and help each other get through this.  

The best we can do is to reduce the stigma that runs around mental illness. If we come across someone who is facing a major mental health crisis, then the best we can do is to hear them out and help them get through a tough time. Employers have a major role to play here when it comes to supporting their fellow employees in critical situations. It is essential for organisations to provide resources and promote safe space at work.

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