Social and emotional wellness

Social and emotional wellness plays an important role in how you perform in your workplace. How you think, feel and relate to others affects your health.

When a workplace is stressful, hours long and morale low, you may find employees with poor social and emotional wellness. This can lead to an increase in employee absences.

Recognising and promoting social and emotional wellness at work can reduce employee stress and improve their health.

Addressing sources of stress is a key strategy to improve workplace social and emotional wellness. Stress-related presenteeism* and absenteeism is estimated to cost Australian employers $10 billion per year (PDF, 1MB).

Another vital issue affecting social and emotional wellness in the workplace is managing mental illness. About 50% of Australians will experience a mental illness at some point in their life. A psychologically (social and emotionally) supportive workplace can help reduce the risk of mental illness and aid recovery.

* Presenteeism describes an employee who is attending work but not performing to their full capacity for health reasons.

Characteristics of a healthy workplace

  • Employee loyalty and morale is high.
  • Team work is evident.
  • Obstacles to optimum mental health are removed.
  • Employee turnover and sick or stress leave is low.
  • Professional development is supported and encouraged.
  • Employees are productive team members.

Ideas for action: promoting social and emotional wellness at work

  • Develop a policy to show management’s commitment to social and emotional wellness and address ethics, diversity and code of conduct.
  • Provide employees with clear role expectations and job descriptions.
  • Offer training to managers to enhance their social and interpersonal skills.
  • Encourage mutual support and interaction as well as trust and respect between managers and employees.
  • Create a culture that acknowledges the dignity of others and shows care and consideration.
  • Optimise job design by rotating jobs, offering flexi-time and restructuring tasks to lessen pressure.
  • Enhance individual wellness by making work spaces attractive and comfortable.
  • Provide opportunities for social interaction and networking.
  • Provide employee-training opportunities for managing wellness and stress.
  • Introduce an employee assistance program (confidential counselling service) or support employees with a mental illness.
  • Develop a reward and recognition program.
  • Organise social functions for employees and their families.
  • Circulate positive social and emotional wellness fact sheets.
  • Promote support services such as beyondblue.



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