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Mental health at work

My department is especially vulnerable for psychic health: We are few, so if anyone is out, we have a real capacity problem. Despite this, we also have to accept that other people are frustrated over our capacity problem, and take it out on us. To survive, we have special focus on mental health and, to make it more tangible, we run a Burn Out Self-Test every month. This makes it easy to report mental health trends to top management, and also gives us a hint about when it is necessary to take some kind of action.

The first piece of action is to sit down and be open about what it is that bothers us. All stress issues can be related back to obstacles for the three motivating factors: autonomy, mastery and purpose. We then discuss what we can do to get rid of the obstacles and restore the motivation. If we do things right, it should be visible in the next test.

Mental health is something we have learned to speak openly about within the department. This openness fosters a culture of compassion and camaraderie. Our verbal suggestion box is not only about a ping pong table, but more so about compassion for the frustrated client swearing at us from the other end of the phone line. And if one person needs to vent, we give them that space. Someone else will deal with the difficult client.

Mastery, then, is no longer just about the tasks of the department. It is also about mastering one's own mind.

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