We spend a lot of time at work. In fact, two-thirds of Canadian workers spend more than 45 hours per week on the job. Depending on how much sleep you get, and how much time you spend commuting or doing other work-related activities, you likely spend 40% or more of your waking hours at work.

With that in mind, is it any surprise that our work environment can have a major impact on our overall mental well being?

“Employees and employers both have a responsibility to foster a mentally healthy work environment,” says Aaryn Secker, Workplace Training and Community Education Facilitator at the Canadian Mental Health Association, Kelowna branch (CMHA Kelowna). “If this is something new for a workplace, it can seem overwhelming and difficult to just get started.”

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. Like any good strategy, it is best to break each step into manageable pieces. CMHA Kelowna offers the following advice:

1. Gather some baseline information:

  • What are the strengths of your organizational structure and of each employee?
  • Identify areas for improvement and where those strengths can be used
  • A great tool to help you begin collecting this information is Guarding Minds at Work

2. Use employee input from Step 1 to strengthen your work environment and culture:

  • Celebrate successes big and small through increased employee recognition efforts
  • Improve mental health literacy for employees at all levels of your organization by booking a CMHA Kelowna Lunch and Learn series. We’re proud to share that Interior Savings business members receive 25% off of Lunch and Learn presentations
  • Increase awareness of free resources and services, such as Bounce Back® tele-coaching

3. Develop a corporate citizenship plan:

  • Survey employees to find out what social causes are important to them, or pick one that naturally fits with the work that your company does
  • Develop 1-3 key fundraising ideas and engage local charities to make these ideas a reality

4. Share your success:

  • Capture your journey to a mentally healthy workplace through photos, stories, and testimonials
  • Create a promotional strategy to show your community the work you are doing and challenge other workplaces to follow suit


Remember that is an ongoing process that should be continually re-evaluated and adjusted, at least annually, to ensure your business is on the right track. If you’re in a leadership position, you’ll need to walk the talk and set an example so employees truly believe in this endeavour.


Want to learn more? Call CMHA Kelowna’s Workplace Training Team at 250-861-3644. Of you’re outside of Kelowna, they will connect you with the nearest CMHA branch that can meet your needs.


Article contributed by: CMHA Kelowna