Skip to content

How does your workplace garden grow?

Date posted
26 February 2024
Dimple Chauhan
Estimated reading time
3 minute read

A working culture is precious to any workplace, so you have to take care of it, writes our Events Content Producer Dimple Chauhan, as she previews a key panel debate to be staged in March.

By investing time and effort in nurturing a plant’s soil, watering and tending it every day, the plant will bloom into a heart-warming display of beauty and extravagance. In the same way, when an employer creates a positive and healthy work environment for its employees, workers will flourish and be motivated to achieve common goals, reaping benefits for both the company and for themselves.

But even though this seems so obvious, why is that stress and mental ill-health are amongst the most common causes of long-term absence from work?

The World Health Organization acknowledges that “workplaces can be places of both opportunity and risk for mental health” and it is important to promote and protect the mental health of workers for long-term benefits in terms of performance and productivity.

When an employer gets it right, the characteristics and culture of a workplace will be contributing factors in enabling workers to be happy to be in their place of work every day. But when there is a work culture that promotes long working hours, poor working conditions, no support to acknowledge and deal with stress, then this can have a huge impact on staff morale and motivation. This increases tension and conflict amongst colleagues, putting the mental health of staff at risk. The plant can be left to wither.

"Before arriving at a work culture that can be deemed to be toxic, where workers dread Mondays or the start of their shift, an organisation can start building a more positive workplace by addressing the work culture and creating a work environment that shows and demonstrates to workers that it cares. Although easier said than done, there are several tools and standards that can be brought in to enhance the culture of a workplace and reinvent it as somewhere people feel safe and motivated to work."

Job role

Panel debate

As the call for mental health wellness gets louder, IOSH is preparing to widen the debate with the help of a number of leading experts at the Health and Wellbeing at Work Expo, in Birmingham, on 12 March.

A panel discussion, hosted by IOSH President-Elect Kelly Nicoll on ‘Addressing a toxic work environment’ will welcome the Chair of the Employee Assistance Programme Association (EAPA), Karl Bennett, who advises on mental health and wellbeing strategies within the public, private and charity sectors. Joining Karl and Kelly will be Dr Ivan Jimenez Williams, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Manager at IOSH.

As part of a ‘wellbeing toolkit,’ an employee assistance programme (EAP) can be offered to workers for confidential support, where they can gain advice and short-term counselling. Yet its support can be limited. How can an EAP make a difference to the psychosocial safety climate of a workplace?

The EAPA’s 'Holding it together' report states that “EAPs are available to 24.45 million employees in 105,000 organisations in the UK. What’s hidden in the basic headline figures around usage is the actual nature of the calls being dealt with. EAPA members report that they are receiving more complex, longer and more intense calls on a regular basis.”

The panel discussion with IOSH and EAPA will delve into preventative and proactive measures that can be put into place before employees hit crisis point. It will also consider how services such as EAPs are best utilised to enhance a healthy work culture.

Our expert panel discussion on toxic workplace culture takes place on Tuesday 12 March at 15:15 in the Culture, Values and Engagement Theatre at the Health and Wellbeing at Work event. Enter code IOSHSAVE10 for 10 per cent off your registration. See you there!

Further reading

Last updated: 04 March 2024

Dimple Chauhan

Job role
Events Content Producer


  • Health and wellbeing