How to build a happy team

Happy teams are the foundation of a productive and high performing public service. Yet significant numbers of public servants have taken time off for mental health reasons (nearly half of the UK’s public sector), and the WHO estimates that $1 trillion in productivity is lost every year due to mental health issues in the workplace.

That’s why Apolitical hosted a workshop on how to build a happy team. Participants learned how internal cultures have successfully changed to improve mental health, how they themselves can be part of and build a happy team, and what comes within their responsibility as a colleague. The discussion featured Poppy Jaman OBE and Debra Lerner.

Following requests from registrants, we have now made a video recording of the live workshop available.


This workshop was part of Apolitical’s wider coverage of models, policies and approaches that are working to create opportunities for healthier lives around the world. On our Health and Wellbeing channel, you can learn more about how governments can look beyond a narrow focus on medical care and seek to build a broader culture of health, that recognises how our health is influenced by where we live, learn, work and play.

Are you interested in contributing to Apolitical? Find out how to here. By joining our list of contributors, which includes Harvard professor Steven Pinker, former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former Mindlab director Thomas Prehn, you can put your research in front of tens of thousands of public servants around the world.


Thank you to all our participants who shared resources throughout the workshop. You can explore them below.

  • How to improve workplace mental health — 50 ideas for public servants: A global collection of practical ideas, initiatives and programmes for public servants.
  • Opinion article: A high-pressure public sector is bad for mental health. Can government help?
  • Thriving at Work: An independent review into how UK employers can better support the mental health of all people currently in employment including those with mental health problems or poor well-being to remain in and thrive through work.
  • The Green Ribbon Campaign: Encouraging organisations to invite their employees to wear a green ribbon for significant dates in the diary such as Mental Health Awareness Week and World Mental Health Day in order to raise awareness and end stigma.
  • Psychologically Safe Leader Assessment: A set of free action resources that identifies and supports leadership strategies pertaining to psychological health and safety.
  • Ted Talk: How to start changing an unhealthy work environment
  • Guarding Minds at Work: A unique and free online resource to help employers assess, protect and promote psychological health and safety in their workplaces.
  • StressAssess: A survey of the psychosocial factors in your workplace.
  • Creating your own happiness at work: Bill Howatt’s research on building your own happiness and wellbeing.
  • Being a Mindful Employee: A free orientation to psychological health and safety in the workplace.