June 26, 2023 - Australia: Today marks the start of World Wellbeing Week (26-30 June) – a weeklong initiative aimed at inspiring people to prioritise their own wellbeing. With the ongoing narrative on employee burnout and how crucial work/life balance is, there’s no better week to kickstart an open conversation on wellbeing in the workplace.
While the term ‘workplace wellbeing’ is commonplace, it’s also often misconstrued that excessive workplace perks and costly and time-consuming initiatives need to be established. There are some baseline practices that employers can easily put into place, to ensure employee needs are being met – without hefty investment or an organisational overhaul.
According to the Australian HR Institute’s 2019-22 Workplace Report, this is a key concern for businesses with two thirds of employees believing they don’t receive the support they need from their direct supervisors, negatively impacting their wellbeing.
Juan Galang, Service Manager at BrightHR encourages Aussie business owners to consider the full picture of each of their employees, and how they may be feeling outside of office hours too.
“Employers are uniquely positioned to make a real difference in the lives of their employees. Workplace teams are the driving force behind any company's success, but with the daily grind and rush of deadlines, it's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.
Galang summarised that the foundations of workplace wellness can be started with four starting points.
- Make sure your working environment is safe. Conduct risk assessments making sure you consider both physical and mental health risks to individuals and take action based on the results of your assessment.
- Introduce mindfulness and educate staff. Ensuring your staff are aware of your wellbeing strategy with handbooks and educating them with e-learning courses, will foster a culture of mindfulness and mutual care.
- Protect staff with comprehensive policies. From an equal opportunity or discrimination policy to your wellbeing policy, you must make sure these resources are up-to-date and easily accessible to everyone within your business.
- Encourage open communication. This means being willing to have difficult conversations and providing a safe space for your team to share their struggles. It also means leading by example and prioritising your own mental health.
“The benefits of having a wellbeing strategy far outweigh the costs. Enhancing your workplace wellbeing can increase employee productivity and reduce absences; improve brand reputation and boost retention and recruitment, giving your business a competitive edge and saves you money in the long run”, says Galang.
As an employer, it is important to be aware of potential signs of poor wellbeing and mental health issues among your employees.
These signs may include increased absenteeism or lateness, changes in mood or behaviour, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, changes in appearance or sleep, high staff turnover, and complaints from co-workers or customers.
By spotting these signs early and taking action, you can help support your employees and benefit your business.
- BrightHR provides award-winning HR and H&S software and advisory solutions for SMEs, servicing over 22,000 clients in Australia and New Zealand on workplace relations and workplace health & safety issues. It was founded in 2015 to help Australian and New Zealand SMEs navigate their obligations under the relevant legislation. It does this via a suite of innovative applications and advice line, where businesses can access people management tools, receive guidance, education and speak with their team of workplace relations specialists.
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