The Courier-Mail - Career One - - Front Page -

WORK­PLACES are en­cour­aged to con­sider worker well­be­ing and ways to im­prove it, this Men­tal Health Week. One in five Aus­tralians will ex­pe­ri­ence a men­tal ill­ness in the next 12 months, and al­most half in their life­times, Men­tal Health Aus­tralia re­veals.

In the build­ing and con­struc­tion in­dus­try alone, Master Builders Aus­tralia says a worker com­mits sui­cide ev­ery sec­ond day.

For Stu­art Tay­lor, founder of The Re­silience In­sti­tute in Aus­tralia, build­ing rou­tines is one of the best ways to avoid burnout.

“Chal­lenge your­self to wake up at the same time each day, re­gard­less of when you go to sleep, so that you get the best qual­ity sleep in sub­se­quent nights,” he says.

“Cul­ti­vate a reg­u­lar med­i­ta­tion or mind­ful­ness prac­tice – even if it’s just a few min­utes – and no­tice how this im­pacts your ap­proach to the day ahead.

“Try build­ing ex­er­cise into your morn­ing rou­tine, rather than night, when your time is more likely to be taken up with other re­quests, pri­or­i­ties and ex­cuses.”

He says work­ers need to lis­ten to their body and slow down if needed. It is a mes­sage echoed by Louise McIl­wraith, ex-fi­nan­cial plan­ner and founder of TruCore Well­ness.

Af­ter hav­ing open heart surgery in her 30s fol­lowed by her son’s di­ag­no­sis with a rare blood disease then her own di­ag­no­sis with breast can­cer, she changed her per­spec­tive on life.

“(If I had my time again) I would spend more time look­ing af­ter my health and well­be­ing rather than just be­ing fo­cused on be­ing the bread­win­ner and hav­ing a fam­ily,” she says. “I look back at things I used to worry about and re­alise it just doesn’t re­ally mat­ter.”

SMG Health chief ex­ec­u­tive and psy­chol­o­gist and man­age­ment con­sul­tant Ian Shake­speare says the most suc­cess­ful or­gan­i­sa­tions value their hu­man cap­i­tal.

“In­vest­ing in their phys­i­cal and men­tal health and well­be­ing just makes sense,” he says.

Some ways he rec­om­mends work­ers look af­ter their own men­tal health in­clude tak­ing reg­u­lar breaks, get­ting to know co-work­ers, mak­ing time for things they value out­side of work, and re­view­ing life­style fac­tors such as diet.

SMG Health well­be­ing ac­count man­ager Kri­tika Singh helps or­gan­i­sa­tions iden­tify ar­eas which can im­prove em­ploy­ees’ men­tal and phys­i­cal well­be­ing and pro­duc­tiv­ity.

“This might in­clude com­po­nents such as re­silience and mind­ful­ness pro­grams, flu vac­ci­na­tions or health in­ter­ven­tion pro­grams,” she says.

At Sun­su­per, well­be­ing is an im­por­tant part of day-to-day oper­a­tions. Spokes­woman Si­mone Blum­berg says in the past 18 months, spe­cific pro­grams have been de­vel­oped, such as Growth Days where staff spend a day vol­un­teer­ing or learn­ing a new skill.


IN PER­SPEC­TIVE: SMG Health’s Kri­tika Singh helps or­gan­i­sa­tions iden­tify ar­eas which can im­prove their em­ploy­ees’ over­all well­be­ing, such as pro­vid­ing mas­sages at work.

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