WHS Advisor – Health and Wellbeing
Department of Communities and Justice
What are you/your organisation currently focusing on in terms of workplace health and wellbeing?
We started 2019 focusing on education and training for managers around mental health and building a mentally healthy workplace.
The aim was to engage managers and provide them with the skills and confidence to have a conversation with their team members if they notice staff are not travelling so well. This year we were able to offer mental health first aid training, with an opportunity to be an accredited mental health first aider.
Currently, we are looking at how we can improve individual wellbeing and what that looks like for the workplace moving into 2020.
What aspect of workplace health and wellbeing does your organisation do well in?
At Department of Communities and Justice, we encourage employees to be the centre of our support programs. We aim to empower colleagues with practical skills to positively support workplace wellbeing.
Our Peer Support Co-ordinator manages a peer support program that involves staff supporting colleagues who are experiencing difficulties. This program grows bigger every year.
What’s your biggest challenge working in workplace health and wellbeing?
We are such a diverse organisation with numerous business units across NSW. A wellbeing program that works for one business area may not necessarily work for another. Implementing and getting buy- in can be challenging. It is all about adapting programs for the needs of staff.
How does WayAhead Workplaces add value to your organisation’s health and wellbeing program?
WayAhead are an excellent resource to educate and share mental health awareness. When I attend meetings I am kept up-to-date with the latest trends and ideas. I.e – the vending machine fun bags. Sharon and the team are quick to respond when assistance is required. Did I mention that the networking opportunities are endless?
How do you deal with stress?
Regular exercise helps me combat stress. When I’m too busy focusing on breathing during a boxing session, I shut out everything else, and then I can come back to any stress with clearer thinking.
What are the key issues and considerations for people in workplace health and wellbeing roles?
H&W is an interesting and fun field to work in. Being aware of quality programs that can work for metro and regional areas, and understanding exactly what might interest staff.
I am often approached by staff members telling me about their wellbeing journey, or how a program has changed their habits. It is a great feeling.
How do you switch off from work?
Podcasts and music work a treat during my 20-minute walk back to the car.
What is your best time-saving tip?
Do what you need to do first. Eat that frog.
What do you think the future of work health and wellness programs look like?
I think self-care and employee lifestyle will continue to lead the focus. I would really like to see innovative ways we can introduce digital delivery that support staff and leaders.