A free program available to Victorian workplaces provides the tools to help prioritise and address employees’ health and wellbeing amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Australian HR Institute surveyed over 1,100 human resource (HR) professionals across the nation from a variety of industries with 93% admitting it was a challenge to manage the health and wellbeing of staff1.
The report found the biggest stressors for HR as a result of the health crisis included employees’ wellbeing, shifting business priorities, government and legislative arrangements and effective employee engagement.
Head of the Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program, Laura Paulsen, said the challenge surrounding health and wellbeing at work can be eased by drawing on the expertise of free support programs such as the Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program.
“This research indicates that many businesses may be struggling to effectively manage the health and wellbeing of staff, and as we look ahead to the next phase of the pandemic including the lifting of some restrictions, new challenges for workplaces will arise. Our message to all employers and employees is simple: help is at hand,” said Ms Paulsen.
The Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program, supported by the Victorian Government and delivered by Cancer Council Victoria, enables workplaces to achieve best-practice milestones for health areas including mental health and wellbeing, healthy eating, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol and other drugs. It’s free to join and there are currently more than 1,000 member organisations across Victoria from sectors including professional services, retail, construction and health services.
In addressing workplace health and wellbeing, Ms Paulsen cites the Achievement Program’s publicly accessible Wellbeing Library as an ideal tool for workplaces to address immediate challenges.
“Thousands of people across Victoria have accessed and engaged with the online Library. In addition, our recent workplace mental health and wellbeing webinar, featuring Beyond Blue, R U OK? and Mental Health First Aid Australia had an overwhelming response and is also publicly available on our website,” said Ms Paulsen.
How workplaces can promote wellbeing
Ms Paulsen believes successful workplace health and wellbeing is underpinned by leadership commitment, employee participation and regular, authentic communication.
- Communicate with your employees by promoting support services, sharing trusted health and wellbeing information and providing opportunities for employees to stay informed and connected.
- Create a health and wellbeing team to support healthy initiatives. To name a few, well-known health organisations including VicHealth, Cancer Council Victoria and Nutrition Australia have introduced wellbeing activities such as virtual coffee catch ups, a staff wellbeing podcast, a Cookbook Club, trivia nights and an online staff wellness chat room.
- Check in with your employees to hear what their health and wellbeing needs are. This can be done through a short survey, a team meeting or an email call out for feedback and suggestions.
- Let them know you care. It’s paramount that employees feel supported by senior leadership and feel encouraged to take part in health and wellbeing initiatives.
Register your workplace to take the first step in promoting workplace health and wellbeing.
1 The Australian HR Institute
For more information or to organise an interview, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.