CEDA recently hosted a discussion on healthy workplaces in Adelaide that explored how organisations can support wellbeing, looking at psychosocial risk management; leadership and management style; and flexibility in hybrid working.
The event brought together a diverse range of voices from Wellbeing SA, the Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment, Microsoft and Safe Work SA.
Kylie Cocks, Lead of Workplace Wellbeing Strategy at Wellbeing SA, framed the idea of a healthy workplace around collaboration between different teams.
“It is around collaboration, consultation, everybody in the organisation working together towards a common goal,” Ms Cocks said.
She also cited the importance of collaboration between HR and Work Health and Safety (WHS) teams, looking at health beyond just the physical aspects.
“We need this integrated approach. It also means bringing in WHS and HR to look at some of the other big issues that are coming through,” she said.
Jo Anne Dumalaon-Canaria, Healthy Workplaces Advisor at the Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment, said the workplace definition of wellbeing was changing in light of new legislation.
“With the work health and safety amendments to psychosocial risk management, there is a call for us to gain a bit more maturity in the way that we define wellbeing, and then the way that we approach wellbeing ourselves,” she said.
Ms Cocks cited sleep, musculoskeletal health and mental health as some of the psychosocial aspects of workplace health and safety that were being incorporated into the 136 wellbeing frameworks that exist across state and federal agencies.
She said despite the variety of materials available, all frameworks included the need for leadership commitment, employee engagement, participation and consultation.
“My advice would be to have a have a look and see what talks to your organisation the best,” she said.
The discussion also covered the importance of flexibility in good work design, with Ms Dumalaon-Canaria adding this is a key consideration for managers when addressing employee wellbeing.
“When it comes to work design we're thinking about the degree of agency and autonomy that employees would have in an organisation,” she said.
Felicity McNish, Employee Experience Specialist at Microsoft, said in-office time was invaluable for the type of work that benefits from face-to-face interaction.
“I think that innovation and knowledge transfer and improving your personal knowledge are the things that you get out of coming into the office, but we all love that flexibility,” Ms McNish said.
“I've heard of some companies where their bosses are demanding they come back into the office and straight away that puts employees in a stressful situation.”
She said that full-time office mandates took away the flexibility many parents had become used to.
“There's a whole lot of things that leaders in an organisation need to consider, and having that mandate of ‘you must come back into the office’, I haven't seen anything positive really come out of it,” she said.