Protecting Wellbeing

How to positively influence workplace wellbeing to protect your people. When it comes to protecting the wellbeing of people at work, I like to think of it as the sum of all the parts.  

Workplace wellbeing is rarely ever dependent on just one “part”. It’s a combination of what people in the organisation see, feel, hear and do during the course of their day to day work that determines their workplace experience. And it’s that experience that can positively, or negatively, impact individual and organisational wellbeing.

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Organisations have a legal and moral obligation to protect the mental health and wellbeing of their people and that requires addressing, and going beyond, safety and compliance obligations. When an organisation understands their work-related contributing factors, they are better able to take steps to protect their people from physical and psychological harm, support them to feel better at work and help the organisation to succeed. The earlier someone can identify that a worker is experiencing stressors, the earlier someone can intervene.


Taking an integrated approach to workplace wellbeing requires an understanding of how all the “parts” interlink (experiences, behaviours, strategies, practices, processes, actions) to enable and support staff, volunteers, teams, management, leadership and the Board to thrive.

If an organisation has a comprehensive set of policies but its team leaders don’t have the skills to have the right conversations, or direct staff and volunteers to support, this is not an integrated approach. Or perhaps there is an EAP in place but also stigma around mental illness within an organisation, or team members feel disconnected and unsupported by their managers. 

The good news is that any organisation can easily make a start (or continue building on) protecting people in the workplace. Here are three of the “parts” you could consider:

1. Governance and board reporting

Do you need to get the Board involved in the conversation about wellbeing? Do they understand the hazards, risks and stressors in your organisation? How could they support you? How could a wellbeing strategy help guide your organisation’s integrated approach?

2. Leadership Practices

What leadership practices and role modelling are positively impacting wellbeing in your workplace? Is there a shared responsibility for creating a connected culture, free from conflict, where people feel safe to belong, to learn, to speak up and contribute? Is there open communication and good boundaries? Is there a healthy balance between the job demands, the energy it takes to get the work done and the freedom, learning and support available to team members?  

3. Support Mechanisms

Do your people know if there are any support mechanisms in place (e.g.  EAP, peer support, clinical supervision, informal debriefing)?  Do they know how and when to access? 

By integrating all the “parts” of workplace wellbeing, organisations have the opportunity to positively influence the experience at work for their people.

To find other resources to support you to protect staff wellbeing, visit The Community Well 

Leanne Hart
25 August 2023

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