Wellness Blog

Wellness Blog

Creating a happier, healthier workforce

We’re all aware of the challenges that the past two years have placed on businesses, communities, families and individuals. Our mayor summarised it succinctly, ‘COVID-19 is Queenstown Lakes District’s earthquake’.

Along with the economic impact of closed borders, there has also been (and continues to be) a big emotional impact.

As a glimmer of light begins to appear at the end of this two-year long dark tunnel, business focus is understandably returning to building momentum once more. While marketing and operational preparedness is required, there is a need for a timely reminder not to forget about the wellbeing of individuals. Just like the business needing to be in the best possible shape to operate once more, so to do the people that run, and work in, that business.

Thankfully, in recent years awareness of mental health and efforts to support wellbeing have increased significantly in our communities. Similarly, mental health has become a major focus for workplace safety and prioritising wellbeing has never been more important.

Many businesses will know they ‘could be’ doing something to support wellbeing in their organisation, but maybe they are unaware of what they ‘should be’ doing.

We checked in with some Queenstown Lakes District businesses that have received support from local wellbeing providers, funded through Government’s Tourism Communities Plan and administered through the Otago Regional Business Partner (RBP) Network, to see how it had helped them.

Evolving your wellbeing plan

We can’t name names but here’s a great example from one of our district’s larger tourism businesses which has been working on improving its staff wellbeing.

They already had a Wellbeing Plan but were aware it needed reviewing and improving so both the RBP wellbeing provider and the company’s staff provided input into its evolution. All staff were a focus, with wellbeing initiatives tailored to suit different staff member groups. While only small tweaks were required to be made to work environments and technology, a lot of consideration was given to how these might be improved. This organisation has staff based on-site, in the office, at home and a hybrid of all three so software and systems are now being streamlined for efficiency.

When finalised, the updated Wellbeing Plan will focus on five areas of staff wellbeing: Body & Mind, Professional, Social, and Communal & Financial.

Putting a wellbeing plan in place

While growth, awareness and accolades were obvious pre-COVID, another one of our up-and-coming tourism brands (like all local tourism businesses) has had to make hard decisions to survive the past two years.

External wellbeing support has enabled the team to talk freely and, for the new manager, having access to one-on-one support has meant that she is well prepared to succeed in her new role.

With the support of an RBP wellbeing provider, the business recognised that they needed to put a wellbeing plan in place and initiatives have included changes to hours to ensure appropriate time off between shifts and to avoid burnout for the reduced number of staff.

Team members now meet monthly to discuss wellbeing experiences and volunteering opportunities to engage in.

Sustainability is a key focus and the business is looking to partner with likeminded companies which will strengthen their community engagement at the same time. There is also a high-level agreement to move to paying a living wage and seek Living Wage accreditation.

How to work with wellbeing providers

Through the Tourism Communities Plan, RBP connects local businesses with local wellbeing providers.

Chenin Madden, from Cre8ing Balance, is one of these providers. To improve workplace wellbeing, Chenin encourages employers to create a safe environment which encourages open and honest communication. This can be via a designated person who staff can talk to about anything work or non-work related because sometimes personal issues can have an impact on professional performance. Chenin encourages employers to make expectations clear about what they expect from their teams to ensure there is no miscommunication when it comes to physical and mental wellbeing, self-care and work ethic. Chenin believes that “the little things count and everyone wants to feel appreciated”.

Mel Haarer is the owner of Connect and Care, a Queenstown-based wellbeing provider. Mel highlights to business owners and their staff the importance of regular exercise and how breathing can calm people’s nervous systems and help them feel more relaxed. Mel reminds staff to “give your time, words, and presence to someone, but have boundaries around the level of support you offer”. Mel believes that we should always be learning something new, to encourage new focus and interest outside of everyday life and that “Life is about constant change, things pass, like the seasons. We’re all in this together”.

Help is available

While closed borders and the associated economic fallout have affected the wellbeing of many people, help is available and business leaders are embracing this opportunity to improve the wellbeing of their teams and themselves. A happy, healthy and supported team not only benefits the individuals involved but the business as a whole. In a tight labour market where competition for staff is high, being an employer of choice may be the difference between attracting and retaining staff or struggling to fill roles and deliver the service expected of your business.

That’s where Otago Regional Business Partners can help. Locally based growth advisors, some who have lived in our district for over 20 years, can connect businesses with suitable wellbeing providers. If eligible, support for providers’ services can be up to 100% funded for businesses.

Click here to find out more about the Tourism Communities Plan that is administered by the Otago Regional Business Partner Network, and how your business may be supported toward a better wellbeing future for all.

Otago Regional Business Partners Network

Email: support@otagorbp.co.nz
Phone: (03) 479 0181

03 479 0181