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Workplace flexibility can help people and organisations be happier and healthier

by CBHS Corporate Health | Mar 10, 2020
Colleagues discussing in office

According to research from the International Workplace Group’s 2019 Global workspace survey, given the choice between two similar employment opportunities, four out of five candidates would base their decision on whether there was a flexible working offer. Demand for flexibility in where, how and when we work is contributing to greater productivity, work-life balance and ultimately, improved happiness.

There are many elements to what can make us happy. For some it’s getting regular exercise or visiting the beautician on a regular basis, for others it’s choosing the location and time for when they work. In Australia, 85% of businesses say they use flexible workspace policies to attract new recruits. Understanding what makes employees happy can help you build diversity, find great talent, and retain them. With International Day of Happiness taking place this month, it could be your time to start the happiness conversation.

The #internationaldayofhappiness campaign, scheduled for 20 March 2020, is an annual initiative that aims to prioritise happiness across the globe. With the theme ‘Happier Together’, this year’s campaign is an opportunity to start proactively creating a healthier and happier community in your workplace. The organisers offer plenty of ways to promote mental health and wellbeing without the need for a huge budget.

By registering your interest1 on the website and downloading the phone app you can access a suite of free resources that can be implemented into your workplace like:

  • Daily inspiration – receive new actions each day of March or even longer
  • Community connection – join groups within your friends or colleagues to share communication and actions to start making each other happy
  • Statistics – read up on the latest report results from data collected around the world and compare country to country happiness scales
  • Resources – download posters, flyers and messages to distribute or personalise digital templates for social media or websites

The Productivity Commission’s mental health inquiry is currently underway with a final report due later this year. The current draft report suggests the cost to Australia of mental illness is in the order of $43-$51bn a year. Seventy-five percent of people who develop a mental illness experience mental ill-health before they reach the age of 25. The key message from the inquiry is that a generational change needs to happen.

Psychological distress as well as anxiety, depression and substance abuse are the most common mental illnesses. Workplace stress can be a significant contributor to anxiety, caused by increasing workloads not resourced correctly through to mismatched management styles and personality clashes.

There are ways you can help reduce workplace stress and improve mental health. You could try:

  • Plants – green environments have been shown to improve moods
  • Massage – as a wellness activity, massage can help staff relax and unwind
  • Meditation – promote meditation apps to guide staff through short meditation exercises
  • Flexible working policy – allow staff to work remotely and in their own time (provided it does not impact the business)
  • Promote work-life balance
  • Encourage healthy eating and active lifestyles

Let 2020 be your year of happiness!

1Before providing your personal information, we advise that you read the organiser’s privacy policy at: https://www.actionforhappiness.org/privacy and be comfortable with how your personal information will be handled.