Time to Thrive: Being our Best at Work

As I step into the new year, I’ve been reflecting on this question:

“If we are still talking about whether or not people need to return to the office in 2024,
are we having the right conversation?”

I’m looking forward to a different type of conversation this year — one that looks beyond where we work and focuses equally on what we need to be our best and do our best work.

The latest Thriving Workplace report, released by SuperFriend, helps shine a light on the path forward.

SuperFriend facilitates Australia’s largest annual corporate mental health survey, with 10,000 employees taking part, and the results provide an impressive Thriving Workplace Index. The Index highlights the industries that are making inroads to provide environments where employees can thrive, and over the past year, those that made the largest improvements were Mining and Real Estate.

So, what can we learn from them?

According to the report, focusing on five key domains helps people thrive at work and improves outcomes such as psychological wellbeing and productivity:

  1. Connectedness — this is the most important area to focus on to thrive. It’s also a key strategy for combating burnout and workforce turnover. Connectedness is all about creating a workplace experience that supports:
    • quality interpersonal relationships
    • mutual respect
    • effective teamwork, and
    • opportunities for collaboration.
  2. Safety — not surprisingly, ensuring we protect people from harmful experiences such as harassment, bullying, discrimination and violence is a key driver of mental wellbeing. What I found interesting was the opportunity to build more awareness about the business policies and support services available to protect employee health, safety and wellbeing.
  3. Leadership — it’s no secret that leaders have a huge influence on wellbeing. According to the report, leaders with a thriving team know how to:
    • effectively lead and manage workplace change
    • provide role clarity
    • develop fair and supportive relationships, and
    • take responsibility for creating a safe work environment.
  4. Work Design — the report findings reinforce the notion that when responsibilities and priorities are clear, and we have the opportunity to contribute to decisions that affect our role, we are empowered to better manage our workload and this influences our satisfaction levels. The report also put some hard data around my observations about “the right amount” of in-office days for hybrid teams: the average employee prefers to work from home 2.2 days per week, and this is an important driver of satisfaction.
  5. Capability — in the context of the Thriving Workplace report, capability focused on what businesses can do to build the skills and resources available to support mental health. It found that only one in 10 employees believe the workplace is having a positive impact on their mental health, and yet, implementing mental health programs can provide organisations with a $15 return on investment in the way of productivity, retention, and reduced work claims, for every $1 spent.

As you embark on the new year, what strategies do you have in place to ensure that you and your team thrive?

For a deeper conversation about my insights into thriving workplaces, get in touch!

Mel x


First published on COMUNiTI, January 2024


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