Improving employee wellbeing in New Zealand

The 2015 Health and Safety at Work Act in New Zealand requires workplaces to look after the physical and mental health and wellbeing of staff.
By: | July 26, 2022

However, a recent survey of the country’s workplaces revealed that more than a third have no workplace well-being plan in place, said Dougal Sutherland, Clinical Psychologist, Victoria University of Wellington.

Writing in the EconoTimes, Sutherland said that besides the more recognised workplace burnout, there is clear evidence aspects of work design, organisation and management, as well as employees’ social and environmental context, play a major role in workers’ psychological and physical health.

He recommends three tips organisations should keep in mind when implementing well-being plans.

Firstly, it is crucial to ask employees about what is stressing them. Use this information as a basis for your plan. It is vital to use a form of survey or assessment developed specifically for this purpose, rather than just guessing or assuming you know what your people think. This means you can track changes in well-being over time. 

Secondly, involving employees in the design of any well-being plan will likely increase buy-in and improve uptake of any interventions. 

READ: New Zealand court ruling encourages employees from speaking up

Thirdly, employers need to consider both work and non-work factors. Some work factors may be obvious (such as bullying, high workload, exposure to traumatic material), while others may be less so (level of autonomy at work, being consulted about change) yet still critical. Non-work factors may include financial stress and parenting or relationship difficulties.