The Better Work Project: Wellbeing in the workplace

14 August

What is workplace wellness and how can it contribute to healthier and more productive businesses? In this podcast, we are joined by clinical psychologist, Jacqui Maguire to dive into the topic of wellbeing. We discuss how we can best manage our wellbeing in the middle of a pandemic and how thriving business needs thriving employees. 


  • Mental health is a term that people can shy away from as it has a stigma attached to it. When people think about mental health, often what they are actually thinking of is mental illness.
  • Every individual has mental health just like they have physical health. Mental health can range from languishing to flourishing. Flourishing means reaching your potential, being able to manage life stresses, being able to contribute to the world productivity and having helpful and healthy relationships and thoughts.
  • In their lifetime, one out of two will struggle with mental illness. If you are one of those people you can also flourish.
  • Wellbeing is the tool that helps you flourish. Wellbeing and mental health are connected, but they are different.
  • Te Whare Tapa Whā is a mental health model used in New Zealand. In it, there are four walls or pillars of wellbeing – physical health, psychological health, relational health and spiritual health.
  • With COVID, people will be in different places right now. There is a portion of people that are struggling, but some will have gotten a lot of value out of lockdown with the opportunity to pause and reconnect.
  • Uncertainty brings anxiety. Our brains don’t like ambiguity, so our minds go into hyperalert status.
  • Economic instability has a significant impact on mental health. It increases maladaptive behaviours, anxiety, depression etc.
  • Emotions evolve for a reason and that is to motivate action. For emotional wellbeing, we need to name and accept what we are feeling. If we try and shift what we’re thinking, it will build.
  • Shame and blame are completely unhelpful.
  • Emotions are contagious, so if you’re wanting to manage your anxiety be careful who you socialise with.
  • We want leaders to be real, but in crisis we want a calm leader to contain and hold their teams.
  • When we are overtaken by emotions or operate from a threat/response perspective, we can’t assume others are feeling the same things.
  • VUCA is the context in which we’re working in. For our wellbeing, we know that rest and recovery is important, but with technology, our work follows us wherever we go so it can be harder to disconnect from work.
  • There has to be a partnership between the individual and the workplace. We need to focus on how we support wellbeing at an individual, team and organisational level.
  • We need to see and know people for more than their work. Wellbeing needs to be in the bread and butter conversations, not just when times are tough. Are there, for instance, regular team check-ins? Do leaders role-model values? Do we have sick days or wellbeing days?
  • Well people equal better workplace productivity.
  • People develop internal thought patterns. Our brains are built to categorise information. When we’ve had a not great experience, we form unhelpful thinking patterns.
  • Every individual is important, we need to have a full tank to hold energy for others.
  • If your people are well, your business will do well.
  • Wellbeing should become integrated and sustained.
  • Wellbeing can be a channel to grow.



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