how is your day?

 A man and woman having coffee
 A man and woman having coffee

"Stressful! I feel like I'm running around like a headless chicken".

"Have you tried breathing exercises to reduce stress?"

In some offices, you have the sports, food, and social media buff. In my office, I feel like a mental health buff. 

When I see people eating lunch at their desks, I encourage them to go for a walk and get some fresh air. When someone tries to take work home with them, I tell them about the importance of work-life balance.

And when they seem overwhelmed, you bet I give them the "take a minute and refocus" conversation. 

When it comes down to it, the statistics on mental health are worrying. One in five people will struggle with their mental health at one point.

The reality was that most people in our organisation have either personally struggled or have supported a loved one who has faced mental health issues.

By making a month dedicated to our health & well-being, we were able to get the conversation started, make people aware of their triggers and provide our workforce with the strength to speak up without the stigma or judgement that can come.

As a Randstad's Diversity and Inclusion Council member, I was asked to participate in the project focused on Randstad's Health and Well-being Month. I was excited about the opportunity to create importance around health & well-being in the workplace.

I have a burning passion for helping people maintain a positive mindset at work; this was the platform needed to get the vital message across.

Yet, with 28 offices around Australia and almost 1,000 employees to get on board with my vision, it would be quite the challenge.

Here's what I learned during the month.

developing a theme each week of the month helped focus attention.

  • We planned to look at: Self Care, R U OK?, Mindfulness and Gratitude.

planning events helped create engagement.

  • I decided to create events around the country. The first? A fun run. They were getting everyone around the country to put on their joggers and hit the pavement with their colleagues to get away from the office and encourage conversations and exercise. As the day approached, I was more and more confident that the lack of response from those around me meant the month was a flop. But, at around 2 pm, after people in the Brisbane office had joined me outside, our internal message board was blowing up. Canberra, Sydney, Darwin, Logan, Adelaide. All our offices were getting involved!

let your people share their stories.

  • On R U OK? Every office had a morning tea to create awareness of the critical conversation we all forget to have. During the week, we focused on gratitude, and my colleagues were quick to nominate someone or something they are grateful for. In fact, over the whole experience, it was clear that people cared and genuinely wanted to be involved. 

takeaways from experience.

As the month went on, we had planned internally, and people continued to get involved in the activities. It quickly became apparent that people genuinely wanted to support and encourage each other. Having a positive mindset and a sense of well-being was essential to people at work

When we started this month, I doubted my ability to achieve action in such a large organisation. But with a supportive and understanding team, we all contributed to the month's success—this program aimed to foster an environment where people felt comfortable talking about mental health openly and freely.

Judging by the involvement and enthusiasm shown, we are well on this journey to creating a more inclusive and supportive workplace. 

If you want to learn more about inclusion and diversity in the workplace, contact Kerry McQuillian, our GM of Diversity and Inclusion. 


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about the author
A photo of Kerry McQuillan
A photo of Kerry McQuillan

kerry mcquillan

general manager of diversity and inclusion