On Wednesday, IComm Account Director Billy Colosimo hosted a Workplace Wellbeing event. Billy had this idea to have a well-known guest speaker come in, Wayne Schwass, because he thought that what Wayne has to say is something that everyone should hear - regardless of whether or not it applies to technology!
Wayne is well-known for a myriad of reasons, including the fact that he is a LEGEND of Aussie Rules Footy, but the most pertinent to this post being his recent testimony at the Royal Commission on the Victorian Mental Health System. Wayne spoke about how he hid his long battle with depression for over 12 years from the people he spent the most time with - his work mates, his team mates at the North Melbourne Football Club. His experience not only in sport, but also in corporate sales with Telstra for 7 years, gives him a unique perspective on the importance of holistic workplace wellbeing. His work as the CEO of Puka Up, an organisation he founded, means that he now spends his working life encouraging people to "Think. Feel. And Communicate."
In today's society, stress is a reality, not something only a select few feel the pinch of. We need to be intentional about how we manage workplace wellbeing, including how we manage mental health. In fact, because most of us spend 8 hours a day at work, the bulk of our waking hours - the two are inextricably connected. Looking to improve wellbeing, while not being prepared to have honest conversations about mental health, simply just won't cut it.
Mentally healthy workplaces are positive and productive. They are environments where people want to come to work. They can play a large role in promoting and maintaining our mental health and wellbeing. Research shows that mentally healthy workers are more productive and less likely to take sick leave.
Here are some great clips (only a tiny taste!) of some the great things that Wayne had to share.
Wayne Schwass played AFL for 14 years with North Melbourne and the Sydney Swans, and is now a highly regarded football commentator. He is the founder and former CEO of The Sunrise Foundation, launched after he was one of the first footballers to speak openly about depression. Wayne is no stranger to corporate life, including the stress, as he worked in a corporate sales role with Telstra for 7 years. Wayne’s passion for health and wellbeing ultimately drew him back to mental health advocacy – and it was this same passion that led him to create Puka Up.
Launched in 2017, Puka Up is a social enterprise focusing on mental health, emotional wellbeing and, importantly, suicide prevention. The Puka Up vision is to create the environments for every person to have authentic and genuine conversations about mental health and emotional wellbeing. Coming soon, they will have workplace wellbeing workshops and programs, so definitely reach out if you feel your organisation would benefit from programs like that.