It’s Mental Health Week which gives us an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of mental health and well-being in the workplace. CTC recognises it has a leadership role in advocating best practice and innovation in well-being to our tenants and our stakeholders.
Mental health is a very important concern for those running organisations. Under workplace health and safety legislation employers have a statutory duty to ensure that their workplaces do not cause mental health issues. Employee Assistance schemes are one thing, but in terms of duty of care, employers will be asked to demonstrate that they have a culture that encourages both physical and mental well-being.
Listed below are some examples of how CTC supports good mental health on our precinct to both our staff, and also those of our tenants.
Taking regular leave is paramount to health and safety as well as well-being. In addition to statutory requirements, CTC provides two days additional “well-being leave” per annum. Recognising the adage “the more we give, the happier we feel”, CTC staff may take an additional two days leave per annum to volunteer for a registered charity.
Regular breaks outside of lunch can be beneficial to workplace productivity. A worker who has had a sleepless night because of a young baby in the house can be a safety hazard at work. CTC staff may take a sleep break of up to 20 minutes duration per day in our “5R’s” Room.
CTC provides a room where research, reading, rest and quiet reflection can take place. This doubles as a meditation room, contains our Well-being Library and is a rest zone. The 5R’s Room is available to both our staff and those of our tenants.
CTC staff are provided with the opportunity to learn mindfulness and meditation training is provided to all staff. Those using the 5R’s room for meditation may take up to ten minutes break without the need to pay back this time.
There is a now a great body of research that says exercise is good for mental health. CTC has a fully equipped gym that is available to all workers whether they are employed by CTC itself or a tenant. For a minimal joining fee (currently set at $60 per annum), workers can access the gym 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Employee Assistance Program
CTC provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for use by CTC staff members and their immediate family. This cost is met by CTC for up to 3 consultations per year.
Having a good work-life balance is essential to physical and mental well-being. The provision of a workplace ‘bonus’ worth $500 per annum is one way that CTC advocates creating a healthy balance. In summary CTC will reimburse up to half the expenditure incurred by a staff member in purchasing movie or theatre tickets, holidays, family entertainment, massage etc.
For more information about CTC’s worker health and well-being initiatives, visit our dedicated website www.buildfitness.me.
Working in hot and/or humid environments is not only uncomfortable, it can also result in heat-related illness, which can be fatal. Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, but it’s important to identify the warning signs and to react swiftly and appropriately when they arise.
For this reason, managing heat was chosen as the topic for CTC’s latest Safety Seminar held on Wednesday, 30th August in Hot Leasing.
First up was Zach du Preez, A/Principal Advisor – Occupational Hygiene – Workplace Health & Safety Queensland who explained how to identify and assess the risk of heat stress. It is important to consider:-
What are the workplace conditions? Consider humidity, surface temperatures, exposure period, reflective surfaces, hot plant etc.
What are the job requirements? How complex, how heavy is the work, how regular are the breaks, are there shady areas, what are the PPE requirements?
What are the individual worker attributes? Are they used to this type of work? Do they have a pre-existing medical condition? Would they know the signs of heat stress?
Workplace Health & Safety Queensland have an on-line tool to assist in identifying and assessing the risk of heat stress Heat Stress Basic Calculator Test. Control measures must be implemented when the risk of a heat related illness is assessed as high. For more information from Workplace Health & Safety Queensland about managing heat exposure, visit their website.
Zach finished with a scenario about a worker who suffered the affects of heat stress. He mentioned how the symptoms of heat stress can easily be confused with those of a heart attack. In the last 5 years, there have been over 200 reported incidents of heat stress, 22 of which resulted in serious injury or death.
The second presenter was Di A-Izzeddin, Operations Manager & Director of 4cRisk Pty Ltd. 4cRisk has developed a program to help identify and manage heat related risks. Like the previous speaker, Di stressed the importance of considering environmental and physiological aspects in addition to air temperature when managing the risk of heat stress.
Engineering controls can include fans, thermal blanketing etc. Physiological controls could include educating workers to drink sufficient fluids to stay adequately hydrated. There are tools available to measure hydration levels. Making electrolyte replacements available is a good control measure. Our bodies are designed to regulate heat, but other factors can make it difficult to maintain a safe temperature (as described above).
To finish, Di stressed the importance of workplaces implementing a robust program that takes into consideration all factors that contribute to heat related illness.
The final presentation was a practical demonstration from Charmaine Streeter and Tracy McLean from Queensland Health’s Clinical Skills Development Service. Using “volunteers” from the audience, they demonstrated how to identify the signs and symptoms and apply first aid for the 3 levels of heat-related illness.
Signs/symptoms – painful muscle cramps and spasms usually in legs and abdomen, heavy sweating
Treatment – Move to cooler place, apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gently massage to relieve spasm; give sips of water unless the person complains of nausea, then stop giving water.
Signs/symptoms – faint or dizzy, excessive sweating, cool pale clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, rapid, weak pulse, muscle cramps
Treatment – Get to cooler air conditioned place, lie down, loosen clothing, cool by fanning, drink water if fully conscious, take a cool shower or use cold compresses.
Signs/symptoms – throbbing headache, no sweating, body temperature above 40 degrees C, red hot dry skin, nausea or vomiting, rapid strong pulse, may lose consciousness.
Treatment – Emergency – call 000. Take immediate action to cool the person until help arrives.
CTC has launched a room which is available to all workers at the precinct where research, reading, rest and quiet reflection can take place in a private, quiet environment free from the stresses of the office or training room. Located next to the Build Fitness Gym on Level 1 of the Ian Barclay Building, the 4R’s Room doubles as a meditation room, a rest zone and also contains our library of well-being and management books.
We live in a fast-paced world, particularly the world of business, where 24/7 connectivity has fast become the norm. Workers are meant to be problem-solving and helping to grow our enterprises in a socially and environmentally responsible way throwing in lashings of creativity as they do so.
For many this occasions the sort of negative stress not conducive to positive physical or mental health. Management researchers and leading-edge managers now recognize that workplace wellness (as opposed to the previous overwhelming concentration on safety) is a key issue in managing people in the 21st Century.
What the 4Rs concept does is provide a quiet place where mental and ‘spiritual’ development can happen alongside the physical component which is addressed next door in the Buildfitness 24/7 gym. CTC has already conducted Precinct-wide mindfulness training and the 4Rs room is an ideal location for some meditation or quiet reflection associated with mindfulness. The research on the benefits of mindfulness and meditative practice in the workplace is now without question.
Often we get so embroiled in the minutiae of our jobs that we fail to look up to take a more critical or lateral perspective. In an age of ‘data’ staff often make decisions and take actions based on feelings or their “vain brain” without a good theoretical or research-based underpinning. Some will cite many years of experience as the basis upon which decisions are made. This does not enable effective decision-making. Many take decisions with little or no sound under-pinning because of the fast environment in which they find themselves. Indeed many managers are still not across EQ and neuroscience which can explain poor decisions based on unconscious bias or the “deceitful brain”.
To this end a library of management textbooks and latest journals are available in the 4Rs Room to enable staff and managers to browse or borrow to improve their understanding of the art and science of management. The 4Rs room provides a quiet space to read these texts. CTC subscribes to many journals as a feature of the range of activities we undertake and these are made available to borrow for the benefit of the whole Precinct.
CTC was recognised at the 2016 Queensland Safe Work & Return to Work Awards at a gala breakfast on 18th October winning the Best workplace & wellbeing initiative for its “Whole-hearted-you” program.
CTC’s health and well-being initiative known as “Whole-hearted-you” was developed to assist our own staff and enable tenants to provide programs to improve the health and well-being of their staff. CTC’s 30+ tenants are mostly small business operators who don’t have the wherewithal to provide such opportunities to their staff. This allows not only CTC staff to benefit from the programs we have initiated but also provides tenant’s employees the opportunity to participate in initiatives generally only available to the ‘bigger end of town’ because they can be expensive and time-consuming to run.
A lot of thought was put into the concept that underlies “Whole-hearted-you” – wanting to focus on the whole person and not only the physical aspect. “Whole-hearted you” includes five elements: mind, body, soul, self and heart. When all five are in balance there is the prospect of wholeheartedness.
The strapline “Whole-hearted-you” was created to embrace this philosophy. Activities offered to support our tenant workers to live and function at their best include:
To increase physical activity:
A fully equipped onsite gymnasium that is available 24/7 to eligible tenant staff – annual membership $60
Free weekly group fitness sessions led by a qualified fitness instructor
Free weekly boxing fit sessions led by a qualified fitness instructor
Showers, lockers, bicycle racks to encourage physical activity
To maintain a healthy weight:
Free Bioscan body measurements
Free Friday Blood Pressure checks
Scales provided in the gym
To improve social and emotional wellbeing:
Dedicated website/social media presence featuring healthy lifestyle tips, recipes, advice and encouragement
Onsite Mindfulness training paid for by CTC
Dedicated meditation room
Free seated massages available to tenant staff
Extensive lending library of health and lifestyle books and magazines
Monthly lunchtime lectures on range of management and wellbeing topics
Employee Assistance Program – CTC staff only
To eat healthier:
On-site café with healthy food options
Kilojoule calculations (done by nutritionist) displayed for all food sold by café
To quit smoking:
FLiCK-OFF – quit smoking program in conjunction with QuitLine.
To stay healthy:
Free annual skin, flu jabs and hearing tests
Sun Smart stations providing free sunscreen and application advice
On Thursday, 24th March 2016, The Construction Training Centre (CTC) launched Build Fitness – a gym that can be accessed 24/7 by all eligible workers who are employed at the centre.
Build Fitness builds on other worker well-being initiatives implemented by CTC such as group fitness sessions, health screening, healthy options at the cafe and quit smoking support. These are offered free to all workers employed by the 30+ tenants at the Centre – currently around 200 people.
The 24/7 gym was the vision of CTC’s CEO Phil Diver who understands the physical, mental and emotional benefits to employees as well as long-term financial benefits to the employer.
Workplace health and safety legislation obliges employers to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their workers. Much of the focus is about safety, however the distinction between work and non-work related illness and disease is becoming less clear.
Broadening the scope of workplace health and safety to include health and well-being can provide significant benefits to business and safety performance.
When a room became available in CTC’s office building, Phil resisted the temptation to put in a tenant and instead converted the space to a compact gym that would address the increasingly sedentary habits of many workers at CTC and add value to the traditional tenant/landlord relationship.
“Build Fitness assists our tenant partners to provide healthy lifestyle opportunities and services for everyone in their workplace – at no cost to their business”, Phil said.
Brand new equipment was installed including a rowing machine, treadmill, cross-trainer, bike, vibration platform, weights and other small fitness apparatus.
To enable 24/7 access, security was upgraded and various safety features were installed including a duress button, CCTV and a defibrillator.
Members must participate in an induction with CTC’s approved fitness instructor before given access to the gym. Members pay a small annual amenity fee – currently $60. When you consider this is only $5 a week, it’s a small price to pay for the convenience of a gym at the workplace.
CTC put a lot of thought into the concept that underlies the gym wanting to focus on the whole person and just not the physical aspect. There is no better reflection of their thinking than the Build Fitness logo. It is, after all, like the shop window and it provides an idea of ‘what’s inside the tin’.
“We recognise what the research tells us that if you want to be fully healthy there are five elements to this: body, mind, spirt (soul), self and heart. When all five are satisfied there is the prospect of wholeheartedness”, Phil said.
Dealing with each of these elements in turn.
Body – many workers lead sedentary lives. A 24/7 gym available at work allows employers to give their workers the opportunity to avail themselves of facilities that are the perfect antidote to an unhealthy work environment. At CTC a collaborative leasing model enables tenants to feel part of a bigger whole. In the same way as the Café is regarded a facility that tenants make available to their staff, so too is the gym a facility for all CTC Precinct employees.
Mind – mental health is a very important concern for those running organisations. Under workplace health and safety legislation employers have a statutory duty to ensure that their workplaces do not cause mental health issues. The gym has a role to play here as there is a now a great body of research that says that exercise is good for mental health.
Spirit/Soul – Spirit is about the way in which you do things e.g. in a positive spirit. A positive spirit comes from a positive mind-frame and this is definitely made easier by being physically healthy. Spirit is also that inner feeling of peace or calmness. It is the inner yearning and quite often what makes us want to improve or transform in terms of our careers, our abundance and our relationships our lives.
Self – self-image is a very critical component of our mental health. Our self-worth is often linked to self-image and this can be recalibrated through seeing improvements in one’s physical appearance. Self is the whole package and it is where the mind, body and soul reside as one.
Heart – when thinking of fitness the heart is often what we think of first and it is true that Build Fitnessdoes have a good range of cardio equipment to elevate the heart rate. Heart has other meanings including the centre and courage, determination or hope. Build Fitness is likely to become somewhat of a hub or centre within the Precinct with those involved showing determination and hope in improving physical and mental well-being. Heart is also about love and love of self.
When all these five elements are working together there is potential for whole-heartedness, or a “whole-hearted-you” – the strap-line for the Build Fitness brand.
We have put a lot of thought into the concept that underlies the gym wanting to focus on the whole person and just not the physical aspect. There is no better reflection of our thinking than the logo. It is, after all, like our shop window and it provides an idea of ‘what’s inside the tin’. Indeed it’s on our shop window!
The logo draws on our CTC colour-bar which is part of our corporate look. Fortuitously the colours on our colour-bar lend themselves easily to broader interpretation. We didn’t just want it to be about physical fitness. We recognise what the research tells us that if you want to be fully healthy there are five elements to this: mind, body, soul, self and heart. When all five are satisfied there is the prospect of wholeheartedness. Whole heartedness has a couple of meanings. It means to go at something with gusto in a sincere and complete way, as well as a sense of well-being. Both apply equally to what we are about. When researching the colours we found that they aligned to the under-pinning philosophy of our fitness centre.
Dealing with each in turn.
Physical well-being is a logical place to start. Many of us on the CTC Precinct live sedentary lives. Worse than this our out of work activities have also taken on a distinctly sedentary flavour e.g. sitting and watching Foxtel and Netflix. Our weekend of sport these days might well be watching it on telly.
With a 24/7 gym available at work employers will be able to say that their employees were given the opportunity to avail themselves of facilities that are recognised as being the perfect antidote to an unhealthy work environment. At CTC we provide a collaborative leasing model and enable our tenants to feel part of a bigger whole. In the same way as the Café can be regarded as a facility that they our tenants make available to their staff so too is the gym a facility for all CTC Precinct employees. Harvard School of Public Health now believes that healthier people are happier and as a result are healthier. It is a continual feedback mechanism. Happier people will suffer fewer colds and less heart disease as a result. What better gift to give your workforce than fewer colds and less chronic heart disease!
When we think of fitness the heart is often what we think of first and it is true that Build Fitness does have a good range of cardio equipment to get the heart racing. We are also including other aids to assist in getting a good view of your heart health like charts and a blood pressure monitor. A heart rate monitor will be available in the centre for those who wish to monitor their heart during some of their exercise program.
Heart, of course, has other meanings including the centre and courage, determination or hope. Each has an applicable meaning for what we are trying to do with Build Fitness. The gym is likely to become somewhat of a hub or centre within the Precinct with those involved with it showing determination (and in my case at least) hope in improving our physical and mental well-being. Heart is lastly about love and love of self and self-image are all issues that are important with respect to physical and mental wellness.
Mental health is a very important concern for those running organisations. Under workplace health and safety legislation employers have a statutory duty to ensure that their workplaces do not cause mental health issues. Employee Assistance schemes are one thing, but in terms of duty of care, employers will be asked to demonstrate that they had a culture that encouraged both physical and mental well-being. The gym has a role to play here as well. There is a now a great body of research that says that exercise is good for mental health.
Long-term chronic stress affects the brain. If your staff is suffering stress there is a duty of care to know about it and to have in place a range of measures that can help the employee confront it and get it under control. The old adage of ‘suck it up’ is no longer defensible.
There is another consideration to stress in the workplace and that it is contagious. There is a belief in neuroscience that says ‘I stress, you stress, we stress.’ This sheets itself straight back to efficiency and productivity. A recent study by St Louis University found that ‘second-hand’ stress is very real and can be passed on through things like tone of voice, facial expressions, posture and even odour.
This can be a problematic one because it gets confused with religion and that is not what we are talking about in terms of spirit. Here we can ascribe two meanings. Spirit is about the way in which you do things e.g. in a positive spirit. A positive spirit comes from a positive mind-frame and this is definitely made easier by being physically healthy. Spirit is also that inner feeling of peace or calmness. It is the inner yearning and quite often what makes us want to improve or transform in terms of our careers, our abundance and our relationships our lives.
Supporting our Build Fitness approach is an initiative we are calling Alert@Work. This will require all CTC staff undergoing mindfulness training with the aim of ensuring we can be in the moment, less distracted by the ever increasing distractions of the modern workplace e.g. open plan offices, endless emails, texts, tweets on Twitter etc. Being situationally aware which is one of the key aims of our mindfulness training arising from meditation will improve the delivery of services to our customers and make the Precinct a safer place. Build Fitness, especially through the website (www.buildfitness.me) will explore some of the traditional and emerging philosophies that might create a pathway for those interested in exploring the transformational possibilities of such modalities.
Self-image is a very critical component of our mental health. Our self-worth is often linked to self- image and this can be recalibrated through seeing improvements in one’s physical appearance. It’s no surprise that we looked hard to find ‘friendly’ mirrors to help those in training feel good about the journey they are on. Self is the whole package and it is where the mind body and soul reside as one. Some say people glow when they feel good about themselves and pregnant women are a prime example of this. Others see auras around people. This is merely the physical energy given off by people who have fabulous self-esteem who are self-assured and selfless. Without doubt the focus on self is the opposite of narcissism and more about improvement. The narcissists love themselves because of their faults. The self-assured love themselves despite their faults.
The Whole-hearted You
Where the ‘You’ fits in is how all this gets integrated to be of value and to provide the potential for wholeheartedness. It’s true that regular or semi-regular attendance at Build Fitness will not, of itself, create a self-actualising person. There is much more needed to create the transformation that is often required to make this happen. But the environment we are looking to create where ideas beyond just the physical are promoted does give those looking for more some sense of where they might go to develop the other components inn their life. The first of this is integrative health. This is more likely to be found in complimentary medicine, or alternative therapies e.g. acupuncture, kinesiology, naturopathy, massage, reflexology, reiki etc.
We are looking to partner with a range of local providers including the obvious mainstream allied health providers e.g. physiotherapist, dietitian etc. to provide a portal to a more complete and integrated approach to your physical and mental well-being. The details of these partners will be made available in the Build Fitness Gym and on the website.
If you just want to exercise for fitness and fun then Build Fitness is a great place to come. It is safe and non-judgemental. It involves many different people from our community. If you are seeking more then just maybe the thread you follow will be stimulated through joining build fitness and you can truly become who hearted.
CTC achieved Bronze recognition today from Workplace Health & Safety Queensland for our workplace wellness program called “Healthy Inside & Out”. This recognition status demonstrates our ongoing commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of all workers employed by the various tenants at the CTC precinct.
Read about our Worker Wellness program.
What was the reason for implementing a Worker Wellness program? The Construction Training Centre (CTC) is a resource hub for the building and construction industry. We play host to a broad range of training and commercial organisations where our tenants, partners, workers and staff are part of an industry based community. As a way of giving back to industry we offer free health and well-being activities to all workers employed by the various tenants at CTC.
Who does our program target?
CTC manages a precinct where we have approximately 30 tenants, employing around 200 people. Workers are a mixture of trainers (often former tradies) and support staff. Our health and well-being program is offered to all workers here at our precinct.
What has been included in our program?
Group fitness sessions suitable for all levels of fitness offered twice a week
Quit Smoking support in association with Quitline
Subsidised healthy menu options from café
Health and wellbeing section included as standard item in tenant newsletters – includes healthy recipes, fitness and weight loss tips etc.
Healthy catering at breakfast seminars
Bathroom upgrades (improved shower facilities) to encourage workers to exercise before work
Installation of bicycle racks
Everything is offered at no cost to workers.
What resources from other organisations have we accessed?
Workplace Health & Safety Queensland’s Healthier Happier Workplace funding; Queensland Cancer Council QUEST resources; Queensland Health QuitLine.
CTC is proud of what we’ve achieved so far – this recognition demonstrates our commitment to employee health and welling. We look forward to continuing our program and implementing other initiatives to improve the health and wellbeing of all workers employed at the CTC precinct.
Suicide among construction workers has become a growing concern over the past decade and this year, Lifting Skills, with the support of MATES in Construction are Flying a Flag for the cause.
MATES in Construction is a charity that was established in 2008 to reduce the growing level of suicides in the Australian construction industry.
The organisation is based on the idea that “suicide is everyone’s business” and that it is the role of everyone in the construction industry to improve the mental health and well-being of workers, and reduce the number of suicides.
This year 252 construction sites, offices and workplaces are Flying the Flag for MIC as a sign of their commitment to playing their part to reduce the number of suicides in construction.
On the 10th of September 2015, Lifting Skills, a tenant of CTC, will Fly a Flag off one of their cranes in support of the cause.
Matt Shuker, General Manager of Lifting Skills Brisbane believes that getting involved was of high priority for their company.
“CTC is a large site, with lots of people from all over the construction industry. I think it’s a great way to spread the word about such an important issue”, he said.
When asked why he thought the issue was of such high importance, he had a great deal to say.
“People in construction are often isolated in their working environments and are away from their friends and families for 3-4 weeks at a time, and it gets to them. Sometimes when they come back on their time off, there are a lot of people around, which is really confronting. It’s a lonely process,” he said.
“Traditionally construction is full of grumpy men, and when someone is already feeling lost and everyone around them is acting tough and grumpy, it makes it difficult to speak up,” he said.
“I had a personal experience where I helped a close work colleague who was dealing with mental health issues, and I saw first hand what can happen. He’s doing really well now, which I think is great,” he said.
Matt also had some ideas on what more could be done to support the cause.
“There need to be regular forums in a relaxed environment where everyone starts to feel comfortable talking about their issues,” he said. “MATES in Construction enable that to happen”.
CTC will also be flying a flag in their office to show their support.
Lifting Skills will host a BBQ on the day, where all gold coin donations will go directly to MIC.
Today CTC conducted free flu vaccinations as a part of the company’s Worker Well-Being Program. The Worker Well-Being Program, called Healthy Inside and Out was initiated to improve the health and well-being of all employees on the CTC site.
Today a nurse set up in the campus first aid room and provided employees from across the precinct with their free flu vaccinations. Although it is very rare for people to actually enjoy needles, workers seem to be walking out with smiles on their faces – although that might have something to do with the free lollipop at the end!
The flu shots are provided by Wesley Health Promotion, who also conducted routine skin checks for us last month. According to Wesley, the influenza virus causes 3 to 7 sick days on average, at a cost of $160 – $240 per day. CTC is taking an active role in trying to reduce this number by offering this free service to our tenants’ staff.
Not only does this initiative benefit the organisation by reducing the level of lost productivity and cost of sick pay, it also benefits the employees by encouraging a happier, healthier lifestyle. It could also stop CTC CEO Phil Diver from coming down with another case of the ‘man flu’!
The team at CTC are constantly coming up with new ideas to improve the health of employees. In fact, just over lunch today Phil mentioned his plan to add more greenery to the office in order to enhance the Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ). It is a simple truth that a high IEQ will improve the health, comfort, and productivity of employees.
It is important for an organisation to make a conscious effort to keep its employees healthy. Healthy employees mean a healthy business; the lower the number of sick days that employees have to take, the higher the level of productivity in the business.
CTC’s Healthy Inside and Out Initiative encourages employees to accept care that they may not normally make the effort to do so outside of the workplace. After the skin checks that were conducted last month, it turned out that two tenant staff needed to seek immediate follow-up attention by their GP in order to prevent anything more serious from developing. It is a relieving thought that CTC provides such services that can make a significant improvement to the health of employees across the precinct.
In starting the Health and Well-being Program and encouraging its growth, CTC will continue to be a healthy and happy place to work.
On Monday this week, Wesley Health Promotion conducted free skin checks for CTC workers. This was an initiative from our Worker Wellbeing Program called Healthy Inside & Out. As well as a skin check, we were provided with this helpful fact sheet about what to look for when we notice a freckle, mole or lump that is changing in size, shape or colour.