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.
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.