Queensland Future of Work Life: Mental Health and Wellbeing Focus
Work-life balance is normally described as the equilibrium between personal life and career. Work life is a concept introduced in the latest CCIQ Future of Work research, supported by the Australian Retirement Trust. It refers to the social and cultural aspects of work, how workers interact with employers and others in the working environment. It is an important addition as worker’s connection to the meaning and fulfilment of work is becoming increasingly more important, especially for upcoming generations while future work life for businesses will need to be inclusive, supportive and flexible to incorporate diversity needs of workers.
Impacts of COVID-19 brought to light the interrelated connection between work and well-being and we know from our own Pulse data, more than 60% of Queensland businesses reported mental health challenges attributed to COVID-19 stressors in December 2021.
The context of our recent findings is driven by the radical shifts accelerated by the globally unprecedented pandemic, but also the geo-political tensions of 2022, and the global net zero transition.
Mental Health and Wellness, a priority
Mental health and wellbeing support is the top concern in future work life for Queensland businesses, expected to have moderate to critical impacts on 70% of businesses surveyed.
“Mental health and well-being are an increasing area of health which needs to be supported - the major impacts include a larger proportion of a manager’s time devoted to supporting individuals in place of overseeing their work-related outputs which in turn can create added stress to other team members.”
From an agriculture and fishery medium business in the Sunshine Coast
Queensland businesses and their leaders clearly care about their employees and their well-being. Personal development and career development for staff, paid parental leave for all workers and disaster insurance and support for workers are cited amongst significant future work-life impacts.
“Mental health issues will continue to escalate. I have implemented a Telehealth EAP. Would love to see fully paid parental leave. Business already embraces gender and cultural and neuro diversity.”
From a health services small business in Brisbane
Further social support for workers will continue to be very important in the future.
Supporting inclusivity in the workplace
On top of the work life concerns mentioned above, Queensland business’ responses also suggested a strong emphasis of cultivating an inclusive and diverse culture at work. By accommodating workers of diverse needs, businesses can utilise their available workforce better, as well as gain competitiveness by recruiting and retaining their workers. In other words, support for workers can bring competitive advantages to businesses.
“The motivation of why employees come to work, how they are treated, how they manage mortgages and cost of living, what support for their development is provided will be a huge factor. Business will be implicated in the mitigation of climate and environment impacts, and be expected to drive local impact on community issues. Diversity and inclusion in the workforce will change the way business operates as we try to integrate work and life.”
A professional services micro-business in Brisbane
Sustainability a Future focus
Environmental footprints and sustainability were considered impactful to 42% of Queensland businesses surveyed.
“Increased need to manage carbon emissions is good however there needs to be recycling services/other options provided at the same time. Regional areas need more support to transport waste materials to recyclers. Waste is very expensive but currently can’t be avoided (e.g. tile offcuts could be separated and recycled but no service).”
A construction small business in Central Queensland
Through research we can observe that a businesses approach to sustainability influences its ability to attract and retain staff. It is therefore critical that all businesses of all sizes actively seek to implement sustainable business practices and engage their workforces in these processes.
Business Chamber Queensland is engaged in helping businesses attain their sustainability goals through the support of the free ecoBiz program.
Going forward – what the future of work-life looks like in Queensland
While many businesses have started to implement mental health support in their operating models, ongoing, accessible mental health support is needed across all business sizes, industries and regions in Queensland.
Supporting Queensland businesses to progress their sustainability journeys will provide both competitive advantages for the state, as well as alleviate the external environmental impacts on the state’s economy.
Queensland is currently positioned at a unique point in history, with opportunities on the horizon which will present significant growth and meaningful change to how we work and do business. We’re seeing opportunities for businesses from recovery and growth following the global pandemic, the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, including legacy initiatives and international trade.
There are also opportunities as the state transitions to a net-zero economy and adopts sustainable business practices along with how markets and consumers respond to those changes.