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2024 Wellness at Work
Report

How do you feel about work right now? Productive? Stressed? Burnt out?

We’ll take a guess and say that however you’re feeling right now, current economic trends are an undertone of those feelings.

Slow economic growth, stubbornly high inflation, interest rates that just won’t come down, and a fluctuating unemployment rate is making it harder for businesses to operate and grow. And of course there’s talk of a possible recession on the table – again…

With so many factors at play, it’s clear we’re all feeling an unnerving mix of uncertainty and concern. They can significantly impact one’s sense of wellbeing, which can seep into every part of life – including work.

You may be in perfect physical health, but do you really feel well if you’re in financial distress? You may have a strong sense of occupational fulfilment, but if you don’t feel that you can authentically communicate with others, you might feel excluded. If you’re feeling this way, chances are your employees are too.

For additional support, you can access our Guide to Boosting Employee Mental Wellbeing, which offers valuable insights and strategies to help improve the mental health of your team.

The good news is, what employers do to support their employees’ wellness can make a big difference. By being informed about how your team is feeling, employers can make employees feel more supported, fight risks to their wellbeing, and improve overall happiness in every aspect of their lives.

Being informed and across the cold hard facts is the best place to start.

We spend, on average, one-third of our lives at work, which can be exhausting if our wellbeing isn’t supported. That’s why we surveyed over 1,000 workers from around Australia between 12 April to 1 May 2024.

We asked Australian workers about their mental health, how happy they are with their professional relationships, how comfortable they are talking to their manager about hairy topics, how they’re managing the current cost of living crisis, plus so much more.

For a deeper dive into how Covid-19 pandemic has specifically impacted workplace mental health, check out our comprehensive Impact of Covid-19 on Mental Health in the Workplace Report.

The results are essential reading for any business leader in 2024. While some results might surprise you, others are crystal clear. Our responses sit on a scale from worrying to insightful, with some pleasantly surprising results to round us out.

In the 2024 Wellness at Work report, we cover;

  • The important 2024 wellness headlines;
  • The wellness progress report: 2022 vs. 2024;
  • The great generational divide;
  • Mental health and an unstable world
  • How Aussies are holding up in a cost of living crisis
  • The prevailing sense of mateship at work
  • If Aussies and Kiwis differ or relate when it comes to wellness at work

We also offer a Wellness at Work Webinar where our panel discusses the key themes from this report and delves into the mental health of Australian and New Zealand workers.

Download the report now. 

Definition box:
What is burnout? If you’re unsure what constitutes burnout, Headspace defines it as the feeling of being “constantly exhausted, emotionally drained, unproductive, and unmotivated at work”.

Key findings

harmony
energy
balance

of employees have felt burnt out in the past 3 months due to work.

of employees are satisfied with the working relationships they have with their colleagues.

of Australians are satisfied with the working relationship they have with their manager.

of Boomers are happy with their overall mental health, compared to only 47% of Gen Z.

of Aussies feel uncomfortable talking to their manager about their mental health and wellness concerns.

of Australians are experiencing stress at least a few times a month or more.

The majority of Australians indicated that financial stress and the cost of living was by far the main source of stress in the last 3 months.

Fully remote employees have a greater sense of work-life balance and are overall happier with their mental health, compared to hybrid and on-site workers.

Over half of Gen Z are taking stress leave due to burnout, compared to one in five Boomers.

Women and Gen Z are the groups who are at the highest risk of burnout because of work.

Insights from Sanam Ahmadzadeh Salmani – Legal Counsel, Employment Hero

How can employers stay across psychosocial hazards in the workplace? “Employers can stay ahead of psychosocial hazards by fostering open communication. Regular check-ins and anonymous surveys with employees help identify industry-specific stressors. Developing a risk management plan, similar to those for physical hazards, allows for the assessment and control of these mental and emotional stressors. Implementing clear policies, alongside support resources like training and mental health programs, demonstrates a commitment to employee wellbeing. “By actively managing psychosocial hazards, employers can cultivate a happier, more productive workforce with reduced conflict and a stronger sense of belonging.”
photo of Sanam Ahmadzadeh Salmani
Sanam Ahmadzadeh Salmani Legal Counsel, Employment Hero

Insights from Shelley Johnson – Founder of Leadership and HR agency, Boldside

“If we want a high-performing organisation in the long term, we can’t overlook people’s wellness at work. Being well and performing well go hand in hand. We can’t have one without the other. “One trend we see in healthy and high-performing organisations is that they’ve created a psychologically safe environment where employees can speak up. Employees feel safe asking for help, acknowledging when they are struggling, and openly discussing their wellbeing. “It’s no surprise that these same organisations have made 1:1 employee meetings a priority. They recognise that employee engagement and wellbeing are intrinsically linked to their relationship with their manager. So, they’ve made regular 1:1 check-ins a non-negotiable, knowing that these check-ins are one of the best ways to build healthy, psychologically safe relationships at work. As the report suggests, 41% of employees are looking for more time with their manager, so if you want to improve wellbeing and engagement in your workplace, my advice would be to start there.”
photo of Shelley Johnson
Shelley Johnson Founder of Leadership and HR agency, Boldside

Insights from Rob Dunn – Managing Director (Swag), Employment Hero

“Costs of living pressures continue to grow for everyone, both here and abroad. At Employment Hero, we increasingly hear that employees are under financial stress and feeling unsupported by their employers. “Employers are clearly concerned about their employees’ wellbeing and are struggling to balance supporting their teams with the financial pressures on their businesses. In the current environment, employers are looking to offer meaningful benefits beyond salary to increase impact, value, and engagement. Perks like Earned Wage Access, exclusive discounts on essentials, and financial wellness programs can significantly enhance employees’ financial security and overall wellbeing.”

For further understanding of employee perspectives, our Australian Employee Expectations Report provides insights into what influences job acceptance and resignation decisions.

photo of Rob Dunn
Rob Dunn Managing Director (Swag) Employment Hero

Methodology and sample profile

The findings in this report have been determined from a survey organised by Employment Hero. The 10 minute online quantitative survey was deployed using the QuestionPro platform, and survey responses were collected from Australian-based respondents. To complete the survey, respondents had to be employed in any capacity (full-time, part time, casual, fixed-term) and not own the business they worked in. In total there were 1020 survey participants and the survey collected responses between 12 April to 1 May 2024.

For a visual aid to help identify mental health struggles in the workplace, consider our Mental Health ‘Know the Signs’ Poster, which can be displayed in common areas to raise awareness.

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