Celebrating Difference

The Australian workplace is changing at a rapid pace as we navigate towards global market trends and the process of working together with First Nations people and the inclusion of multi-cultural, gender diversity together with a growing ageing workforce.

Our business leaders can no longer afford to overlook diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The challenge to organisations is the 'how to' effectively harness and embrace the richness of difference in a way that generates wide ranging solutions and boosts the wellbeing of staff. The current workforce is looking to their leaders to ensure all employees are considered when programs and opportunities are offered - that unique strengths and struggles are taken into consideration.

What do we mean by diversity and inclusion? Diversity means all the ways we differ, all the ways we are unique. This includes, for example, cultural heritage, gender, sexuality, age, physical and mental ability. Some of these differences we are born with and cannot change. Inclusion puts the concept and practice of diversity into action by creating an environment of involvement, respect and connection where the richness of ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives are harnessed to create business value. Organisations need both diversity and inclusion to be successful.

For more information, ask about Newport & Wildman's Diversity and Inclusion training today.

Our Diversity & Inclusion Training provides information to enhance understanding of the diverse nature of the workplace and how individual differences can be harnessed to foster healthy working relationships. Participants explore practical ways that organisations and individuals can embrace diversity and foster an inclusive culture, where employees feel a sense of belonging and common purpose.

Awareness Days and Resources

8th March - International Women's Day

15-21st March - Harmony Week

21st March - Harmony Day

National LGBTI Health Alliance
Inclusive Language Guide: Respecting people of intersex, trans and gender diverse experience 

Learn how to use inclusive language in a respectful way with this Inclusive Language Guide

Universal Music UK
Creative Differences: A handbook for embracing neurodiversity in the creative industries

Learn about neurodiversity, which refers to the infinite variation in cognitive functioning that can lead to differences in thinking, attention and memory. The handbook explores the experiences of people with specific facets of neurodiversity such as ASD, ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and Tourette Syndrome.

Alison Keleher, Director, Newport & Wildman

 
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Harmony Week 2020

Harmony Week on the 15th-21st of March, celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity. It’s about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone. Harmony Day which falls on the 21st of March coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

With around 45 per cent of Australians born overseas or with at least one parent who was, Harmony Week has always been a popular way for workplaces to showcase and acknowledge their cultural diversity. Celebrating Harmony Week can take any form you wish – big or small, simple or challenging. Events can be a simple multicultural morning tea or a guest speaker at an all staff meeting. It creates an opportunity to think, talk about and recognise how our differences and our similarities make our workplace stronger.

For more information see the Harmony Week Website.

At Newport & Wildman, we will be celebrating with Harmony Day lunches across all of our offices where everyone brings a dish on their designated day and shares the background behind it. It is such a wonderful opportunity to learn something new about your colleagues and of course try some amazing food!

Harmony Week

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Seeking Diversity - a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP

Newport & Wildman is proudly part of AccessEAP. This month we have a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP.

Imagine that your number one priority is to hire a new recruit at your organisation. 100s of applications land of your desk. You immediately throw away every second CV without looking at it. Why would you disregard half of your potential recruits without even assessing their skills?

If this was 1920, not 2020, you would have been seen as a manager with the right mindset. It would have been common to omit applications based on gender. Only men have the right abilities for the world of business – according to early 20th century management training. So you ignore half of the potential workforce!

From the 21st century, this thinking looks archaic. So strange it would almost be funny. So we are better than that now, we want to believe. And yet not always. Women hold 14.1% of chair positions and 26.8% of directorships, and represent 17.1% of CEOs and 31.5% of key management personnel1. 34.0% of boards and governing bodies have no female directors. By contrast, only 0.9% had no male directors2.

With International Women’s Day on the 8th of March and Each for Equal as the theme. “An equal world is an enabled world. How will you help forge a gender equal world? Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.” I ask myself “how am I doing as a business leader?”.

Research shows that companies continue to exhibit bias by hiring based on privilege, school, skin colour, postcode, ethnicity and religion. While there is anti-discrimination legislation in place, it is almost impossible to prove that particular candidates were hired over others based on ethnicity, religion or gender. Some female dominated industries are hard for men to break in to, so gender bias runs both ways.

For every person we ignore based on these reductive categories, we miss employing, working with, or becoming friends with a broader pool of Australian society.

The benefits of working with a broad range of people mean organisations avoid groupthink - the tendency of groups to make decisions based on the shared worldview of the participants. US automakers experienced groupthink which kept them focused on large vehicles which historically sold well. But they were blindsided as other countries designed fuel efficient cars when oil prices rose in the 1970s. Working with diverse teams shows that there are other means of getting to unexpected results. When we realise that our way is not the only way, this encourages us to challenge our thinking and find better ways.

AccessEAP sees the importance of hiring from diverse groups. Our staff room is an amazing mix of backgrounds, beliefs and experiences. When interviewing, I want to know what our candidates think and how that can bring more to our clients and customers. Having such a diverse team has been a conscious decision so that our clients get the best possible range of professionals with the broadest world view to work with.

With diversity also come challenges, the different ways of seeing, thinking and responding can lead to issues with communication and culture. We recognise the need to prepare, upskill and support our managers and leaders to work on engagement with their teams and set us up for success. Across the business, our teams meet regularly to discuss how our workplace is changing. Our staff undergoes annual professional development within their own disciplines, sharing the new knowledge and insights gained with their peers. We are focused on expanding our horizons to create a rich and exciting workplace reflecting the diversity of the Australian workforce.

Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

[1] WGEA 2020, Data Explorer https://www.wgea.gov.au/data/fact-sheets/gender-workplace-statistics-at-a-glance

[2] WGEA 2019, Australia's Gender Equality Scorecard https://www.wgea.gov.au/data/fact-sheets/gender-workplace-statistics-at-a-glance

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Taking on 2020, what your EAP can do for you

While it might feel as if 2019  has just wound up, we are already in March of 2020. How did that come around so fast?

This may have felt like a strange, and at times tense, summer in Australia. Some people are coming back to work feeling more exhausted than when they went on holiday. Whether you are a community directly impacted by fires or somewhere kilometres from it all but seeing the impact on the news, it has been the overarching story of the new decade. 

This is a time to get to know your community and to look after each other. Being mutually supportive at this time of year can help us to get back into the swing of life.  As well as being there for colleagues and friends, helping other people is a great technique of self care. We get an emotional boost when we are kind to others and when we offer support to others – it makes us feel connected, and strengthening social bonds allows us to draw on the support from others when we feel personally or professionally overwhelmed.

Newport & Wildman are part of your professional community. We offer 24-hour phone counselling if you feel that you are in a crisis, as well as providing face to face counselling at a few days notice. The ability to share your worries can help you to gain perspective and find solutions, and as your organisation allows you to have access to multiple sessions with a counsellor each year, we can provide an outlet valve for the stresses that modern workplaces can bring. As many of us try to balance multiple responsibilities including carer roles it is helpful to remember that Newport & Wildman is part of the network that is here to support you in supporting those around you.

Work stress often starts small – restless nights, feeling uncharacteristically snappy, or blue. Being on the lookout for changes in how you feel before they become significant can make it easier to address problems. Making contact with a Newport & Wildman counsellor earlier can make returning to normal smoother. And if there are issues that are impacting on your organisation, we also provide training to organisations on a range of issues. We have training which can be delivered to your organisation or by webinar, with topics like Resilience through Change, Managing Challenging Behaviours, and Burnout and Compassion Fatigue. We offer direct support for managers who are holding teams together, by phone and in-person as needed through our Manager Support Hotline.

If you work in a profession which is dedicated to helping other people it often means we put looking after ourselves second to looking after others. However, you will support those around you, colleagues and community better if you are emotionally healthy. Pre-emptively taking action to avoid burnout isn’t just the healthy option for you – it can be a requirement for many industries as well.

Please remember to look after yourself, as you care for those around you.

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Being Courageous

As 2020 kicks off and we head into February, I have set myself a challenge to have more constructive conversations. From time to time we all encounter situations where we dislike a person’s behaviour and we feel we need to say something. Or it may even be that your job requires you to have these conversations with people on a regular basis. Whatever the context may be, we need to find courage and have discussions that may feel uncomfortable.

A common myth is that raising the issue might make things worse, however a carefully constructed conversation might save things from getting worse.  

How appealing is it to think that if we just ignore it, and carry on as if nothing is wrong, the issue will eventually resolve itself? It is tempting to want to avoid hurting or upsetting the person we are speaking with by ignoring the situation or by blaming it on someone or something else but it tends to back fire in the end. It takes courage to have a genuine and transparent discussion around sensitive issues or concerns as they may respond with anger, tears, or distress. Despite all positive intentions there is still a chance the conversation may not end in a resolution to the issues raised. Newport & Wildman offers support through our Manager Support Hotline, the hotline allows managers to cooperatively formulate strategies and talk through how best to deal with difficult situations, to ensure the best preparation and outcome.

Here are some tips for initiating a potentially difficult conversation:

  1. Be Confident with your Concerns

It can be easy to stop ourselves from raising concerns by minimising their importance. For example, we may tell ourselves we are “just being silly” or we are “being too sensitive” or “it’s not such a big deal really”. If it is impacting on you or someone else negatively, it is important. Be clear with yourself about the reasons why you are initiating the conversation.

  1. Focus on the Behaviour

Let the person know that it is their behaviour which is upsetting or concerning to you. Be careful not to label the person, for example instead of saying “you are selfish and lazy” you could say “when you leave me to clean up everything I feel let down because I am doing it all alone without any help”.

  1. Be Clear and Specific

Anxiety about how someone might react can lead to messages being “watered-down”. We may give a lot of positive feedback in amongst the negative, or we might talk generally to a group about behaviour that bothers us without speaking directly to the person involved. The risk is that your message will not be heard by them.

  1. Listen

This can sometimes be the hard part because people can be defensive or angry after hearing your concerns and your feedback. They may attack. They may deny that there’s an issue. They may even convince you it’s “all in your head”. Let them talk. Don’t interrupt, explain, justify or defend. First listen. There will be time to respond later.

  1. Respond Calmly

Depending on how the person has reacted to your concerns remaining calm can be tricky, however focus on clarifying the factual accuracies of what the person has said. Their feelings are subjective and you can’t change these. The person may be angry with you for some time. Confidently re-state your concerns. If you can, come to a resolution or compromise. You may need some time to think about what each other has said.

To access the Manager Support Hotline, please call Newport & Wildman on 1800 650 204. 

Alison Keleher, Director, Newport & Wildman

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The G.L.A.D. Technique

As a part of Feel Good February our internal Wellbeing Champions Team decided to do something for each other to actively recognise how much time we spend at work and with our colleagues. Using an adapted version of Donald Altman’s G.L.A.D. technique from The Mindfulness Toolbox, we asked everyone to participate and write a G.L.A.D message for their assigned colleague.

How does it work?

  • You will need a list of names for those that are participating. This can be an organisation wide initiative or just a team activity depending on the size of your organisation.
  • Allocate everyone a person; this can be random or just split into pairs.
  • Email everyone their designated person with instructions asking them to fill in the G.L.A.D. message. Whether they pick one letter or all of them.

Grateful- One thing you are grateful for

Learned- One thing the person has taught you

Appreciate-One thing that you appreciate about this person

Delight- One thing that delights you of this person

  • Once everyone has sent in their responses it is up to you how you would like to share them. You can email them or you can print out little cards

Remember that you can make this activity your own, so it works for you and your organisation! Decide if you’d like it to be anonymous or not and how you want to share these great messages. Below is a snippet of the cards.

GLAD 1.2

As Newport & Wildman is proudly part of AccessEAP, we participated in this initiative together. For more information see the AccessEAP blog, Creating a thriving workplace this Feel Good February – Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

Talk to us today and find out how to get thriving!

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Promoting Your EAP

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is an invaluable tool to assist with managing stress as well as difficult personal and professional situations. However, many organisations do not realise that EAP services are most effective when used proactively and can even be used to assist in goal setting, life coaching and general lifestyle improvement. Below outlines the ways your organisation can encourage your employees to utilise this wonderful program to improve their general overall wellbeing.

  1. Use our Promotional Materials
  1. Hold regular Employee Awareness Sessions
  1. Focus on prevention through Training and Workshops
  1. Use National Mental Health Awareness Days to Promote the EAP
  1. Incorporate the EAP into your company culture
  1. Educate Managers
  1. Paint a picture of how EAP can be used proactively

Download the full document here, Tips on Proactively Promoting Your EAP

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Let’s Make it Clear - a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

Newport & Wildman is proudly part of AccessEAP. This month we have a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP.

Last year I had the pleasure of seeing research professor and social worker Brene Brown when she came to Australia. Her ‘Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.’ approach really resonated and made me think about those all-important but difficult conversations that we all need to have at some point.

Being clear and assertive, in a way that enables you to state your needs or deliver constructive feedback, without attacking or offending the other person can be challenging and confronting, thus often it’s easier to avoid these kinds of conversations. Unfortunately, avoidance doesn’t mean the issue goes away, to use the metaphor of sweeping something under the rug, we end up with a very lumpy rug, that people start tripping over. Related to this is the fear of offending others or hurting their feelings. In a challenging conversation, it’s easy to err on the side of a white lie. How do we weigh up the conflicting ideas of not hurting someone’s feelings with a desire, to be honest?

Unfortunately, the outcome of avoiding or “softening” the issue can drag out the pain, and similarly, we can do more harm than good if we are not clear in our meaning. Sparing someone’s feelings by not saying what we mean leaves the situation unresolved. If we want someone to do something different but don’t clearly state what our needs are, resentment will build when there is no change. We risk veering into passive-aggressive communication styles if we dance around expressing our needs and then become frustrated when our underlying (unspoken!) intent is not acted upon.

I can’t help thinking about the Band-Aid analogy. If a difficult conversation needs to happen, doing it promptly and expressing the situation clearly is, in the long term, less painful than dancing at the edges. If you need to tell a staff member that they are underperforming on a task, bring it to their attention sooner rather than later: if you delay they can reasonably ask why this is suddenly a problem. You waste time and emotional energy for both if you have to back-track and say that the behaviour has been an issue for some time. A reasonable question from the employee could be ‘Why didn’t you tell me as soon as you thought there was a problem?’ Trying to explain that you didn’t want to hurt their feelings is unlikely to help if they are already upset. Saying you hoped that the situation would resolve itself can lead them to ask how they are expected to resolve a situation when they didn’t even know it was a situation. Fair call! And all because you thought you were being kind.

Similarly, your manager might ask you to take on a new project that the organisation has just been given. Hoping that you can accommodate it into your workload – because you want to be seen as pulling your weight, accepting challenges, a team player etc. – can backfire down the track if it turns out you didn’t have the time to fit it in after all. Having to go back to your boss and explain that the new project has fallen over could have been avoided if the less comfortable conversation (‘Sorry, I really can’t fit that in on top of my current workload’) had happened rather than hoping you would somehow make it work.

Being calm in these potentially challenging conversations is key to getting the message across effectively. If you are initiating the conversation, make notes beforehand about what you want to say, your motivations for it and think about the ways in which the person might ask for clarification.

If you find yourself being asked about something that you don’t agree with or just are not sure how it sits with you, it’s OK to ask if you can have some time to think about it before responding.

Gathering your thoughts allows you to address a situation clearly. Stating your case from a position of knowledge, calmly and with respect for the person you are engaging with, gives the best result for all concerned.

Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

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New Year's Resolutions, Working for You?

Chances are, at some time in your life, you've made New Year Resolutions and then broken them only to repeat the cycle the following year. It is common for people to get caught up in a pattern of resolving to make important changes across life and then not following through. This year, keeping these few simple tips in mind may help to increase your chances of success.

Pick Realistic Goals

The surest way to fall short of your new year’s resolution is to set your goals too high. Remember to keep your goals realistic, small and achievable.

Define Those Goals

A common pitfall for people is that they are too vague about what they want to achieve. Spending time developing a specific, concrete action plan with the details of each small step will help increase your chances of success.

Goal Setting with S.M.A.R.T Goals

The S.M.A.R.T. model is a great way of keeping your goals on track and giving them the best possible chance of success.

  • Specific: Goals need to be as specific, clear and concise.
  • Measurable: The need for your goal to be specific is highlighted when you try to measure it. This needs to be relatively easy.
  • Achievable: What is involved in achieving the goal? Do you have the resources?
  • Realistic: Is your goal possible given constraints such as time and/or money?
  • Timely: Ensure that you set timeframes around your goals. This is where it becomes important to break goals into smaller parts/tasks.

It’s important to include some flexibility around your goals and review them on a regular basis. Unforeseeable changes may occur throughout the year which impacts on the relevance of your goals, or your ability to achieve them.

Finally, a values-based approach helps provide the rationale as to “why” you are aiming towards the goal in the first place. The idea is that achieving the goal is a part of something bigger, and is not in itself a means to an end.

Plan Ahead

If your action plan involves tasks which need to be done daily or weekly, set specific times of the day or week which you will use to work on it. The key is to stay flexible and adopt changes needed to be successful in your goals.

Have a Contingency Plan

Decide how you will deal with temptation. This could include practising positive thinking, reviewing the reasons why you set goals in the first place or calling a friend.

Track Your Progress

Keep track of each small success you make toward reaching your larger goal. Rewarding your small accomplishments will help keep you motivated along the way.

Seek Out Support

Don’t keep your resolution a secret. Tell family and friends who will be supportive of your resolve to make a change in your life. Let them know how to help you achieve your goal.

Keep Trying

Accept that there will be times when your resolve weakens or you will have that slip-up. Don’t beat yourself up – simply start over again! Keep trying and enlist the help of professional services if needed.

 

Alison Keleher, Director, Newport & Wildman

Photo by john paul tyrone fernandez from Pexels

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Do you have 2020 vision for the year ahead?

Newport & Wildman is proudly part of AccessEAP. This month we have a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP.
 
Welcome to 2020 – a new year and a new decade. As we begin a new decade it is important to acknowledge and talk about the extreme conditions we are experiencing in Australia, intense heat, drought, bushfires which have resulted in devastating losses of life and homes. As I write this the fires are continuing to burn into January. Whether directly or indirectly impacted it is natural to feel sad and apprehensive about the situation. During this time, it is important to acknowledge and allow yourself to feel these feelings and to know that support is available at any time.  
 
I would like to express my gratitude to the emergency personnel and all the volunteers who have fought and supported us through this bushfire crisis. I would also like to acknowledge the people who are not directly involved in fighting the fires but who provide the support and assistance to those fighting fires, protecting animals and offering shelter.  
We are here to provide immediate phone support to any employees or managers who have questions or need support. For more information and support for individuals and managers see our downloadable support documents here. 
 
It is important to look out for others but I really encourage you to make sure you look after yourself as well. Self care is extremely important in times of sadness and stress and so if you can, I urge you to take a moment for yourself and reflect on the past year. Whether you call it, a new year’s resolution or your 2020 goals, planning out the year and setting positive, achievable goals can help provide focus for the year ahead.  
 
It seems, for many of us, our new year resolutions, made with enthusiasm and determination, soon fall to the wayside. We often get carried away with excitement, setting our resolutions without a plan of action on how we will achieve those goals. If you wavered on the promises you made to yourself - or even if you didn't make any - January is a great month to reflect on the past twelve months and set objectives for the year ahead.
 
Every year I have a tradition, I grab my journal, find a quiet space and give myself time to think about what I really want to achieve. I usually think about it both in the context of work and personal and what will help me learn and grow in the coming year.
Here are some questions I ask myself: 
  • What's the most important thing to you? 
  • What were your highlights for 2019?
  • What would you like this year to look like?
  • If you could only make one change, what would it be?
  • What do you want to do more of? 
  • What would you like to change? 
  • What obstacles do you need to overcome? 
These questions help me to define and decide on the top two or three things that are important to me. The second part is to build and develop a plan of how I will work towards and achieve my items. Your plan should include milestones and dates that you want to achieve them. This makes it more real and concrete. If you do this and put your plan somewhere that you can refer to it regularly, you are more likely to achieve your aims e.g. on your fridge for personal and or for work, somewhere visible on your desk (I write mine in my journal and identify it as a reference page). If you cannot see it then it is easy to forget or become distracted.  
 
Don't forget to celebrate each milestone that you achieve. Make time each week (put it in your calendar) to look at your plan and get on track or feel good about what you have achieved.  Remember, every small step gets us closer to our destination. And if you haven't achieved that milestone? Think about why that may be so and if there was anything you could do differently. It is also so important to remember to be kind to yourself during this process especially if you experience a setback, don’t dwell on it, reset and move forward. 
 
If you are reading this a little later in January, it’s not too late to do this exercise. Do it this weekend. So when New Year’s Eve rolls around once again, and it always does so quickly, you will be able to reflect upon the year that was and hopefully tick off a few more goals than the year before.
 
Finally here are my New Year's Resolutions for 2020
 
1. I will be grateful to those who teach me important lessons by, for instance, letting me know when I am not interacting with curiosity and grace.
2. I will stop, take a breathe and be thankful for all that I have
3. I will, through mindfulness and practising, achieve a new lower golf handicap
4. I will remember we are all in this together
 
Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP

The most amazing miracle of every New Year is this: In the New Year, great things will always happen to us! Here, the New Year makes us taste this wonderful feeling, and this feeling gives us power!― Mehmet Murat ildan

As a trusted partner your EAP is here to help: Remind your employees about their confidential EAP service and let us help you support your people. For further guidance call our Manager Support Hotline on 1800 650 204.

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Managing Loneliness

As we head into the festive season it is easy to get caught up in the festivities. There is pressure to have fun, spend time with family and loved ones but for some people, the festive season can be a time of sadness and loneliness. If you are heading into the holiday season feeling lonely, recognise that many of us suffer from loneliness, especially if we have been through a bereavement, a relationship breakdown, are estranged from family or suffer from physical or mental health challenges. It’s easy for our minds to get caught up in what we do not have as opposed to what we do.

Feeling connected to others depends on the quality of our relationships and how we think about them – loneliness is perceived social isolation. It is normal to feel lonely sometimes, just as it is normal to feel sad or anxious or tired or hungry. However, loneliness becomes a problem when it causes us distress or impacts our ability to get on with everyday life. Although simply “getting out there” and meeting people may be enough for some, for others this may not be enough. Many people live with chronic loneliness and may require a more considered approach in order to feel more socially connected. See our tips below for managing loneliness:

1. Accept that sometimes feeling lonely is a normal part of life. Loneliness is a feeling. As with any feeling, loneliness serves a purpose. Rather than viewing loneliness as something bad, we can interpret it as a signal – it motivates us to maintain or repair our relationships. Once we acknowledge that loneliness is a signal and accept it as a normal part of life, we can then attempt to get on with everyday life despite feeling lonely.

2. Monitor your loneliness in different situations. Keep a diary, recording how lonely you feel at different points throughout the day (give it an “intensity rating” out of 10). After a week or two, you may notice patterns in terms of how lonely you feel across different situations.

3. Recognise the power of thoughts. Reflect on the thoughts that run through your head and how they may influence what you do or how you feel. 

4. Be aware of your own behaviour. If you feel anxious about social situations or believe you need to keep your distance to protect yourself, you may tend to avoid forming new social connections. Even though it may feel uncomfortable, try doing something different – talk to your neighbour, join a club, go to a party, eat your lunch in the common area at work.

5. Engage in self-care. It’s easy to underestimate the impact of lifestyle on how we feel. Often, it is when we feel down that we neglect self-care, which is when we actually need it most. Next time you feel lonely; do something helpful – exercise, a healthy diet, adequate sleep, work-life balance.

6. Contact a qualified mental health professional. For more information or to arrange an appointment, contact us on 1800 650 204.

Alison Keleher, Director, Newport & Wildman

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Mindfulness for Parents, Being Present

We are constantly faced with numerous distractions, but making a conscious effort to “be present” for your children has been identified as an important part of parenting. Our undivided attention is often at a premium but setting aside time to connect with your child is like anything; it gets easier with practice and improves on each occasion.

If you’re not sure where to start, see if our tips can help you out.  

  1. Slow down.

Rushing often leads to miscommunication. Slowing down helps to allow time to think things through and react less. Children thrive when parents are consistent in the messages they give around discipline, values and the child’s important place in the family. Dedicating time together, without a particular plan or agenda allows for the things that your children want or need to tell you, surface. 

  1. Smell the roses.

Stopping to smell the roses is one way of slowing down and appreciating the little things. Mindfulness practice takes this concept and runs with it. Notice the aroma of your coffee in the morning or the kid’s warm chocolate milk, the laughter or singing of children and the silly things they say, the texture of a pet’s fur under your touch. Noticing sensory experiences can help to keep you in the present moment. It can also help to recognise and acknowledge happy moments by saying them out loud, kids will feel it but when it is said out loud it is powerfully reinforced.

  1. Single-task.

Despite popular thinking, none of us are made for multi-tasking [1]. Undivided attention is just that and it can be incredibly rewarding to be single-minded in your approach to time with your children. It allows the subtle nuances of a situation to be recognised and celebrated and curiosity and creativity to flourish.

The real world often brings challenges relating to conflicting priorities such as financial and family commitments, health concerns and the need for some “me” time.  Mindfulness can assist when dealing with day to day life in terms of noticing your own feelings when you’re in conflict with your child, learning to pause before responding in anger, listening carefully to a child’s viewpoint even when disagreeing with it.

  1. Don’t over-schedule

Children have very full and busy days at school and although tempting to give them as many opportunities to do a lot of extracurricular activities, there is a fine balance between enough to keep them busy, engaged, stimulated and developing and overloading them and yourself in the process.

For more information call 1800 650 204 or visit our website newportwildman.com

[1] Laloyaux, J., Laroi, F. and Hirnstein, M., Harvard Business Review, Research: Women and Men Are Equally Bad at Multitasking, Cancer Council, September 26, 2018,   <https://hbr.org/2018/09/research-women-and-men-are-equally-bad-at-multitasking>.

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Staying Calm and Connected this December

As we approach the December period and prepare for the festivities, it’s easy to become distracted with long ‘to-do’ lists; calendars booked up with extra social events and perhaps finalising work in preparation for a well-earned break. These distractions can impact on our relationships with the people we care about most, so here are some tips for maintaining positive relationships during the festive season.

  1. Take Time to be Present
  1. Give Hugs
  1. Acknowledge Feelings First
  1. Give Compliments
  1. Re-connect
  1. Find Common Ground
  1. Be Inclusive
  1. Respond don’t React
  1. Connect to Values
  1. Add Humour

For the full tips, download our Postcard: 10 Tips for Staying Calm & Connected

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Loneliness through the festive season

Newport & Wildman is proudly part of AccessEAP. This month we have a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP, highlighting the importance of staying connected through the festive season.

Humans are naturally social creatures, and contact is necessary for wellbeing. While the holiday season is painted as a joyous, busy time with gift-giving, parties and holidays, for some people the festive season can be a time of sadness and loneliness.

There is pressure to have fun, spend time with family and loved ones but for many people, this time of the year reminds them of those they may have lost or who are ill and struggling. Often the message we receive is that everyone is happy but it’s the time of the year where sad feelings become magnified.

December is usually a month for an increase in the number of people seeking professional counselling services for depression and suicidal ideation. Lifeline is expecting more than 28,000 Australians to reach out to Lifeline’s helpline over the Christmas period.

If you are heading into the holiday season feeling lonely, recognise that many of us suffer from loneliness, especially if we have been through a bereavement, a relationship breakdown, are estranged from family or suffer from physical or mental health challenges. It’s easy for our minds to get caught up in what we do not have as opposed to what we do.

Try to avoid the hype, acknowledge that it’s a hard time of the year. Think about activities and things you can do to help you get through this time.

  • You can volunteer, giving back by donating your time to others can be rewarding. Not only will it make another person feel good, but it will also trigger the part of your brain responsible for feelings of reward, stimulating feel-good chemicals.
  • Maybe gather with friends who don’t have families in the same city, host a lunch where everyone contributes. Or accept invitations to other people’s events.
  • Have a look for activities in your community. Go to movies or free concerts. Play music that cheers you or go to the gym where people are focused on exercise and not on socialising.
  • If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, acknowledge the loss, it is normal and give yourself permission to feel sad and think of a ritual to honour the person.

While it can be difficult to experience holiday periods alone, especially if previous years have been different, being mindful of the present and focusing on what we have and practising gratitude can help focus on the positives in our lives. It won’t change the situation but may help us to think differently even if it is for a short while. Mindfulness can be learned. Get started by downloading the AccessEAP EAP In Focus App to access “Five Minutes of Mindfulness”.

If the festive season feels overwhelming or isolating, don’t be afraid to talk to someone. Often people don’t want to talk to their friends because they don’t want to burden them. If it is not a loved one or trusted friend, there are services available, such as Newport & Wildman or Lifeline.

Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP

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Men's Health this Movember

This November it's time to talk about Men's Health. The Movember Foundation is taking a stand to Tackle Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Mental Health And Suicide Prevention. To challenge the stigma of Mental Health they encourage everyone to Talk, Ask, Listen, Encourage Action and Check In.

We often hear from men that they feel pressure to be seen as invulnerable, stoic, and fearless. This can lead to unrealistic expectations that as a man you should be able to cope no matter what, and “get on with it”. Emotions become synonymous with weakness and powerlessness. Men may also dismiss their feelings as unimportant and worry about burdening other people with their concerns.

Men experience emotions just as much as women do, however the pressure not to show emotion or vulnerability means that emotions will build-up and result in what appear to be random and unexpected behaviour. Reluctance to talk about or acknowledge emotion can manifest in all sorts of unhelpful ways including:

  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Addiction to gambling or betting
  • Ending relationships prematurely
  • Resigning suddenly from their job
  • Stopping activities of interest e.g. sports
  • Neglecting friends and family
  • Working longer hours
  • Communication only via emails or text messages
  • Aggression or violence
  • Excessive time watching fantasy, films, or gaming

Click here for more information about Movember and how to get involved.

For more information or to book an appointment, call us on 1800 650 204 or visit our website, www.newportwildman.com.au 

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Making Time for Self Care

There are many things which can get in the way of prioritising ourselves and our own wellbeing on a daily basis. Whether it be dependent family members, a demanding job, or both, at the end of the working day it may seem that there is little time or energy for looking after ourselves. Eventually however the costs of not prioritising our own wellbeing can be significant.

Here are some tips for creating and maintaining a self-care routine:

1.  Recognise that not prioritising self care is a common reaction during times of stress or in emotionally demanding jobs, and learn from your peers about different ways of building resilience.

2.  Look for the good in people and situations.

3.  Allow time for healthy distractions away from work e.g. a “feel good” movie, listening to comedy, hobbies, sports, and social outings.

4.  Keep your body healthy through a good diet and exercise.

5.  Remember your personal values and qualities that motivated you to choose this job.

6.  Make note of the positive impact you have through your work.

7.  Focus on what you can control and on small achievements rather than things you cannot change.

8.  Ask for help and support as soon as you notice yourself struggling.

9.  Schedule regular opportunities to formally debrief, e.g. professional supervision.

10. Look for ways to manage or minimise stress in other parts of your life.

For more information or to book an appointment, call us on 1800 650 204 or visit our website, www.newportwildman.com.au 

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Creating a Supportive and Respectful Work Environment

Following on from our CEO Feature, Domestic Violence, A Workplace Issue.

A key component of creating a zero-tolerance to violence in the workplace is to develop and/or review workplace policies and procedures that address gender equity and violence against women. The next step is to develop strategies to promote a more inclusive, respectful workplace that explicitly values staff experiences, such as a code of conduct, training on communication and decision making, and democratic conflict resolution processes.

In addition, training and raising awareness can go a long way to create the kind of culture that is required. Investing in this sends a powerful message to employees and other organisations, that you care and take this seriously.

It can be confronting when someone tells you they’ve experienced harassment and violence. You’ll probably have feelings of your own to deal with and might not think there’s much you can do to help. The good news is that your colleague/employee trusts you enough to talk about their experience, and there are many things you can do to support them. The most important ones would be to:

Listen: Hear what they say and try not to interrupt. Let them talk at their own pace. Show them you are listening by making eye contact and nodding. Don’t worry if they stop talking for a while – silences are OK.

Believe: Try not to overdo the questions, as this can make it seem like you doubt their story. It’s important that your colleague/employee sees you’re on their side and that you support them.

Validate: Tell your colleague/employee that what they’re feeling is right. Let them know you think their feelings are real and normal, by repeating the feeling/word they’ve used (e.g. ‘it’s OK that you feel scared’). Acknowledge that you have feelings about it too, but try to keep the focus on your colleague/employee.

No blame: In our society, it’s common for victims to be blamed for their experience of violence. Try to avoid questions such as ‘Why did you go there?’ and ‘Why did you go out with him?’ because they might make your colleague/employee think they’re responsible for what happened.

Ask: If you feel a bit helpless, ask your colleague/employee what sort of help they’d like from you. They’re not expecting you to solve the problem, and you’ve already done a lot just by listening. Asking will also help your colleague/employee think about what to do next.

To utilise our Manager Support Hotline or to arrange an appointment to speak to a counsellor, please call us on 1800 650 204.  Alternatively, you can contact 1800RESPECT which is a 24-hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experienced or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.

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Domestic Violence, A Workplace Issue

Newport & Wildman is proudly part of AccessEAP. This month we have a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP, highlighting the importance of continuing to talk about Domestic Violence. 


In November we highlight the very important topic of Domestic and Family Violence. We were disappointed to hear that White Ribbon Australia have made the difficult decision to close their doors, and at AccessEAP and Newport & Wildman, we are committed to continuing to stand against this pressing and prevalent issue in society. The 25th of November marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and we will continue to speak out against violence in our society. We will continue to raise awareness and support you, our customers, via training and organisational consultancy.

Domestic & Family Violence is often referred to as the “hidden crime”. The statistics indicate that women are the main victims of Domestic Violence in 70% of the cases. One in three women experiences physical violence and almost one in five experience sexual violence in their lifetime, most often from an intimate partner. One woman in Australia is killed per week as a result of Domestic Violence. We do acknowledge same-sex violence and other forms of family violence and we encourage all workplaces to join us in focusing on this important social issue.  

Violence against women results in major health, social and economic consequences for individual women, their families, organisations and society. It has significant effects on women’s physical and mental health as well as their material and financial stability. There are also considerable economic costs to individuals affected, employers and society.

While these statistics are sobering and deeply concerning, you may be wondering why this is a workplace issue. The statistics tell us that a significant number of women experience violence in their workplace from known colleagues and peers; more than 60 per cent of women report experiencing some form of violence at work and 75 per cent report experiencing unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour at work. However, the actual prevalence may be higher because there is evidence that many women do not seek help or report violence when it occurs. 

Domestic & Family Violence does have implications for organisations, including an increase in staff turnover, absenteeism (an employee’s time away from work due to illness) and presenteeism (an employee who is physically at work but not extremely productive).  It also often decreases work performance due to its impact on mental health and wellbeing and may extend to staff morale if it occurs in the form of sexual harassment. This can extend to an organisation’s reputation.

In workplaces where there is any form of violence such as bullying, harassment or sexual harassment, there are higher levels of team conflict and hostility. The workplace thus has an important role to play, not only in providing a safe place for victims but also in adopting a zero-tolerance approach to any violence in the workplace. This means addressing any form of bullying and/or harassment timeously and severely. Any form of gender bias, discrimination or acceptance of any gender norms will not directly lead to Domestic Violence but certainly cultivates and environment for this type of violence to be normalised and condoned.

What can workplaces do?

  1. Promoting equality and respect in all aspects of the workplace
  2. Addressing any hint of violence immediately and seriously &
  3. Improving access to resources and systems of support.

One of the key features of best practice interventions is to encourage respectful relationships and gender equality, this promotes psychological safely where all individuals display mutual respect, trust, effective communication, understanding and honesty. An important feature of psychological safety is effective leadership.  Leaders can set the tone and culture of the organisation, they can speak out about Domestic and Family Violence by clarifying that any harassment or discrimination is unacceptable. At AccessEAP and Newport & Wildman, we will continue to raise awareness and will be running Domestic and Family Violence training for all our employees in November.

For more information on how to support your employees, see our article on creating a supportive and respectful work environment.  

Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP

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Domestic and Family Violence Awareness Training

As a part of AccessEAP, Newport & Wildman provides White Ribbon approved training programs and trainers to assist organisations in their commitment to support the victims of domestic violence in the workplace. This training may form part of your DV Plan or may be part of your White Ribbon accreditation process. Newport & Wildman supports companies in educating employees as part of creating a domestic violence action plan based around three elements; Recognise, Respond, Refer. The training includes raising awareness and understanding and challenging stereotypes.

Recognise

When a woman is experiencing domestic violence, it is likely that her patterns of behaviour will change. Managers should remain connected to their team to be able to recognise any changes. Some behaviours to look out for may include;

  • Frequently arriving to work very early or very late
  • Frequent personal phone calls that leave the employee distressed
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Not attending out of hours work functions or engaging socially with colleagues
  • Stress
  • Ill health and increased leave usage
  • Wanting to resign or relocate

Respond

If someone has taken the difficult step of sharing their experience of violence or abuse, it is vital to respond in an appropriate and supportive manner. Firstly, you should believe the person and listen without judging. Be supportive, encouraging, open and honest. There are also some practical considerations which will help make the person feel safer and more supported.

  • Screen their phone calls or install caller ID on their phone
  • Change their email address and remove their details from the organisation’s directories
  • Encourage the employee to alter their daily travel route
  • Arrange for priority parking close to the building entrance
  • Organise for them to be accompanied to and from their car
  • Alert key staff with full consent and ensure they are discreet at all times
  • Ensure employee’s workstation is not easily accessible for someone entering from outside

Refer

While provisions such as additional special leave, financial assistance and security measures will go a long way towards supporting women to remain in the workplace, other external supports may also be required. Referring employees to an expert domestic violence service can provide crisis counselling, information on crisis care facilities and refuges, information on domestic violence orders and court support and information on longer term counselling services.

For more information please contact us on 1800 650 204.

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Men’s Health- Reducing Stigma in the Workplace

1 in 8 men will suffer from some form of mental health issue over a lifetime.

Talking about mental health issues creates understanding and acceptance.

"Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all." - Bill Clinton

Misunderstandings about mental health can lead to prejudice, discrimination and stigma. While there have been changes recently in the media reporting on mental health concerns, stereotypes are often perpetuated in sport, films, media and social networking especially by images portraying unrealistic images of men as strong, self-sufficient and “practical providers”. In reality these are unhelpful and often untrue and, there is even more scope for the role of media and social media in debunking myths and raising awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. The most effective way to break down prejudice and stereotyping of mental health issues is through; education, awareness and listening to people’s personal stories.

Men who suffer with Mental Health issues feel societal stigma is often more disabling than the illness itself. Coping with a mental health issue often includes increased use of drugs and alcohol, risk taking behaviour and social isolation. Over time these activities negatively influence self-esteem and confidence and in extreme circumstances can lead to suicide. Men are afraid of the impact on their relationships and career if they open up and talk about or show their feelings. Often feelings like anger or aggression can mask underlying depression.

Research by the Mental Health Council of Australia (2013) found that discussing a mental health issue is still taboo in the workplace. Research conducted states that 69% of people are uncomfortable to disclose a mental illness to their employer, while 35% would never disclose. The study reported that 48% of respondents had taken time off work for a mental health issue and not disclosed the reason to their employer. These are alarming statistics and reflect the need for action to eliminate the stigma and fear of disclosing a mental health issue in the workplace.

1 in 8 men will suffer from some form of mental health issue over a lifetime. Life’s issues such as the death of a loved one, illness, injuries, genetics, interpersonal conflict as well as drug and alcohol abuse can all contribute to levels of anxiety and depression. Seeing a person ‘with’ a mental health issue rather than labelling them is a helpful shift. Acceptance by peers and family, knowing that there is help available and being supported to access help are critical in helping individuals seek the appropriate assistance.

Organisations need to have procedures in place to manage mental health in the workplace and work towards eliminating the fear of disclosure. They should provide training to leaders and supervisors to help them have sometimes difficult conversations with the team members around their personal wellbeing and potential mental health concerns. We often are reluctant to offer support because we are afraid of saying the wrong thing.

Addressing the issue of stigma in the workplace starts with a question – Do we actively promote a mentally healthy workplace and would I disclose an issue to my manager? If the answer is no then the time for positive action is now.

For more information or to book an appointment, call us on 1800 650 204 or visit our website, www.newportwildman.com.au 

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