Bendigo workshop to explore mentally healthy workplaces

The Bendigo workshop will provide strategies to develop a workplace mental health plan and introduce beyondblue’s Heads Up website. Picture: SHUTTERSTOCK
The Bendigo workshop will provide strategies to develop a workplace mental health plan and introduce beyondblue’s Heads Up website. Picture: SHUTTERSTOCK

Bendigo businesses are being encouraged to create mentally healthy workplaces through a beyondblue workshop next month.

The workshops are being run by the Institute of Managers and Leaders in conjunction with beyondblue and the Bendigo session is the only Victorian stop outside of Melbourne and Geelong.

beyondblue lead clinical advisor Dr Grant Blashki said mental health issues could happen to anyone, and were often bound up with work.

“We know 91 per cent of employees believe a mentally healthy workplace is important but only 52 per cent believe their workplace is healthy,” he said.

“People in general say, yes, that would be great to have a mentally healthy workplace, but how do we actually do that?”

The workshop will provide strategies to develop a workplace mental health plan and introduce beyondblue’s Heads Up website along with other resources. 

Bendigo’s Joe Ciancio, the managing director and owner of Maxsum Consulting, will also speak during the workshop.

Mr Ciancio has spent 25 years in the technology industry, living and working overseas for six of them in places such as Japan and Silicon Valley.

In 2001 he returned to Bendigo to start business and technology company Maxsum, which has offices here and in Melbourne.

Mr Ciancio said much had changed in 17 years, including a greater awareness of what keeps staff motivated at work.

“If staff are more engaged, they perform better and the business does too,” he said.

It comes as no surprise that technology plays a key part in the company’s strategy to create a mentally healthy workplace.

Instead of a traditional annual performance review, Maxsum uses software to set a worker’s goals, which can then be updated as the year progresses.

“It’s more real time and interactive than waiting for a year to go by,” Mr Ciancio said.

The company’s 16 staff members also take part in a well-being program, encouraging workers to track the number of steps they do each day rather than sitting at a desk for long periods, and have fresh fruit and blenders in the office for healthy snacks.

“It’s just little things but hopefully it raises people’s awareness that they should be looking after their health and well-being,” Mr Ciancio said.

“We’re aware that these aspects are more important these days and it’s not something businesses or industries can ignore.”