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Developing a business wellbeing plan

You have a plan for marketing, business continuity and succession – but do you have one for wellbeing? By putting a business wellbeing plan in place and revisiting it regularly, you can help yourself and your employees stay focused and resilient – and address any challenges before they escalate.

Making wellbeing and mental health part of your regular workplace discussions creates a safe and welcoming space for both you and your employees. It helps reduce stigma and gives everyone the opportunity to share any concerns they have about their own or other people’s wellbeing.


We’ve used information developed by Heads Up, an organisation dedicated to improving mental health in the workplace,1 to develop a checklist about how to take care of your own and your employees’ wellbeing.


As a first step, try completing it for yourself and then share it with someone you trust, such as your partner or business mentor. Revisit it regularly, or as your situation changes.

Review your work goals

Why did you decide to start your business? List as many reasons as you can. They could include:

  • Earning a living by doing what you enjoy
  • Having more control over your work life
  • Meeting your financial needs
  • Working in an industry that you’re passionate about
  • Enjoying the satisfaction of creating something that’s yours.

Assess your business

How is your business performing now in terms of wellbeing? Consider your data or business history:

  • How often your employees are absent or take sick leave rates
  • Your staff turnover
  • Whether any employees have reported high levels of stress, or bullying or harassment in the workplace
  • Feedback from employee performance reviews.

Identify risks and opportunities for improvement

  • Consult with your employees individually or as a group to identify their concerns and ideas for how to increase wellbeing in your workplace.
  • Encourage your employees to make their own list about their motivations and goals at work.
  • Come up with an action plan with clear objectives and outcomes. This could include:
    • Clarifying job roles
    • Offering more flexibility
    • Providing employees with more varied tasks
    • Organising social events
    • Taking regular breaks.

Monitor your responses and behaviours

Think about how you respond to stress and encourage your employees to do the same. Some things to consider:

  • What events typically raise your levels of stress in the workplace or at home?
  • What signals warn you that you’re experiencing stress or need to take a rest?
  • How can other people recognise and respond to these behaviours?

Help yourself

  • How can you and your employees develop positive habits to improve your situation? This could include:
    • Staying in touch with family and friends – even if you’re busy
    • Making sure you keep up interests outside of work
    • Eating well and getting enough sleep.
  • Finding an exercise plan that works for you. What positive things can you do to make life better for your employees? For example:
    • Set up regular sessions to check in with your employees
    • Model respectful, supportive behaviours in the workplace
    • Encourage your employees to share their concerns.
  • If you or your employees need to take time out of work, discuss how to hand over work temporarily to someone else in your business.

Enable your business

Is your business set up to make things as efficient as possible? This will make things easier for you in the long run. Some things to consider:

  • Be realistic about what you can achieve in a day
  • Organise your business systems
  • Keep an eye on how many hours you’re doing each day and delegate where possible
  • Invest in technology that makes your systems run more smoothly.

Know where to go for support

Identify the support you and your employees have available – both professionally and within your social network:

  • Peers, mentors or your Business Development Manager
  • GPs or mental health professionals
  • Organisations such as Beyond Blue, Lifeline or Heads Up have resources that can help you or your employees manage their mental health.

Monitor and improve your plan

  • After you have put together your business wellbeing plan, revisit it regularly with your employees to reflect on the changes you’ve made and whether they’ve been successful.
  • Check that the objectives you set have been achieved, and create new objectives for the next period.
  • Adjust the plan as needed to respond to changes in your workplace, or in your own or your employees’ lives.

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