Around the office last week we all spoke about R U OK day. Some of us spoke about the importance of such a day and the ambassadors who are involved, others about how silly of an idea it is and some just looked puzzled before asking what in the world it even was! For those of you who don’t know, R U OK day is about raising awareness of the importance of speaking to each other about mental health and general well being. The foundation aims to prevent isolation by empowering people to support each other through life’s ups and downs. To me, R U OK day also represents the fact that it’s “OK” to speak about mental illnesses and the effects they cause not just on the individual but on the people surrounding them.
As someone who has come in contact through an immediate loved one who suffers from a mental illness, this day strikes a particular cord with me and made me realise how simple it is to dramatically affect someone’s life/mood through a few words, an action or even an anonymous gesture. This can be done not only in your personal life with your friends and family but easily enough in the workplace as well. We spend anywhere from 30 – 60 hours a week with our work colleagues so surely most of us can become a little aware when an associate is a little off tune. Although the thought of speaking to a work colleague about suicide will undoubtedly cross many boundaries for most, I was only thinking today how easy it is to change someone’s outlook on a problem they are facing at work or simply make their day a little happier with something so small.
We started our day on Friday with our General Manager basically telling the office to pick up the vibe around the place and start to “enjoy” work a little more. As the market is becoming a little tighter and there is uncertainty all throughout the media, people are naturally becoming cautious and the mood around most office places are very somber and dark. Our GM pointed out the fact that the more positively we act and feel, the more we reflect those feelings onto the people around us and they in turn, feel a little brighter themselves; it is infectious. This helps to breed a culture within each and every workplace where they then feel that no problem is too hard to solve, no person is too prickly to deal with and that dreaded morning alarm doesn’t seem so bad at all because the office is actually a pleasant environment to be in.
Small things such as congratulating someone on a win at work, thanking someone for picking your file up off the printer or encouraging someone after they have received some negative feedback are all such simple things that make such monumental differences in the workplace. As I said earlier, this becomes infectious and the entire office gets swept up and carried along for the ride. This can often mean the difference between an employee leaving the office disgruntled and getting on SEEK at home, to one who stays an extra 15 minutes to finish that extra piece of work that needed to be done.
I don’t want this to sound too soppy and corny but the little gestures and/or words on a day-to-day basis can have a dramatic effect on people without you even knowing. Before you head to work tomorrow or come back from lunch today, Think about this a little and see if it makes a difference in your office!
If anyone does need a helping hand or you know someone who may please visit the following website www.ruokday.com
Isaac Dufficy – Consultant