Are employers getting the balance right?

14 September 2011

How can we achieve a happy workforce when figures show that GDP has grown dramatically over the past 30 years but a sharp decline in wages growth has occurred during the same period?

In a paper to be delivered on Wednesday 14 September at the Happiness, Health and Wellbeing @ Work Conference, Dr Toby Fattore, from the Workplace Research Centre, will trace the structural forces that help to make us a society of stressed and unhappy workers with levels of mental illness much higher than in less well-off countries.

"Excessive job demands, low levels of control and insecurity significantly increase depression and anxiety," says Dr Fattore.

Now in its fifth year, Happiness, Health and Wellbeing @ Work Conference is facilitated the Workplace Research Centre and by some of Australia's leading experts on psychology, leadership and human resources. The conference will see the latest research and strategies on workplace health and wellbeing programs presented.

For example, the wellbeing experts from the popular ABC TV show Making Australia Happy will present lessons learnt from the show (which took the science of positive psychology to Marrickville, a suburb in Sydney, and followed eight people as they completed an intensive eight-week positive psychology program using scientifically-validated positive psychology interventions) and explain how these ideas can be applied in Australian workplaces.

Following their introductory session the original experts from the ABC show, Dr Tony Grant, Director, Coaching Psychology Unit, University of Sydney; Dr Russ Harris, Mindfulness Expert; and Anna-Louise Bouvier, Physiotherapist and Mind Body Expert, will each present a motivating workshop in their specialised areas so participants can interactively learn more about either Positive Psychology in the workplace, Mindfulness and the ways a happier body can make a happier mind.

There will also be case studies presented by NAB, the Black Dog Institute and the Heart Foundation as well as a study on stress and workplace health to be presented by Dr Fattore and Maja Lindegard Monsted of the Workplace Research Centre.

The WRC in the University of Sydney Business School is comprised by a multi-disciplined team of researchers who have a passion for understanding working life. The WRC draws on expertise in law, management, economics, psychology, social policy, industrial relations and education and an extensive network of local and international practitioners and academics.

The WRC has recently been contracted by the Department of Health and Ageing to develop content and related resources for an online national Healthy Workers Portal, which aims to assist employers and employees to implement healthy living programs in workplaces as part of the Healthy Worker Initiative.

Event details

What: Happiness, Health and Wellbeing @ Work Conference

When: Wednesday 14 September

Where: Quay Grand Suites, Circular Quay, Sydney

Organised by the Workplace Research Centre, University of Sydney

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Media enquiries: Jacqueline Chowns, 0434 605 018, 9036 5404,