The importance of wellbeing and addressing common myths

Improving the health, safety and wellbeing of the sexual assault, family violence and prevention workforces requires an ongoing commitment and focus. The Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004) already sets out reporting requirements for programs and organisations so we have intentionally not mandated additional governance or reporting requirements. However, using the tools provided here can contribute to your evidence base for Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) reporting and complying with the department's Human Services Standards by:

  • measuring health, safety and wellbeing in your organisation and teams, ideally twice yearly
  • documenting annual health, safety and wellbeing plans for your organisation and teams
  • encouraging feedback and continuous improvement actions to care for the health, safety and wellbeing of your workforce.

This Guide also supports the development of a ‘just’ culture whereby workforces are supported, and workforce wellbeing is prioritised, as set out in the department’s Community Services Quality Governance Framework (2019).

Studies have found that when people have higher levels of wellbeing they are:

  • Nearly 6 times more likely to feel engaged1
  • Cost 3 times less in sick leave2
  • Likely to be 29% more productive3
  • 45% more likely to be satisfied in their jobs4
  • 46% less likely to experience unhealthy days5
  • 125% less likely to burn out6
  • 32% less likely to quit7

In addition, workplaces that choose to invest in employee wellbeing and have happy and engaged workers experience, on average:

  • 70% fewer safety incidents
  • 41% lower absenteeism
  • 24% - 59% lower turnover8
  • 3.5 times more likely to be creative and innovative

Common myths about wellbeing

1: Caring for workplace health, safety and wellbeing is only an individual responsibility


Health, safety and wellbeing habits, attitudes and actions have been found to spread through a complicated web of social connections at the individual, team and organisational level and the sector more broadly.9

The Guide:

Uses evidence-based practices to help workplaces continue taking responsibility for enabling healthy and sustainable cultures, policies and systems that care for people.

2: We should be constantly trying to improve wellbeing scores


Wellbeing tends to fluctuate based on the individual and collective choices we make each day and what is happening in the world around us.10

The Guide:

Encourages self-awareness and active participation in caring for health, safety and wellbeing. This will sustain healthy levels of ability, motivation and psychological safety at an individual, team and organisational level as your contexts continue to change.

3: Stress and struggle should be avoided


Feelings of stress and struggle do not always undermine wellbeing. In fact, they can enhance it, provided we can see these signs as opportunities for learning, connection and growth and have the support we need to help us navigate them.11

The Guide:

Make it safe and acceptable to talk about struggles when it comes to caring for your individual and collective wellbeing.


  1. Gallup, (2017). State of the American workplace: Employee engaging insights for U.S. business leaders. Retrieved from:…
  2. Rath T, Harter J. The economics of wellbeing. Washington, DC: Gallup, Inc, 2010.
  3. Rongen, A., Robroek, S. J., van Lenthe, F. J., & Burdorf, A. (2013). Workplace health promotion: a meta-analysis of effectiveness. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(4), 406-415.
  4. O.C. Tanner Institute (2015). The impact of excellent employee wellbeing. Retrieved from…
  5. Gallup, (2017). State of the American workplace: Employee engaging insights for U.S. business leaders. Retrieved from:…
  6. Porath, C., Spreitzer, G.M., Gibson, C., & Garnett, F. (2012). “Thriving at work: Toward Its measurement, construct validation, and theoretical refinement,” Journal of Organisational Behaviour, 33, no. 2, pp. 250– 71.
  7. Gallup, (2017). State of the American workplace: Employee engaging insights for U.S. business leaders. Retrieved from:…
  8. Gallup, (April, 2016). The relationship between engagement at work and organisational outcomes: 2016 Q12® Meta-analysis, 9th Edition. Retrieved from:…
  9. Kern, M. L., Williams, P., Spong, C., Colla, R., Sharma, K., Downie, A., Taylor, J., Sharp, S., Siokou, C., & Oades, L. G. (2020). Systems informed positive psychology. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 15(6), 705-715.
  10. Cummins, R. A., Li, N., Wooden, M., & Stokes, M. (2014). A demonstration of set-points for subjective wellbeing. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15(1), 183-206.
  11. Bonanno GA. Loss, Trauma, and Human Resilience: Have We Underestimated the Human Capacity to Thrive After Extremely Aversive Events? 2004;59(1):20–8. pmid:14736317