Good Behaviour Bonds - supporting our teachers

Marcela Slepica, Director of Clinical Services at AccessEAP, said that over the past five years there has been a 36% increase in the number of teachers seeking support from their counsellors.

“There are many more pressures on today’s teachers, including increasingly demanding or aggressive parents and escalating levels of classroom violence,” Slepica said. “This behaviour is unacceptable and there are severe impacts for teachers’ wellbeing when they are unsupported."

 

Click here for the excerpt from Issue 2, Vol 49 of the Independent Education, the professional journal of the Independent Education Union of Australia.

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Pet-friendly offices: What you need to know

Published in Human Resources Director 19th June, 2019.

According to Marcela Slepica Director, Clinical Services at AccessEAP, “multiple studies have shown the mental, social, and physiological health benefits of owning or interacting with an animal, which causes the body to release ‘happy hormones’ serotonin and dopamine that help combat stress, depression and anxiety”.

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7 Tips - A Healthy Body Boosts a Healthy Mind

1. Exercise provides a mood boost and a more energised outlook on life thanks to the release of endorphins.  It also improves cognitive function and has been proven to increase decision-making and problem solving ability. We all know the feeling of going out for a walk and coming back with a ‘clear’ mind. Some may even choose to use their lunch break as an hour to hit the gym, go for a jog, walk or train in a group.

2. Exercising with a buddy, or as part of a team, provides a sense of belonging through the sharing of common interest. It also helps motivate and keep you on track toward your health goal. Participating in a sport or reaching a personal physical goal promotes a sense of mastery, accomplishment and increases self–esteem. Set yourself a physical goal no matter what your current fitness level is. Remember tackling small ‘chunks’ of a larger goal will see you mastering your chosen activity in no time!

3. A good night's sleep helps foster both mental and emotional resilience. Chronic sleep disruptions set the stage for negative thinking, depression, anxiety and emotional vulnerability. Being physically active throughout the day can help you get a restful sleep. See our latest CEO feature for more information on Sleep.

4. Every meal should include protein to ensure a continuous supply of the amino acid tryptophan to the brain Tryptophan is proven to boost mood. Add some fish, turkey, chicken, meat, eggs, legumes, milk, cheese, yoghurt, nuts or seeds to your meal. Don't forget to aim to drink about 2.0 litres each day, and increase water consumption on very hot days or when you have been exercising. If you do not drink enough fluids to replace this loss you will get the symptoms of dehydration, including irritability, loss of concentration and reduced mental functioning.

5. Studies suggest omega-3 oil can reduce symptoms of depression. You can include oily fish such as salmon in your diet or even take a daily supplement. Vegetarians get similar benefits from flaxseed oil, walnuts and chia seeds.

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How to boost your workplace creativity

Published in Human Resources Director  8th May, 2019.

“Encouraging creativity has a number of beneficial effects on employees that can drive positive change in workplaces, if done well.” Marcela Slepica, Clinical Director, AccessEAP, comments on scribbling as just one way that creativity can help boost workplace performance.

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Financial Health Check and Tools

This helpful website, from ASIC and the Australian Government, provides calculators and tips to help you make better financial decisions. Free and impartial financial guidance and tools are available to download and use to make the path to better financial control easier. Click on the image below to watch a short "How To" video. If you would like to explore some other free and paid options, our Financial Coaching partner, IMFG suggest the following: Pocketbook, Moneysoft and  Sort Your Money Out.

Are you struggling to reduce your credit card debt? Are you sick of never being able to build up your savings enough to go on that trip you dream of or buy the home you really want?

Click here to get started. This section of the website aims to get you in control of your money to help you achieve your goals. The following topics are covered:

  • Banking
  • Budgeting
  • Donating and crowdfunding
  • Get your money on track
  • Income tax
  • Managing debts
  • Saving

  

 

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Financial stress - taking positive steps

It may not be surprising that a recent HR study found 80% of the top five health concerns for employees are mental health related, 41% admit to being distracted at work because of financial worries (presenteeism), 31% of employees say they have taken unexpected time off to deal with a financial issues (absenteeism).1 The 2018 Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) report showed 18.5 per cent of consumers were overwhelmed by their credit card debt load with outstanding balances now totalling $45 billion.2 We learn to live with underlying stress around our finances but these statistics show that the impact on both life and work can be significant. What can we do individually and as employers to take positive financial steps without becoming overwhelmed?

Resilience is the ability to recover and bounce back from adversity and life’s challenges. When applied to finances it is the ability to withstand external pressures during times of financial stress. Employees must understand that these external pressures are often outside their control and in order to be resilient it means taking responsibility and having a plan in place to feel confident about their financial standing. 

Employers can play a role in helping their employees cope with financial related stress by recognising the impact it can have on individuals as they move through different life stages. It is important to recognise that there are many varied reasons for financial stress. For example, our ageing workforce is facing many challenges, including their fear of entering retirement, paying for their children’s higher education and moving their parents into nursing homes. These life events can be both mentally and physically draining as they involve the security and happiness of the people we care most about. On the other hand, millennials are facing economic instability, crushing student debt, stagnant wages and looming uncertainty about the future. Employers can assist by providing information around financial literacy as many people struggle to understand their finances and are unsure of ways to seek information. Financial knowledge and understanding is often the first very important step in this process.

How individual employees handle financial stress varies greatly. Breaking down and understanding the underlying issues can be the key to helping employees become more resilient. Here are some basic tips on reducing finance-related stress:

  1. Learn to budget

Creating a budget gives you clarity and a tangible place to start in terms of understanding where your money is going and how you can reduce spending. If your financial situation is causing you stress, it’s vital to create a budget. Record all income and expenses. Start by being critical of what you are spending and cut down on any unessential items if possible. See the article in this month’s newsletter for budgeting tools.

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Men's Health Week

It's Men's Health Week from the 10th-16th of June. The focus is on Keeping Boys and Men Healthy, find out more on the official website.

At AccessEAP, we often hear from men that they feel pressure to be seen as invulnerable, stoic, and fearless. This can lead to unrealistic expectations that as a man you should be able to cope no matter what, and "get on with it". Emotions become synonymous with weakness and powerlessness. Men may also dismiss their feelings as unimportant and worry about burdening other people with their concerns.

Men experience emotions just as much as women do, however the pressure not to show emotion or vulnerability means that emotions will build-up and result in what appear to be random and unexpected behaviour. Reluctance to talk about or acknowledge emotion can manifest in all sorts of unhelpful ways including:

  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Addiction to gambling or betting
  • Ending relationships prematurely
  • Resigning suddenly from their job
  • Stopping activities of interest e.g. sports
  • Neglecting friends and family
  • Working longer hours
  • Communication only via emails or text messages
  • Aggression or violence
  • Excessive time watching fantasy films, or gaming

What can AccessEAP do to help?

We can provide a comfortable and private space to talk where there isn’t pressure to bottle things up. A person who is experienced in understanding human emotion and behaviour can listen without judgment and without consequence. We can even offer tips or strategies, if that’s what is wanted or needed.

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Self Motivation Tips

Check out our Top 10 Tips on Self-Motivation.

Download our Self Motivation Postcard here.

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Bring Your Dog to Work Day!

Friday, June 21st is this year's Bring Your Dog to Work Day. If you are lucky enough to have a well-behaved pup that can come in, and approval from your employer, please let us know how it goes and the effect it has on your workplace. We would love to share your story! Simply email newsletter@accesseap.com.au with the details.

What should I consider before taking my dog to the office?

It’s important to ensure this does not adversely impact on the health, welfare or working environment of employees, volunteers or visitors to office, or on the health and welfare of the animal or other animals in the office.

For tips to make the experience run smoothly check out the RSPCA's Website.

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Senior Clinician - Tasmania based

  • Make a difference everyday
  • Combine your consulting and clinical capabilities
  • CBD based

AccessEAP partners with organisations to promote positive organisational behaviour, enhance employee well-being and improve workplace productivity. As an Australian owned not for profit Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provider, our emphasis is on understanding the unique needs of our customers and tailoring our services to support and prevent mental health issues in the workplace. Due to continued growth we are expanding the clinical services team and need a passionate and committed professional to help ensure the provision of best practice counselling and consulting activities that meet or exceed customer and client expectations.

Your role will be to develop strong relationships with key customers to understand their needs and work on tailored solutions to solve specific or complex people issues.  You will provide a range of clinical services including: Training, mediation, conflict consulting, webinars, counselling face, telephone, video, emergency and manager support/coaching. Additionally you will provide key operational management support to the Director Clinical Services and Duty Clinicians in relation to complex services such as consulting, coaching, reflective supervision and leadership training.

You will be able to Identify and develop new service offerings and innovative ways to improve what we do and the way we do business.

With a degree in Psychology or Social Work and professionally registered your track record of success will reflect your impartial and insightful thinking capabilities.  You will be adept at engaging with a broad range of people, comfortable working autonomously, and respond well under pressure to balance multiple priorities

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Senior Clinician - Canberra based

  • Make a difference everyday
  • Combine your consulting and clinical capabilities
  • CBD based

AccessEAP partners with organisations to promote positive organisational behaviour, enhance employee well-being and improve workplace productivity. As an Australian owned not for profit Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provider, our emphasis is on understanding the unique needs of our customers and tailoring our services to support and prevent mental health issues in the workplace. Due to continued growth we are expanding the clinical services team and need a passionate and committed professional to help ensure the provision of best practice counselling and consulting activities that meet or exceed customer and client expectations.

Your role will be to develop strong relationships with key customers to understand their needs and work on tailored solutions to solve specific or complex people issues.  You will provide a range of clinical services including: Training, mediation, conflict consulting, webinars, counselling face, telephone, video, emergency and manager support/coaching. Additionally you will provide key operational management support to the Director Clinical Services and Duty Clinicians in relation to complex services such as consulting, coaching, reflective supervision and leadership training.

You will be able to Identify and develop new service offerings and innovative ways to improve what we do and the way we do business.

With a degree in Psychology or Social Work and professionally registered your track record of success will reflect your impartial and insightful thinking capabilities.  You will be adept at engaging with a broad range of people, comfortable working autonomously, and respond well under pressure to balance multiple priorities

Your key skills will include your rapport building, analytical skills, judgement and outstanding interpersonal skills. Most importantly you will enjoy working in a team environment that is driven by respect, collaboration and accomplishment. AccessEAP take the health of employees seriously and you will be working in an environment that genuinely cares about the wellbeing of all employees.

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Organisation Development Practitioner - Tasmania based

  • Apply your EAP and OD skills
  • Help make a difference every day
  • Strong team environment

At AccessEAP our mission is to create thriving workplaces. We partner with each customer to promote, positive organisational behaviour, enhance employee wellbeing, improve workplace productivity  and effectively manage the mental health of every employee. As an Australian owned not for profit Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provider, our emphasis is on understanding the unique needs of our customers and tailoring our services to support and prevent mental health issues in the workplace. Due to continued growth and an expanding service offering we need to  recruit a passionate and consultative Organisation Development practitioner to help achieve our goals and continue our ambitious journey.

Your role will be to develop strong relationships with key customers to understand their needs and work on tailored solutions to solve specific or complex people issues. You will provide clinical information and support to the customer experience teamand provide a range of clinical services including: conflict management, training, manager support, and organisational consultancy.

With a degree in clinical or organisational psychology your track record of success will be matched by your desire to make a genuine difference and your ability to engage with a broad range of Managers and Executives. Your key strengths will include your influencing, negotiation and planning and organisation skills. Most importantly you will enjoy working in a team environment that is driven by respect, collaboration  and accomplishment and where expressing your ideas and opinions is truly valued

For more information call David Williams on 0414 551 795 or to apply send your resume to dwilliams@kurtispaige.com.au

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A Day in the Life of an AccessEAP Ambassador

We recently had the pleasure of delivering a Day in the Life of an AccessEAP Ambassador as part of our AccessEAP Ambassador Program Conversational Series training. Our Program Lead, Michelle Donaldson, hosted the session live from AccessEAP Melbourne and was joined by our outstanding panellists: Doug Winger and Elaine Ross, two dedicated Ambassadors from Mirvac, along with Kate McPhee, one of our Senior Psychologists. We extend a big THANK YOU to our panelists for volunteering their time and sharing valuable insights with the wider AccessEAP Ambassador community.

 

 The Panel’s top tips for peer support are:

  • Keep the conversation going.
  • Ask for help as an individual and as an AccessEAP Ambassador.
  • Promote the EAP generally and around monthly themes.
  • Reduce stigma by seeking help yourself.
  • Have appropriate conversations – time and place is important.
  • Be politely persistent.

Check out the full video below.

Does your organisation value peer support? For more information about the Ambassador Program click here or contact your Relationship Manager.

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Harnessing the Power of Positive Psychology - Team-Based Case Study Follow Up

At AccessEAP we are always looking at how we can use our individual and collective strengths to achieve the best possible customer and business outcomes. Following on from the great benefit our Relationship Management team derived from their first annual strengths assessment and with the arrival of some new team members, the process was revisited last month. 

"My team members are always striving to do better and developing and growing their knowledge and skill base with every customer interaction/engagement. I want to make sure that as a team they are recognising each other's strengths and the best ways to work together to provide the best possible customer experience," says Eleni van Delft, Accredited Strengths Coach and Director Relationship Development, at AccessEAP.

We recently received very positive feedback from our customers on our response and support to those affected by the recent terrorist attack in Christchurch. Following the event and during our internal debrief I asked our customer experience team to reflect on the strengths they used on the day of the event and in subsequent days.

They responded with :

Perseverance, leadership, bravery, perspective, teamwork, kindness, judgement (decision making) and hope. It was important for the team to have the opportunity to reflect on their strengths, identifying and acknowledging the part they played in supporting our customers through a tremendously difficult time. This was not only very insightful for each individual but also reinforced that when things happen and we can all become overwhelmed in the moment they each have the strengths and resilience they need to see things through to the best possible outcome. One team member commented, “ I now know I can handle these sorts of challenges in the future”.  

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High Performing Teams or Dream Teams?

Here at AccessEAP we want our teams to live our values. Collaborating to accomplish set goals with respect, integrity and curiosity, but do we want our teams to be high performing teams or do we want “dream teams”?

The creation of effective or “dream teams” has never been more important than it is in today’s digitally evolving workplace. In fact, a recent McKinsey article, mentions that “the topic’s importance is not about to diminish as digital technology reshapes the notion of the workplace and how work gets done. On the contrary, the leadership role becomes increasingly demanding as more work is conducted remotely, traditional company boundaries become more porous, freelancers more commonplace and partnerships more necessary”. [i]

In the workplace context "dream teams" are high performing with a focus on the value and satisfaction that each member receives from the team to avoid burnout and promote a sustainable team. Creating and leading these teams can be complex, regardless of the size of the team or the organisation. Today’s workplace blends not only people from many varying backgrounds, beliefs and value systems; but leaders must contend with the inevitable variations in people’s personalities and preferred ways of working with others. As any leader or manager will tell you, this is no easy feat!

One useful approach is to understand that there are various role “types” which people can play in a team. The role “type” that people play will depend on their own unique background, skill set and personality. It is important that a team have a complementary mix of “types” because they each bring something unique to the team and have both strengths and weaknesses.

Beyond understanding individual roles and dynamics, it helps to understand some of the overarching dynamics of what happens when ANY group of people come together to form a team and this is where Bruce Tuckman’s stages of team development comes into play. Although it is another management model that has been around a long time, it is still highly relevant for team to learn about the different stages of forming, storming, norming, performing and transforming. Transforming has been added to the model over time showing that some teams come together for a purpose or a time and then disband and reform but also point to the fact that every time a new member joins a team, the dynamics in the team can change and the process can potentially begin all over again.

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Free Character Strengths Test

Knowing your character strengths isn’t just interesting information. When skillfully applied, they can actually have a significant positive impact on your life. Take a free strengths test here.

The concepts of positive psychology can have many benefits in the workplace. This powerful tool is used to focus on employees’ personal strengths skills, and capabilities, as a foundation for developing their performance. Check out our Case Study where Eleni van Delft (Director of Relationship Development at AccessEAP) explains how using Positive Psychology during a period of rapid business growth, allowed her team to play to their strengths!

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National Reconciliation Week

What is National Reconciliation Week?
 
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.

Find out how you can get involved from the National Reconciliation Week Website.

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Top Tips for Happiness

Here are a few tips to promote self-acceptance, resilience, and psychological flexibility:

  1. Stop the comparisons!

When we take the time to stop and appreciate the people around us, and all the things we have already achieved, we open ourselves up to experiencing something wonderful. All too often, this wonder can be rapidly eroded when we compare ourselves to others who appear to be richer, stronger, faster, and more beautiful (and the list goes on and on and on). So stop comparing! There will always be people who appear to have more “things” than we do. Constantly trying to catch up to them prevents us from living our own life to its fullest.

  1. Commit to seeing life in a positive way.

Focusing on developing an optimistic outlook not only helps to elevate mood by changing the way we feel – for the better - but when practiced often, cultivating an optimistic outlook protects against problems such as depression, anxiety and stress. Thinking optimistically is a skill that can be learned, and this type of thinking helps to improve our experience of happiness.

  1. Move that body.

The link between our mind and body is clear. When we exercise regularly the benefits become obvious, though please remember, training like an elite athlete is not required! To get the benefit that exercise brings we need to find what suits our lifestyle and daily routine. Walking, swimming and yoga are great when it comes to relieving stress. 

  1. Laugh in the face of stress.

Stress is inevitable in today’s world and happiness does not mean we eliminate stress in our lives – in fact, some stress is actually beneficial. Firstly, we need to take an inventory and identify the things that make us stress out. Then, we need to make plans which allow us to neutralise the impact of this stress. Some ideas to manage stress include:

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Tips for Effective Teamwork

1. Objectives and Goals

Successful teams have clear objectives that all team members are aware of and working toward. There is a clear vision and shared values. Team members are committed to the goal and live the values.

2. Participation

Active participation is evident and encouraged by all team members. Team members focus on their areas of strength for the greater good of achieving the team outcomes. Effective teams want the team to succeed and place team success above individual recognition and reward. Everyone carries their weight.

3. Trust

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May 17th- IDAHOBIT

On May 17, 1990, the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization approved the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD 10), which no longer listed homosexuality as a diagnosis. International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia & Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) Launched in 2004 to celebrate LGBTIQ people globally.
Today, May 17th is used to champion inclusion, and build a better world for the LGBTIQ community.

Find out how you can get involved on the IDAHOBIT Website.

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indig_flags.jpg

AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away
.

indig_flags.jpg

AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away.