AccessEAP blog

How to Give Compliments

Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

Here are five ways to help you give and receive meaningful compliments that will lift the person you are complimenting as well as putting you in a positive mood. 

1. Be Specific

Detail is the heart of a great compliment. The fact that you have noticed something specific shows that you are attentive and engaged, you might even say mindful. Compliments that indicate you have paid attention or that the recipient has done something that has really made a difference will be much more valued.

2. Be Genuine

Support for the changing restrictions over the festive season

As we enter the holiday period, the countdown to Christmas day and the end of the year, we are experiencing another setback with the cluster on the northern beaches of NSW. This is significantly impacting many people and families, and their plans to reconnect with loved ones either with large gatherings or with travel to other states both into NSW or out of NSW. This can create understandable feelings of disappointment and sadness. There is also an amazing sense of care and positive action as record numbers turn out to be tested – a very open demonstration of the desire to look after each other and help NSW Health to contain the spread.

We have seen how resilient we all are, and have focused on hope and connecting with our loved ones virtually, and it looks like we need to draw on this for a while longer. We have also experienced how difficult this year has been and we can take strength and hope from Victoria who endured a prolonged lockdown. We encourage you to reach out to those you know are isolated and offer a quick check-in or words of support.

We wanted to remind you that our counselling services and onsite services continue to be available 24/7 – please reach out on 1800 818 728, connect with us via our App, AccessMyEAP or our website for additional resources.

We would also like to express our best wishes and gratitude to all those who are continuing to provide essential services.

Wrapping up 2020 with Self-Care

We’re coming to the end of a year that has changed the way we work, view the world and go about our lives. We wanted to firstly say thank you – we’re grateful for the opportunity to work with you and your people. We’re also grateful for you helping us continue to fulfil our social purpose and provide meaningful, life-changing support to vulnerable children and families, particularly at this time of the year.

We can all acknowledge it’s been a tough year. The holiday period has its own challenges for many people even in the best of times, let’s be even more mindful this year. This week we turn our spotlight to managing expectations during the festive season, as this is an important part of self-care. We've created two new tools for you, Self-care is for leaders too and Managing Festive Expectations. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website.

We would also like to share with you the power of giving, especially at this time of the year when people less fortunate than ourselves often do it tougher than usual. Our social purpose is to support programs to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families. Over the past year, the primary beneficiary of our charitable giving was the H.O.P.E. Foundation. Please watch these short videos to learn more about this amazing program through the stories of the young mums who have changed their lives and the lives of their children.

Watch the stories of brave new mums who have come through the H.O.P.E. Program.

Take control of your wellbeing journey and access support your way

At AccessEAP, our vision is for each person to be their best at life and work. It’s important to us, and we have developed a program of works to ensure we can support this vision by working with you and your people. This includes empowering our people, connecting with people and excellence in all we do. These strategic themes guide our pathway for innovation and bring innovation to life for us every day.

We partner with you to create mentally healthy and thriving workplaces and communities. Our latest wellbeing innovations directly support our vision and mission by allowing us to strengthen our partnership with you and connect directly to you and your people wherever they may be.

I am very excited to announce the launch of our new app AccessMyEAP, alongside our online Booking Portal and AccessChat instant messaging service.

This trio of online services put you and your people in control of your wellbeing journey.

AccessMyEAP app

Introducing your new app - AccessMyEAP

Get to know your AccessMyEAP App

It's brand new and just released for free download via Google Play and the App Store. We’re making it easy for you to access your own EAP and wellbeing services with our intuitive and dynamic app.

  • Put yourself in control of your mental health and wellbeing.
  • Make a booking to speak with one of our counsellors.
  • Read tips, strategies and new ways to support your mental health and wellbeing journey.
  • Choose your own wellbeing tools and resources based on your preferences, goals and interests.
  • Take your Wellbeing Check regularly. The questions are based on the positive psychology PERMAH model. 
  • Monitor your results with your personal Wellbeing Tracker.

This free service is provided to you by your employer as part of your EAP services. 

We’re here to help you be your best at life and work. Get started today. 

Harness Flexibility

COVID-19 continues to surprise us with how quickly things can change. Last week, our government leaders were talking about bringing down all interstate travel restrictions in time for Christmas. Now, as Melbourne emerges from their extended physical distancing, our thoughts are with those people in South Australia as they go into their own heightened physical distancing. The stand-out lesson for all of us throughout the year is a constant need to adapt quickly to what's going on around us. Our ability to cope with change, be resilient and deal with uncertainty and the unknown have been front and centre for everyone.

Appropriately, flexibility is a word with many meanings.  What flexibility means to you and your people is important to discover and define. Everyone can benefit from building their flexibility, as being be flexible helps us draw on our other strengths, such as resilience. As leaders, demonstrating that we are flexible and responsive to each of our people and teams, and drawing on this strength improves our people's work/life balance, levels of trust, creativity, productivity and ultimately retain and grow our people. We've created two new tools that highlight the benefits and challenges involved with strengthening flexibility across a number of personal and organisational areas. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website. 

Earlier this month we turned our spotlight to highlighting the real issue of domestic and family violence, I would like to acknowledge the observance of White Ribbon Day this month and a very special announcement - AccessEAP has received White Ribbon Accreditation. To achieve accreditation, we successfully met 15 criteria under three standards and are now recognised as a workplace that is taking active steps to stop violence against women. Learn more here.

To say workspaces are evolving in response to the pandemic is probably an understatement. Flexibility is just one aspect which has been accelerated. Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

 

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels
 

AccessEAP is now a White Ribbon accredited workplace

AccessEAP is proud to announce that we have successfully completed the White Ribbon Australia Workplace Accreditation Program.

The program, facilitated by community service organisation Communicare, involves a whole of organisation commitment to address issues of gendered violence and sexual harassment against women.

It’s a great honour to be a White Ribbon Australia Workplace and to play our part in responding to and ending violence against women. We took part in the accreditation process because we wanted to equip our staff with the knowledge and resources to better understand what gendered violence is, how to identify it and what they can do to prevent it. Whether in the workplace, or broader community, we all have a responsibility to stand up and speak out against behaviours that contribute to gendered violence, support women affected by it, and hold perpetrators accountable.

At AccessEAP, we strive for an inclusive and safe working environment for staff at all levels of our organisation. The White Ribbon Australia accreditation process has strengthened that internal culture.

To achieve accreditation, we had to meet 15 criteria under three standards to create a safer and more respectful workplace which is taking active steps to stop violence against women. The program is internationally recognised and to date has reached more than 600,000 employees nationally. As explained by White Ribbon Australia Executive Director Brad Chilcott, “Violence against women impacts on the health and safety of employees, their wellbeing and their productivity. It also has a negative impact on workplace culture, organisational reputation and bottom-line profit and loss."

At AccessEAP we are proud to join more than 240 Australian workplaces who have achieved accreditation. We stand by White Ribbon Australia who urges all Australian workplaces to undertake the accreditation process and demonstrate a culture of zero tolerance of violence against women. White Ribbon Australia is a part of a global social movement working to eliminate gendered violence, striving for an Australian society where all women and children are safe, including in our workplaces.

NAIDOC Week 2020

This year due to the pandemic NAIDOC Week was celebrated from November 8-15th; however, some groups decided to celebrate at the usual time in July. We are certainly in need of reasons to celebrate and NAIDOC week provides a great opportunity for all Australians. NAIDOC Week marks an important time for First Nations Peoples as it’s a time of celebration and connection with each other, community and country, symbolising respect, sharing of culture, a time of reflection, healing and pride for all Australians.

Non First Nations leaders in Australia can feel unsure and worried about how to develop cultural sensitivity and ways to learn and nurture relationships with cultural respect. With Cultural Awareness, listening, learning and making a commitment to increasing our knowledge and cultural sensitivity are important steps toward building confidence and cultural competence. It is a journey and requires commitment, patience and effort with great rewards.

This week the spotlight is turned on strengthening understanding of the rich cultural history, heritage and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and celebrate together with First Nations Employees or organisations. Our new tools focus on how you and your people can move forward in the area of cultural competence at an organisational level but also on a very practical personal level. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website. 

As part of our journey toward cultural competency at AccessEAP non First Nations Employees completed Arilla Cultural Competency training earlier this year. We found that straight away we were better equipped to understand that cultural competency is an ongoing journey. This led to the launch of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Dedicated Support Line, which I encourage you to make use of and learn more about here

     

Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

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.

Complex Conflict

There is undoubtedly a sense of relief as we see our friends and colleagues in Victoria getting many of their freedoms back. We have seen a rise in feelings of optimism and more positive emotions replacing feelings of disempowerment, isolation or hopelessness experienced in recent weeks. What we’re also seeing is a rise in more complex conflict and to a greater degree than what’s been experienced before. Conflict over more issues simultaneously, and increasingly shifting from person to person to team-based conflict.

Great leaders know how to foster and manage conflict in ways that help individuals and teams realise that conflict when engaged in positively, can be enormously empowering for individuals and teams. However, left unchecked and unresolved, it can lead to frustration and reduced productivity. As a leader, when to step in and when to let the team learn and grow from conflict is not an easy call to make.

As a leader, it is vital to role model positive behaviours, manage your emotions, listen to your people, understand what is driving stress and be open about what those drivers are. You are then better equipped to have open conversations, try to simplify the issues and use conflict situations to move forward. We have spoken recently about harnessing conflict for positive change; however, this week’s leader and personal tools address team-based conflict and strategies for your people to apply in situations where complex conflict is becoming a problem. We've created new Tools focusing on team-based conflict and strategies for dealing with conflict. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website. 

If we can take something positive from the events of this year, it may just be that we have had to adapt quickly and take a good look at the way we work; what works and what we can leave behind when we imagine the new work environments we will create post-COVID. Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

Responding to Domestic and Family Violence during the Pandemic

When I think about the statistics on domestic and family violence, it’s hard to understand the numbers. It’s even harder to think about the real-life impact of what has occurred and is occurring right now. If at least 1 in 61 women is affected, there could be victims and perpetrators somewhere in any of our workplaces or personal lives. Could it be that they are very good at hiding what is going on? How do we make sure that as leaders we are doing all we can to ensure that those impacted by domestic violence feel psychologically safe and able to seek support? Last week our spotlight was on trust. Trust is vital in helping support our people who may be impacted by domestic and family violence. Our role is to facilitate support, we are not expected to have all the answers, and in many cases there will not be a solution.

This week we turn our spotlight on supporting people across all organisations to respond to domestic and family violence during the pandemic.

The 25th of November is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women with White Ribbon Day on Friday, 20th November.  At AccessEAP, we strongly support these awareness days, particularly with the severity and frequency of domestic violence reported increasing as a result of the pandemic2. Often the workplace is known to provide a safe place for victims of domestic and family violence. Working from home and other restrictions has increased isolation and the natural circuit breaker that leaving the home provides for both victim and perpetrator. Organisations have a vital role to play by raising awareness of this issue, understanding when and how to offer support, and addressing attitudes in the workplace which perpetuate domestic violence. 

We recognise that this is a topic which causes unease and we appreciate you taking the time to think about this very hard topic. However, there are things you can do that will help and make it easier for victims as well as those supporting victims, we've created two new tools to assist you. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website. 

At AccessEAP, we are sensitive and equipped to deal with the complexities of all forms of violence (domestic, family and intimate partner) that may occur. We encourage you to reach out for support, especially at this difficult time given the unique pressures created by the pandemic. We offer Psychological Counselling and 1-1 Support, as well as Domestic and Family Violence training offerings.  Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

 

References

https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/behaviours-risk-factors/domestic-violence/overview
https://www.aic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-07/sb28_prevalence_of_domestic_violence_among_women_during_covid-19_pandemic.pdf

Cultivating Trust

This week we are really pleased to see restrictions eased in Victoria. We want to acknowledge the sacrifices that people have made, as it has been a very challenging time. It’s also important to call out the strengths that people have shown throughout this - resilience, endurance and trust. Victorians in workspaces across the state have had to reach out for help and trust that their colleagues including those in other states would be there for them. 

This experience in particular, and the pandemic in general, highlights the importance of trust. We have seen world leaders rated in terms of trust and the success of their efforts fighting COVID-19 directly relate to whether their people trust that they are equipped to successfully lead them. We have seen how invaluable having the trust of your people is when uncertainty and change are the only constants.

We're turning our spotlight on trust and building trusting teams.

The positive traits are great foundations to build upon. Optimism, realism, hope, self-belief and trust are traits that help us survive and then thrive. Trust is a critical leadership lifestyle and one that can not be switched off and on. As leaders, we need to consistently support an environment where our people can trust us and each other. Allowing people to be their natural best, displaying vulnerability and asking for help when they need it builds on the strength and potential of individuals and teams.

We've created new Tools focussing on ways to build trust and the importance of self-trust. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website. 

At AccessEAP, we work hard to ensure we are trusted to provide confidential support in a safe environment where people can be their authentic self and ask for help without fear of judgement. Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

 

Photo by fauxels from Pexels
 

Career Transition and Redundancy Support

It is an unfortunate part of the current economic situation that difficult decisions relating to redundancies may need to be made. Redundancies often cause anxiety and uncertainty. How your organisation handles redundancy can send a powerful message on how you value your people. At AccessEAP, we recognise the difficulties faced at this time and can support you to lead your people through change with respect and compassion.

Right now, those facing redundancy and job loss are particularly vulnerable as they may already be experiencing a household with reduced income and mental health issues related to the pandemic. Combine this with potentially restricted job opportunities, and people may need additional support to get them into a position where they feel more confident to prepare for a new job opportunity or search.

Our Career Transition and Redundancy Support services help people deal with change, position them to thrive in the future and offer practical support so that they feel more confident to enter the job market.

In the Employer Login Area of our website you will find details on our Career Transition and Redundancy services. Please feel free to contact your Realtionship Manager for more information or to discuss these services in greater detail concerning your specific needs.

2020 Wellbeing in Focus Calendar

Updated 6Mth Planner

The way the world looked to us when we created the 2020 Wellbeing in Focus Calendar is a different place to where we are now. In response, we created a 6Mth Planner for you and your people. The 6Mth Planner focuses on building resilience in your workforce and supporting the performance of your people. 

As we continue through 2020, check out our Wellbeing in Focus Calendar. 

The AccessEAP Wellbeing in Focus Calendar is a great way to plan monthly activity around the areas that may be of particular importance to your organisation while making sure you are aware of a wider range of topics. Our 6 Month Planner gives a great overview while the quarterly themes help you to deliver information in manageable parts, highlighting importance and focusing attention.

Our 2020 Wellbeing in Focus Calendar is available through the Employer Login Area of the AccessEAP website.

Supporting Working Parents

During the pandemic, we have been given insights into so many previously unseen lives. There have been stories in the media of frontline workers carrying on in the face of real adversity. We have seen leaders struggle and the mask covered faces of people trying to keep their businesses, families and way of life going in some form. We have seen a little or in some cases a whole lot more into the lives of our people. From the tech-savvy who entertain us with their everchanging exotic or fanciful backgrounds to the unashamed pyjama or tracksuit wearing team members with a pet on their lap. Whatever we see, it's what we hear that provides a fuller picture, the voices of young children or the excited bark of a dog who has decided its always time for a walk.

We all have lives outside of work, people who depend on us, whether it be partners, children, older parents or close friends and family, they demand our attention and can give us a great deal of worry as well as a great deal of joy. This week we turn our spotlight to supporting the mental health of working parents or caregivers and the children they care for.

Although there is a sense of so many people being affected by the pandemic in so many different ways, the mental health and wellbeing of children and teens is something that has been given significant media coverage. It is the subject of research projects across the globe, in Australia one such survey found that up to 10% of the children of the 700 families surveyed may need support for anxiety and depression. The other side of that is a positive story 80% of the children were found to have good mental and emotional health.1

Supporting your people who have caregiver responsibilities is not always easy, particularly when we are managing the economic and social constraints of government restrictions put in place to protect the community.  We've created tools to provide some practical ways for you as leaders to support working parents and for parents to help their children, particularly teens as many of the nation's 17-18 year-olds face their final exams. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website.

As we continue to focus on Mental Health this month, I encourage you to share your experiences in supporting parents and caregivers with us. Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

 

Keeping Mentally Healthy

We’re well and truly into Mental Health Awareness Month, and continuing the fantastic conversations from R U OK? Day. It’s easy to focus on one day as it focuses our attention. It can be less easy when we try and keep the conversation going over a month, as the day to day demands on our attention start to take up more of our minds.  

This week we’d like to invite all of us to take a moment to rebuild and reinvest in our mental health and wellbeing.

As our personal circumstances continue to evolve through the pandemic, we’ve become accustomed to doing things in certain ways. These coping behaviours have served us well. Will they continue to be the best way to support our mental health and wellbeing as we move into a future where movement, border and travel restrictions no longer impact us? How can we take the best of our coping behaviours to grow into our future? What are the things you would like to see your people and teams carry with them in the future?

We've created new Tips and Tools on Supporting yourself and others and Keeping Mentally Healthy. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website. 

We need to keep the conversation about Mental Health going. We know it isn’t easy, but we are here to support you and your people. Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

 

Photo by fauxels from Pexels

Maintaining a Positive Outlook

Kicking off mental health month, we wanted to take the time for a refresher on maintaining a positive outlook – or at least a balanced outlook. There are a lot of negative stories in the media at the moment and uncertainty about what the future holds. Even when we hear good news such as the easing of restrictions in Victoria, we can't help but feel the sting of what has been lost. Can you easily name something positive that has happened in your work or life this week?

The ability to find balance in our thoughts and feelings is a skill that can be learnt and strengthened. Positive thinking can reduce stress, anxiety and feelings of depression; however, it isn't about forcing a smile no matter what. Positive thinking benefits us because it relies on maintaining both an optimistic and realistic mindset using your strengths and working through challenges with greater optimism than pessimism.

This week we turn our spotlight on maintaining a positive outlook.

We have created two new strategies and tips, and a gentle reminder to make use of the resources available in your state or territory to mark Mental Health Week or Month. How can we, as leaders, model a balanced approach to support positivity as we face constant change and challenges? Our personal and leader tools give you some tips on how to help build these skills in your team. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website.

Positivity can help us to move forward in many situations but not all. We are here to support you and your people no matter the nature of your concerns. Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

Navigating Conflict

It’s tough to always be your best. Now more than ever the challenge to constantly be our best as leaders, lead with kindness, empathy and respect and respond in ways that support others can tax even the most resilient of us. It’s easy when emotions are heightened to react in ways we usually wouldn’t, as we have a million different things running around our heads. It’s easy to say something that might be misinterpreted or rub someone up the wrong way. It’s equally as easy to interpret something in a way that wasn’t intended. Conflict is a normal part of life, and very often a catalyst for positive change. It is also part of being human.

This week we’re turning our spotlight onto conflict.

How can we harness conflict and foster positive outcomes? Our clinical data shows an increase in conflict – at home, at work and in the community. It’s completely understandable as many people across Australia and New Zealand have had their lives and workspaces closed, changed completely or even remain open serving the public throughout the pandemic. Some people report feeling burnt out or struggling to keep their emotional balance. Some of us desperately want our lives or daily routine back to return to normal. Conflict can often be found during times of change.

How can you harness conflict in positive ways? How we, as leaders, respond to conflict is critical to supporting your people and their responses to conflict. We've created new Tips and Tools on Navigating Conflict. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website.

Navigating conflict can be challenging. We are here to support you through this. Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

Covid-19 Resources

During this unprecedented and rapidly changing set of circumstances, we all find ourselves in, our Clinical and Organisational Development teams are creating a growing resource bank of tools for you and your people. These Personal and Leader Tools are uploaded weekly to the COVID-19 Toolkits in our Employer and Employee Login Areas. These tools include relevant and timely support for managers and leaders as well as support at an individual level. 

Access the Employer Login Area here          -          Access the Employee Login Area here

For more information and updates, see our Recent News section on our homepage:

Government Resources 

We also recommend keeping up to date with the latest government guidelines, rules and recommendations. Please refer to helpful links below:

Protecting yourself and others: Australian Government, Department of Health

Health concerns: COVID-19 24 hour helpline: 1800 020 080

Turning to kindness

We know how easy it has become for people and teams to feel isolated, anxious, disengaged, separated, overwhelmed and drained. It can be tough to be your best in life and work in a pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, it has become easier for our thoughts to also become infected, taxing our reserves of resilience and coping. At times like these, it’s the simple things that can make the most difference. Be kind to your people leaders. They’re doing the best they can leading through unprecedented times. Be kind to your people. They’re doing the best they can to do their jobs and support your organisation. Be kind to friends, family and loved ones. Be kind to those strangers you do have a chance to interact with. Most importantly, be kind to yourselves, so that you can then be kind to others. We all feel like we’re juggling work, life and people commitments and balance these in new ways.

This week we’re turning our spotlight onto the power of kindness. Our tools are all ways to help your leaders and people to be kind, compassionate and patient with themselves and each as we all live through the pandemic. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website.

The continuation of R U OK? Day conversations is a simple yet powerful of showing kindness to those around you. You don’t need to do this alone. Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

Exploring diversity through the pandemic

We know that one of the greatest challenges for people leaders right now is finding a pragmatic balance between meeting your people’s immediate needs and leading through the pandemic . A common human reaction during times of stress, anxiety and uncertainty is to feel isolated within ourselves. Those of us who feel more vulnerable may find themselves feeling that only those who have gone through something similar can understand. But one of the greatest strengths we as humans can share with each other is our ability to empathise and try and see things from other’s perspectives. Leaders should strive to ensure communication goes both ways by creating opportunities for teams to give feedback/share ideas. “Can we shift our perspective to find just one benefit? Together, we are here for the long haul.” The richness and diversity of our experiences, when unleashed by shifting perspectives, helped us get ‘unstuck’ and work together on finding solutions.

In dealing with our own, or our people’s responses to the pandemic one thing we’ve noticed is the sheer range of ways people have used to get through the pandemic. These coping strategies have varied greatly between people, and even within individuals as we are trying to draw on whatever might work at any given moment. What might have worked last month probably looks different this month. Even day to day, how we cope shifts.

This week we've created new Tips and Tools on Supporting your wellbeing and Exploring diversity through the pandemic. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website. Following on from R U OK? Day we have also included an R U OK? Tips & Strategies resource to keep the conversation going.  

We encourage each and every one of you to take some time for your self-care. Investing in your own self-care means that you are better able to be the support someone else might need. Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.