About the initiatives
Craze Lateral Solutions (CLS) is a small mental health and social policy consulting company comprising three core staff. It has been operating since 1990. The company works with a number of subcontractors who provide support on a project basis. Staff work in a home-office environment.
As a very small company, resources for internal mental health initiatives are limited. CLS's primary focus for improving employees' mental health is through its local Bushcare Group. The office is located near a golf course with a large amount of native vegetation that the golf course can't afford to maintain, and the Bushcare Group helps out by weeding, planting, mulching and watering. When an employee’s stress levels rise, they take a break to work in the Bushcare sites and return to their work refreshed.
At CLS, staff actively keep in touch via email or verbally with a simple ‘are you OK?’ question and respond by looking for a solution when stress levels are elevated (such as sharing the workload). This support helps staff to stay mentally healthy. For CLS, the end of the financial year is a peak period for the business, making it a stressful period for staff, so they recognise this and look for ways of reducing the workload and stress at this time of the year.
In addition to the Bushcare Group, CLS recently implemented a Friday happy hour gathering with nearby friends and colleagues who also work from home offices and encourage staff to take a morning tea break each day.
How the initiatives came about
As CLS is a small company with limited resources, staff face increased demands during busy periods and do not get a chance to take breaks. The directors realised this was placing stress on them and acknowledged the need to focus on their mental health.
Benefits and outcomes
Benefits and outcomes include:
- after working in the Bushcare sites, employees feel refreshed and difficult problems seem easier to solve
- staff members are more aware of their stress levels and how to cope
- gardening provides opportunities for social interaction with other local home workers.