Small business operators often face significant psychological strain arising from high workload, compromised work-life balance and financial pressures.
While small business operators, and particularly sole traders, experience the benefits of high levels of control, with this can come the challenge of a sense of isolation.
To inspire their own workers and help others deal with these issues, an agribusiness has featured in a new film highlighting its journey to better workplace mental health.
OBE Organic is an Australian premium organic meat producer and exporter formed in the 1990s by a group of pastoral families. The company has a strong vision to support farmers and rural producers by forming active partnerships to support its employees and people in their supply chains.
OBE’s mental health journey started in 2018 following external consultant recommendations and research - along with OBE managing director Dalene’s own experiences.
Dalene said a mentally healthy workplace helps workers be more productive, with less absenteeism.
“In agriculture, in particular, people don't really talk about their feelings,” she said.
“I think it's really powerful to be in a workplace where you can come to work and say, I'm feeling a bit off today. And you can have people ask you the right questions and give you advice even if you don't necessarily think you need it.”
The new film, produced with support from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, reinforces the importance of eliminating or minimising psychosocial hazards and risks through good work design practices, fostering a culture of health and safety and designing healthy and safe work – with OBE providing a practical example of how to do it right.
The film is just part of the ongoing commitment OBE has pledged to promote mentally healthy workplaces. It has even developed its own mental health committee, action plan, as well as a variety of templates and processes to support individuals and managers. Its efforts have been rewarded with recognition from Mental Health First Aid Australia as a gold mental health first aid skilled workplace.
OBE Organic’s commitment to promote positive mental health in their industry is evident through the open dialogue they maintain with stakeholders through various channels.