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Queensland Museum Network: Health and wellbeing at work

The Queensland Museum Network (QMN) is a statutory authority of Arts Queensland. It provides museum services throughout the state, employing approximately 315 staff across five sites, which include:

  • Queensland Museum (Brisbane) including the Sciencentre
  • The Workshops Rail Museum (Ipswich)
  • Cobb+Co Museum (Toowoomba)
  • Museum of Tropical Queensland (Townsville)
  • Museum of Lands, Mapping and Surveying, (Brisbane) in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.

QMN introduced staff health and wellbeing initiatives in 2014. Soon after, a call for expressions of interest for health and wellbeing champions went out to each site.

The program

QMN's health and wellbeing program is integrated within the organisation's health and safety systems and aims to support employees to obtain information and participate in activities that can help them to manage and improve their own health.

In 2014, QMN received a small amount of funding through the Healthier.Happier.Workplaces funding program. In the last twelve months QMN's health and wellbeing program has included organisational (healthy places) strategies and individual (healthy people) to address the risk factors for chronic disease such as lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, obesity and poor mental health.

Management commitment

The QMN's Strategic Plan 2015-2019 has a goal of investing in its people, and a vibrant health and wellbeing program is considered part of that investment.

QMN senior management support is evident. Many senior managers now participate in program activities and acknowledge that it is an important organisational resource for staff and managers to manage their health and stress levels. The chief executive officer has demonstrated support for health and wellbeing by supporting the inclusion of health and wellbeing KPI's into the health and wellbeing champions' position description and performance plans.

Comprehensive planning

The health and wellbeing coordinator supports the health and wellbeing champions within each site to engage staff, foster participation, design activities that respond to the needs of staff and encourage staff to make healthy changes.

Health and wellbeing champions have received training to build their capacity and enable them to support staff health and wellbeing activities on their site and maximise the sustainability of activities undertaken.

A multi-strategy approach

QMN's health and wellbeing strategies include:

  • health information and education for staff (through monthly newsletters, intranet, information sessions and health and well-being champions)
  • programs to support behaviour change (such as 12 week challenges, organised walks and yoga)
  • organisationalsystems to support healthy behaviours in the long term (such as champion training and physical infrastructure).

Targeted initiatives

QMN's health and wellbeing initiatives include:

  • staff information sessions on healthy eating, physical activity and mental health
  • a 12 week challenge that provided:
    • a website with interactive links, participant work books and fact sheets
    • a tracker to document weekly goals including activity, eating patterns, mindfulness meditation and stress management
    • lunchtime dietician and mindfulness talks
    • organised walks and fitness classes.
  • Tai chi, Qi Gong, yoga and Pilates classes
  • pool and yoga passes for staff to 'come and try'
  • organised walks
  • fitness equipment such as basketball hoop and balls, treadmill, table tennis table, spin bike and other fitness equipment such as bands, fitball and stepping machine
  • monthly health and wellbeing newsletters
  • health and wellbeing champions at each site, trained by an expert in workplace health and wellbeing.

The 12 week challenge provided a boost to the overall health and wellbeing program with 23 per cent of QMN staff participating. Improvements to staff health and wellbeing continued after the 12 week challenge, through education materials and information sessions, and workplace infrastructure such as fitness equipment.

The coordinator believes staff are more motivated to get moving and healthy catering options are becoming more common as a result of information sessions on healthy eating. Staff can be observed using the fitness equipment at each site with positive feedback received. Some sites are embarking on new health and wellbeing programs such as the introduction of boot camp sessions at the Toowoomba based Cobb+Co Museum site.

Results

The introduction of QMN's health and wellbeing program has resulted in many positives including:

  • increased staff knowledge of physical activity, healthy eating and strategies to manage stress
  • growing recognition from managers and staff of the beneficial effect of the health and wellbeing program
  • high participation rates with 32 per cent of staff participating in activities
  • observable changes in eating patterns with more healthy options for morning teas and staff celebrations
  • organisational recognition for health and wellbeing KPIs in staff performance plans.

Further development of the program, with active participation and planning by staff, will see the QMN health and wellbeing program continue to improve, enabling QMN to become a best practice employer.

More information

Preventing illness and injury is an investment in your workforce. Find out what your organisation can do to improve health and wellbeing in your workplace: