What's the one thing you should look for in a warehouse? Mental well-being.

20 November 2023

Increasingly, mental health is becoming as important as physical safety at work. It’s a key component of both productivity and safety in the workplace – and that includes warehousing.  

Our new ESG Strategy has a renewed focus on social impact and we’ve set the bar high with a target of $1 billion of social value creation by 2030 – we’re committed to bolstering our focus on the industrial sector.  

So, what does it mean to provide a “mentally healthy” workplace? 

A mentally healthy workplace is one where employees feel respected, supported, and free to speak about concerns or stress. It’s a place where risks to mental health are managed, where people with mental health conditions are supported, and there is help readily available for employees to stay at or return to work 

Businesses that are looking to provide an environment of optimal mental wellbeing for their employees must also include a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination on any grounds, such as disability, gender, sexual orientation, or race. 

Whether a business has 5 or 500 employees, there are benefits to both employer and employee in building mentally healthy workplaces: 

  • improved wellbeing and mental health 
  • fewer injuries and sick days 
  • greater job satisfaction 
  • increased productivity 
  • increased worker engagement 
  • reduced staff turnover and attendant costs. 

Starting the conversation and sharing resources outside of the workplace 

It’s important to start a conversation with employees, and within the employee group, to “normalise” discussions about mental health and to make it easier for staff to discuss and address any issues that may be occurring. 

However, it’s also important to provide access to external resources for staff to find help with mental wellness issues as not all staff will feel comfortable reaching out to their co-workers. It’s a good idea to provide staff with access to some kind of support service, even if you're unsure they need it, like an employee assistance program 

Similarly, publicising initiatives, like RUOK? Day and Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds Foundation, can also make a positive contribution.  

Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds Foundation, for example, promotes the prevention and understanding of known mental health issues that exist across the road transport and logistics industries in Australia. Their overarching aim is to build a psychologically safe, healthy, and thriving working environment for truck drivers, distribution centre and warehouse staff, and other road transport industry members. Providing access to mental health resources is one of the simplest and most effective things employers can do to create a welcoming and supportive warehouse environment. 

Location and mental wellbeing in warehousing  

Yet, warehouse workers are just as in need of community and wellbeing facilities as any other industry. Warehouses are often situated in remote locations on the fringes of communities so cannot provide workers with easy access to open spaces, gyms, and other wellness features, such as leisure activities and cafes 

Within Stockland’s Logistics portfolio, this has become a point of increased consideration and many warehouse locations are within 5km of a number of wellbeing facilities. For example: 

  • Hendra Industrial Estate has green spaces for tenants to enjoy 
  • Coopers Paddock, Yennora Distribution Centre and Oakleigh Industrial Estate all offer added amenity through a communal café  
  • Melbourne Business Park has plans for increased amenity and green space 

On-site wellbeing facilities 

Designating “relax/calm” spaces into warehouses allows employees to take a break and provides an opportunity to “re-set” during busy days. These areas can be custom built or existing spaces can be transformed into “break” or “wellbeing rooms”.  

Our working lives affect our mental health profoundly, and in return our mental health affects our work success and how we relate to our fellow workers. When work is good, it provides us with a sense of purpose, belonging, achievement and self-esteem – and that is something all Australian workers deserve across the board.  

Further mental wellbeing resources: