Out & About: Wayne Schwass
It may not be a hot topic for watercooler gossip around the office, but did you know that mental health and wellbeing is the number one issue facing Australian workplaces right now? With over 90% of employees experiencing burnout in 2021, wellbeing issues in business are on a worrying upward trend. Clearly something needs to change, but it’s a difficult task when those much-needed conversations about mental health are often still so taboo in the workplace.
Luckily for all of us, addressing this issue is Wayne Schwass‘ specialty. With over 16 years of experience in educating and presenting on mental health, we can all benefit from Wayne’s guidance right now. With so much important wisdom to share as an educator, speaker and presenter, Wayne holds the key to understanding what is holding us back from beginning our wellbeing journey. He’s on a mission to help as many individuals and organisations as he can with his specialist knowledge.
He may now be one of Australia’s premier mental health speakers, but Wayne also understands first-hand what it is like to struggle with mental health issues in the workplace. As a former AFL star – one of the most highly rated players in AFL history in fact – he suffered from debilitating depression while at the peak of his career. After overcoming these experiences and becoming one of the first footballers to talk openly about depression, Wayne built a career not only as a highly regarded AFL commentator and broadcaster, but also as a wellbeing expert who has been starting important conversations about mental health since 2006. As founder of both The Sunrise Foundation and, more recently, PukaUp, this incredible individual has made the most of his lived experience to facilitate thousands of authentic and open conversations around mental health, emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention in schools, workplaces and beyond.
Wayne is a firm believer that creating a workplace environment where everybody can feel safe to talk about mental health is crucial to your team’s and organisation’s wellbeing, and he knows exactly how to make this happen. As a deeply inspiring speaker, he has proven time and time again that he can change the landscape of any office with his practical strategies and techniques to facilitate these important conversations and prioritise mental health in any business. With a powerful ability to establish an authentic and genuine connection with audiences, he’s a specialist in creating an environment within which everybody in the workplace can feel supported to talk openly and honestly about mental health.
While companies shouldn’t need an incentive to prioritise workplace wellbeing, it’s also now abundantly clear that a happy and healthy team will always be better for business. The stats are extraordinary. When employees thrive, they are not only 125% less likely to burnout and far more likely to be satisfied at work, but also 32% less likely to leave the organisation and an astounding six times more likely to be engaged with their tasks. Clearly, workplace wellbeing is important both for individuals and their employers. However, regardless of the impact it can have on office performance, these important conversations need to be encouraged simply because it’s the right thing to do.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have changed the way we think about a traditional workplace environment, but the ripple effects have only amplified pre-existing issues around wellbeing in business. Supporting your team’s health and happiness has never been more important, and it is becoming increasingly evident that something needs to change. Right now, we need the guidance of thought leaders like Wayne Schwass more than ever. With his extensive expertise, lived experience and a vulnerable and passionate storytelling capacity, there’s nobody we trust more to facilitate these important conversations around mental health and inspire lasting and material change in your workplace.