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How small teams can protect workplace mental health: Sleep Health Foundation 

Find out why having a small team is not a barrier to creating a mentally healthy workplace.  

Sleep Health Foundation - Unsplash
  • The Sleep Health Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation working to improve wellbeing by emphasising the importance of better sleep.   
  • Leading a small team, CEO Dr Moira Junge recognised trust was paramount so workers feel comfortable communicating openly.   
  • Dr Junge found being empathetic and transparent about her experience helped. She leads by example, prioritising her mental health and wellbeing, and treating mental health equally with physical health.  

Sleep Health Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve lives by emphasising the importance of better sleep. With the help of sleep experts, they develop and distribute educational information about the value and effectiveness of a good night’s sleep.   

As a small organisation with only 2 workers, CEO Dr Moira Junge recognised strong, long-term relationships were important. She implemented several strategies to build trust and foster success for the organisation and its workers:  

  • Understand people’s intentions and expectations for work.  
  • Clearly define job roles and workload intentions (e.g. not calling after hours or expecting people to work outside the office).  
  • Implement a probationary period so workers can see if the job is a good fit.   
  • Create opportunities for workers to achieve personal career goals and develop skills they can use for their current and any future roles.  
  • Conduct regular wellbeing check-ins where people can express themselves honestly and without judgment.    

Dr Junge values mental health and wellbeing in the workplace and leads by example. At the beginning of every year, she allocates extra leave days around public holidays, to ensure there is time to relax and recharge. Personal sustainability requires time and energy, and these extra days allows the small team to connect with themselves and their families.   

Dr Junge recognises the stigma around mental health, and that people often hesitate to talk about mental health concerns that impact their work. “Sometimes, someone takes the day off, citing physical illness, when actually they’re having an ‘off day’ mentally and need rest,” she says.   

Dr Junge works to break down that stigma by approaching situations with understanding and empathy, mirroring the ethos of open, honest communication within the organisation.   

“Open, honest communication is a 2-way street. Everyone has to be involved to maintain it.” Dr Moira Junge, CEO  

Dr Junge has some advice for others wanting to create a safe space for people to talk about their mental health and wellbeing:  

  • Be transparent about your experience and reality within the workplace. Take breaks, extend deadlines or take time off when you need to.   
  • Actively listen to people.   
  • Be flexible and understanding about unforeseen circumstances and make space to accommodate them.   

Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • All locations
  • Published 25 Jul 2023
  • Updated 25 Jul 2023