Redesigning work

One of the key factors that contributes to a mentally healthy workplace is good work design.

Good work design not only minimises workplace risks associated with poor mental health but also supports engagement and promotes wellbeing.

As the HBR article states: “we can’t fix today’s burnout culture with a wellness app. What it takes, instead, is a mindset and culture shift among managers and organizations everywhere.”

The article talks about how taking pressure off your team and asking for less effort will help to create high-performing teams without burning people out.

Renee from Thrive Lab suggests the following questions to help you start thinking about work redesign:

Have we right-sized these roles? How do we manage our incoming pipeline and our capacity?

  • Are people clear on what kind of work adds the most value, and are they working to their strengths?
  • Do they have autonomy about how they deliver?
  • Have we created a working environment that supports focus and value-add work, or are we designing for distraction?
  • Do employees enjoy supportive relationships with their colleagues?

These are questions of work design.

If you want to promote employee wellbeing – AND help your people be more effective – then it makes sense to focus on work design.

But how to start?

As design and advisory professionals, we’re familiar with the design process:

  • Determine what the problem or opportunity is
  • Identify a range of potential solutions
  • Select a preferred solution and develop it in detail
  • Roll it out and ensure that it is effective

Work redesign can follow the same process, but you’re focusing on internal challenges, rather than the client brief.

Redesigning work

Renee Jaine of Thrive Lab and the Business Leaders Health and Safety Forum have developed a guide to help organisations to improve the mental wellbeing of their people. It sets out a four-step process that organisations can follow to promote mental wellbeing.

Thrive Lab

Renee Jaine of Thrive Lab can also work with you and your team throughout any stage of your wellbeing journey. Workshops Renee offers include:

  • Diagnostic Workshops – How are your people going? What are the main psychosocial risks that they face, and the protective factors that reduce stress and promote wellbeing? As an independent, Renee can help you to get under the hood and better understand the employee experience. You’ll come away rich insights, key focus areas to improve wellbeing, and concrete next steps.
  • Ideation Workshops – Do you already understand what affects your people’s wellbeing, but you aren’t sure what to do next? This workshop is for you. Using tools from Design Thinking, Renee will help you to generate solutions and stress-test these for impact and feasibility. She will also offer guidance on how to prototype and pilot-test solutions, so you can begin to make real change.
  • Coaching and Change Support – If you’d like longer-term support as you seek to improve your employees’ wellbeing, Renee can help. She has experience designing and rolling out change initiatives for the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum – working with Frucor Suntory, AsureQuality and Lifeline to address psychosocial risks – more information can be found in the above Redesigning work guide.
You can contact Renee at
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