To help businesses and organisations as they build and support mentally healthy work, we have carried out research to understand what makes a good day for workers.
On this page:
- Research summary: Work-related wellbeing
- Pasifika workers
- Māori workers
- Construction workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Young workers
- Healthcare workers
What good looks like
This research sought to help understand how workers perceive the relationship between work and wellbeing, and what factors are likely to enhance their work-related wellbeing.
This resource summarises findings from the research project to assist businesses and organisations.
Masalino: Hey, what's doing?
Interviewer: So. What does a good day at work look like?
Masalino: Oh, good day at work. A good day at work. Um, a good day at work would be turning up to work on time.
Interviewer: I hear you do something when it's a good day as well.
Masalino: When it's a good day at work, I love to sing [laughs] but yeah, I love to sing. And most days I'm always singing because, you know, we, we, we work really well together. We have a, we have an amazing team, so, um, yeah, most days are most days are a singing day. Yeah.
Interviewer: So what are some of the, uh, changes that your workplace has made to make that culture better?
Masalino: Oh, what are some of the changes? What I love about working, so I've worked at that place for while over 20, 20 years, 25 years, for a long time. Now we, we acknowledge one another equally and, and that took a long time. But what we're able to do now is, is go every day, knowing that somebody is gonna call me by my first name and for me as a Samoan coming from Samoa, um, living life in Samoa, having somebody call you by your name is A, a sign of respect and B, it tells you that somebody is making an effort to actually know you. And so people, you know, and it's, it's pretty cool cause they started calling me Masalino and, and then it became like Mase. And then I understood, man, this is, these guys are my family now.
Interviewer: Why is that important for you to have your workmates like a second family?
Masalino: I think, yeah, I think it's really important to have everybody at work as, as my second family, because well, when I'm not at home with my family, everybody at work is entrusted with my safety and my health. Um, and, and who I am as a person. And you, as a family, you, you kind of look out for everybody in that sense. Um, growing up in Samoa was really important for us to look after one another, especially in our families, um, everybody had their responsibilities and just like the workplace, there's no different. This is why I think it's really important that I, this is why I call them my family is because if I have an issue I'm not scared to tell them how it is. If they have an issue, they shouldn't be fearful to come to me and ask me what my, what their problems are.
Interviewer: What impact does, uh, workplace with a strong family vibe? What impact does that have on you?
Masalino: It's a, it's healing, you know, it's healing and, and it's, it's great. It's great for your soul. It's great for how you, how you look at life. Um, you know, you you're clear in the mind, you know, you, your, your thought process is just it's, it's just, it's far more crystal, you know, it's crystal clear. It's like water [laughs], you know, you're just like water, you know, family. You need it.
Interviewer: Thank you so much for your time.
Masalino: Fa'afetai lava, manuia lava le aso. So thank you so much.
This resource summarises findings from workers who identify as Pasifika who participated in the research project as a starting point for further consideration.
- Puataunofo “Come Home Safely” programme
- Yavu: Foundations of Pacific Engagement | Ministry for Pacific Peoples(external link)
- Equal Employment Opportunities Trust – report on engaging young Pacific workers(external link) (PDF, 951 KB)
- ‘Mental Wealth’ – resources | Le Va(external link)
- ‘Aunty Dee’ – resources | Le Va(external link)
This resource summarises findings from workers who identify as Māori who participated in the research project as a starting point for further consideration.
- Wellington Pipelines tikanga approach to health and safety
- Guidance for creating mentally healthy workplace environments for Māori | Mental Health Foundation(external link)
- Workplace kōrero card set | Mental Health Foundation(external link)
Interviewer: Hi, Greg.
Interviewer: So Greg, we wanna know what a, a good day at your work looks like.
Greg: Uh, good day at work. Just everything going smoothly, [laughs] Everything going according to plan, um, like to get things done on time. That's always good. That's a good day because then we know we're not gonna get called in to work Saturday and I'll miss my kids' sports games. [laughs] Uh, it's always a good day when the boss isn't stressing and yelling at you and stuff. Actually, it's a, it's a really good day when he actually notices what you're doing and acknowledges the hard work you've put in and, and says, you know, well done. Congratulations, you did a great job, uh, that really, that boosts morale a lot. You know,
Interviewer: Why is it important to have somebody on your side, like a mate at work?
Greg: Well, it's, uh, you know, it's important to trust, to have trust in your workmates, uh, to know that, I mean, especially in the job we're in it's, it is a high risk job and it's relatively dangerous. So just trusting them that, you know, they've got your back and I've got their back and stuff. It's, I think that's really important. So being closer to, to your workmates in that aspect, I think's pretty, pretty good, but, uh, also the aspect of just having someone to chat to, you know, being close to your workmates and being able to, um, offload some of your stuff, if, if you, if something's troubling you and just someone that's gonna listen, you know, like whether it's, whether it's to do with work stuff, uh, or personal life.
Interviewer: Thanks, Greg. Um, what is the impact that has on you? How does that affect who you are at home?
Greg: When I've had a good day? Ah, yeah, well, it also affects my energy levels. So if I have a good day at work, even though it's been physically hard, I have more energy. I'm not so deflated. And, uh, then I have more time, um, or more energy to play with my boys. And yeah, we play cricket out in, out in the yard and, um, throw, throw a rugby ball around and they ride their bikes and yeah, no, this quality time with my kids. Love it.
Interviewer: Thanks, Greg. That's us.
This resource summarises findings from construction workers who participated in the research project as a starting point for further consideration.
- GJ Gardner case study
- Resources for building a positive work culture
- Mates in Construction – helpline and resources(external link)
- SiteSafe – tools for mental health(external link)
- Five Ways to Wellbeing at Work | Mental Health Foundation(external link)
This resource summarises findings from manufacturing workers who participated in the research project as a starting point for further consideration.
- Workplace and facilities requirements
- Health and safety representatives
- Self-assessment of skills and knowledge within your business | Business.govt.nz(external link)
- Guidance for training, development, and coaching | Employment.govt.nz(external link)
- Building a just culture in the workplace | E Tū(external link)
Interviewer: So Ahi, what does a good day at your work look like?
Ahi: Um, a good day, a good day at work. Okay. A good day at work looks like, I think what everyone is working really hard together on a busy night. I really enjoy that because we have to communicate really well. There's like a sense of achievement at the end of it. And it feels like we're a team. And I think that sometimes those days start with our, um, like either the owner of the restaurant sometimes comes in and checks in, or our manager, you know, like checking in with us when we start our day. Um, that always makes a really big difference. And it makes me happy when someone has asked me how I am.
Interviewer: What about, um, when you have questions in the workplace, how, how does the culture work around that?
Ahi: So I think part of our culture in our workplace is being able to, I reckon being able to freely ask questions to our manager, if we don't feel that we know what we are doing. And I guess I've heard this from my other friends too, is that, um, you know, they're scared to ask questions. And I think when I first started, I was scared to ask questions, but because everyone was so lovely and welcoming and because my manager, y- openly said, it's cool to ask questions, please ask me questions. I felt really, um, you know, safe to, to do that. Yeah.
Interviewer: What does a good day at work make possible for a young person?
Ahi: Okay. Uh, a good day at work means that when I leave the restaurant, I feel a sense of achievement. I go home and, you know, like, I'm happy when I get home, I can help. I can actually help my parents out because I've got the energy to do that because it's not just about my job. Um, it's about me as a whole person. And I think that's important to me as Māori too, is hauora. You know, my job, my life with my job is happy. My life at home is happy and, um, and same with my creativity and everything like that.
Interviewer: Cool. Thanks Ahi.
This resource summarises findings from young workers who participated in the research project as a starting point for further consideration.
- Young people at work
- Resources for rangatahi | The Lowdown(external link)
- Workplace kōrero card set | Mental Health Foundation(external link)
- Top tips for an engaged age-diverse workforce | Diversity Works NZ(external link) (PDF, 1.6 MB)
This resource summarises findings from healthcare workers who participated in the research project as a starting point for further consideration.