As we move into the busy season, Maree Herath asks herself why is it that the busiest time of the year is also the time of the year that we are the most tired?

Where has this year gone?

As I reflect on the year so far, I realise I have, along with my team, embarked on a  great journey.

Topics for the Harvest HR Roundtables this year have predominantly been based around ‘self-help’ topics for employers to take back to the workplace.

We’ve addressed Mental Health & Injury in the Workplace, Employee Engagement, Flexible Working Arrangements and at our next HR Roundtable, Cultivating Resilience.

It doesn’t just happen by chance – these topics are not chosen at random.  In the 2019 Harvest HR Index, respondents noted Health, Safety and Wellbeing as a key HR focus.

A lot of thought goes into the topics and we choose only the best presenters in their chosen field for the HR Roundtable sessions.   For our next session, Harvest HR Partner, Melanie Kearsey will help us to manage mindset and provide strategies on how to be more resilient in the workplace and life in general.


Cultivating Resilience

No one is immune to feeling overwhelmed, tired and ‘worn out’. We are all faced with deadlines and pressure situations; it’s part of life. But when it becomes all too much, we need to listen to the warning signs and act. As employers, we need to know these signs and lead by example.

When I had drawn on all my resources in an overly committed year, I was fortunate enough to take a week off for a quick escape. It was well overdue, but it gave me clarity of thinking of what the company needed and what I needed to act on, on my return. I am now so conscious of my team and how they react to deadlines and those times we have proposals or projects that put us under the pump. That’s where flexible working arrangements come into play. If someone needs to work from home they do, or if they feel they really need a day for some R & R, it’s usually granted.

Here’s a few ideas I have recently implemented to “keep it together”:

Find your ‘meditation’

Running is my meditation.  For you it might be yoga or walking on the beach or simply finding a few minutes each day to close your eyes. At Harvest, we’ve  implemented a “healthy project”. We sat together and I shared my own health vision and set some SMART goals. I encouraged the team to find their own health and wellbeing goals which we’re tracking in the tea room. Gone are the chocolate bars (well, most of the time) and in with the fruit. I am encouraging the team to get outdoors run / jog / walk at lunchtime.  All team members have been provided with a month’s trial at Geelong owned and operated Wonder Yoga and will be subsidised thereafter for yoga classes.

Hosting the Geelong HR Roundtable has been a wonderful opportunity for our staff to learn and our upcoming “Resilience” topic will be a must attend for all staff. We’ve been inspired too by our friends at Cotton On who revealed at a recent HR Roundtable that they have ‘stand up’ paddle board meetings in Corio Bay!  Now that Spring is in the air, we will again be outdoors with our “walking meetings”.


Read, Read, Read

Did you know that immersion reading also improves focus and has a calming effect like meditation?

Reading before bedtime (not socials) can also help you sleep better, especially curling up with a good novel.

Knowledge is power. Just looking through articles ‘book marked’ on my PC the other day, you know the ones ‘you are going to read later’, I found a great Forbes article from 2018 titled ’10 Daily Habits That Can Actually Change Your Life’ by Noma Nazish.

It talks about not letting old habits hold you back. Start building simple yet essential habits for a happier and more productive life such as:

  • Create a morning ritual. Could be exercise, a healthy breakfast, writing in a journal. A structured start to your day eliminates stress, mental fatigue and enhances productivity. Even if it means getting up well before the kids!
  • Follow the 80 / 20 rule. It’s always worth remembering that 20% of the tasks yield 80% of the results!
  • Learn to single- task. Did you know only 2% of people in the world can multi-task successfully?
  • Surround yourself with positive people. American Author and entrepreneur Jim Rohn, says, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Choose wisely!
  • Master the art of listening. Pay attention to what others have to say. It’ll not only make others feel valued but will also help you understand them better and gain a fresh perspective.
  • Go for a social media detox. Switch off your phone and laptop for a few hours every day to improve your mood and reconnect with the world around you.

You can read the full article ’10 Daily Habits That Can Actually Change your Life’ here.


Learn, Learn, Learn

It’s important to learn ways to positively engage with challenges, both on a personal level and as an employer. People make mistakes, sometimes you do need to give (or receive) negative / constructive feedback but it’s important to heed the advice but not necessarily take it personally. I love learning and I’ve been open to hear the recommendations and advice of others; which has paid dividends in the growth of my company and the contemporary offerings we continue to add.

And when it comes to our kids, not wrapping them up in cotton wool, but simply providing them with strategies and giving them some autonomy to deal with difficult emotions and situations I believe is key.

And in the words of Mel Kearsey, Harvest’s guest presenter and HR Partner and owner of Bloom Development Solutions …

It is not what happens to us that affects our experience, it is what we think about what happens to us that affects our experience

Life does throw us challenges and curve balls.  And whilst I feel I somewhat ‘have it together’, I am really looking forward to our October 2nd, 2019 HR Roundtable, because I think we have really nailed the topic – Cultivating Resilience – this event will be a sell out!  Book now!


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