Technology is changing the way we work and the work we do.
Downer recognises we must consider the impact of these changes and the opportunities they provide, while also developing strategies on how best to deploy the technology.
Workers in many industries are spending increased time using screens, which results in increased time sitting or in sedentary positions. Downer utilises ergonomic workplace equipment, encourages agile office environments, and provides our workforce with information on the risks associated with sitting for prolonged periods of time. For operational staff, we utilise practices such as task rotation to safeguard against overuse and underuse risks.
The increased use of automation, or robotic equipment, across the industries Downer operates in presents opportunities to reduce our people’s exposure to high risk or repetitive activities. We are also increasingly using drone technology to reduce risk to our people.
Advancements in artificial intelligence will also provide opportunities to utilise a greater volume of data and incorporate that into strategic initiatives and planning to improve safety and sustainability outcomes.
Downer will continue to collaborate with technology experts to explore opportunities for new and enhanced technology. We will also continue to investigate and identify suitable technological tools to improve the health and safety of our workforce, as well as our safety and sustainability performance.
Protecting our mental wellness
Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on people’s health and wellbeing.
The World Health Organisation recognises that many people have faced challenges that can cause strong emotional reactions, and reduce our mental health and wellbeing.
In response to these growing concerns, Downer’s Group Health function has developed a range of targeted services to increase employee coping strategies. By actively monitoring utilisation data from our Employee Assistance Program the team has been able to identify emerging issues, such as higher experiences of personal anxiety, impacts on personal relationships (partners and children), and the amplified perception of workload pressures and conflicts within the workplace.
Using these identified trends, the Group Health team has developed webinars, training sessions, skill acquisition presentations and information sheets.
Group Health has also developed a new program building on the Mental Health First Aid foundations to support individual resilience.
The ‘PROTECT’ program is targeted towards leaders and emerging leaders and focuses on individual resilience and empathic leadership skills.
The program has been developed internally, and builds on skills acquired from MHFA and reinforces the neuroscience-based protective factors to maintain our own health and wellbeing.
Elements including stress management, gut health, sleep, empathic leadership and effective communication across teams are incorporated into the program. By increasing these skills, individuals will be able to better manage their own health and wellbeing, as well as being able to coach and support others. PROTECT is due to commence early in FY22, with trials already requested across Australian and New Zealand businesses.