Tour de Office interviewed Andrea Davey, CEO of Scout Talent Group, to discuss how she instils health and wellbeing in her team through leading by example.

What are your thoughts on creating a healthy work environment for the people you work with?

Encouraging the people I work with to be healthier makes so much sense because it makes them happier, and at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing. Being healthier also gives the people in my team more energy and that means that they can perform better at work. It’s a positive cycle and I view ‘prioritising healthy workplace practices’ as a leadership tool to support my people to be the best they can be.

How do you implement this?

I try to lead by example. For example, working out during my lunch break and eating well… also keeping my alcohol intake in moderation!

I am conducting more and more ‘walking meetings’ with my team. If I have a meeting booked with someone where the topics we’re discussing don’t require us to be in front of our laptops, I’ll ask them the day before if they’d like to make our meeting a ‘walking meeting’. If they’re keen we bring comfortable walking shoes and during the meeting time we go for a walk along the river for half an hour instead of just sitting down. My team members seem to be really enjoying these meetings. We get some extra steps into our day, and the fresh air helps clear our heads. Some of the best creative thinking is done during walking meetings!

I’ve also had some team members ask for flexibility in their 8:20am-5pm day, to make room for exercise. Some people exercise during their lunch break, but that doesn’t always work if someone has a meeting with a client or an interview with a candidate in the afternoon. For many people, working out at lunchtime means they need to shower afterwards and some people want to do their hair or re-apply makeup before afternoon meetings. All of these things create barriers to getting exercise done at lunch. It can all seem a bit ‘too hard’. So, something that’s working well is giving team members the flexibility to work through the traditional lunch hour and take an hour off at 4 pm, for example, to exercise.

Do you encourage bonding over healthy living practices as a team outside of work?

Absolutely. Over the years, health and fitness events (e.g. fun runs like Bridge to Brisbane) have been popular. We often sign up as a team and our business pays half of the entry fee for all participants. 

How do you lead by example when it comes to mental health and wellbeing?

Earlier this year I read ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear and ever since then I’ve been ‘habit tracking’. Essentially I choose a few key daily habits I want to develop and I use a diary to mark each day that I follow each habit. Over the last 6 months, one of my habits has been to ‘down the tools at 5 pm’. This means I have time for my family, for myself, and ultimately makes me more productive during the time I do spend working. I track this habit on a daily basis and share my results with my team pretty regularly. I encourage anyone in my team who wants to do the same (keeping their work hours in check) to do so. Burnout is a serious thing, it’s on the rise, and it has such a toll on your mental and physical health. I want the people who work in my team to be able to ‘down the tools’ and go and enjoy the other wonderful aspects of their lives.

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