Workplace health and wellbeing

The work we do and where we do it plays a huge part in our health and wellbeing. Our pay, the social connections we have at work, and the types of jobs we take on, all impact physical and mental health, for workers and their whānau.

Features of good quality work, that support health and wellbeing, include:

  • a fair income
  • job stability and security
  • opportunities for training and progression
  • healthy, safe and inclusive work environment and culture
  • mechanisms to voice concerns
  • feeling supported and valued at work
  • having a good balance between job demands and resources
  • support for workers and whānau health

Access to quality work opportunities varies hugely across different groups, with major inequities reported for Māori, Pacific peoples, recent migrants and disabled people.

  • These groups disproportionally experience low quality work, which is low paid, undervalued, insecure and unsafe.
  • 52% of Māori have experienced racial harassment at work, rising to 61% for recent migrant workers, and 62% for Pacific peoples and Asian people.
  • Even after accounting for differences in job-related characteristics, educational attainment and other factors, only 27% of the pay gap for Pacific males (relative to Europeans) can be explained, and 39% of the pay gap for Pacific females.
  • Māori and Pacific workers report higher levels of insecurity over their working conditions and threats to professional identity.
  • Māori workers are more likely to report exposure to bullying (28%), cyberbullying (21%), sexual harassment (15%), threats of violence (20%) and physical violence (17%).

The definition of “quality work” varies from person to person, depending on their socio-economic background, the industry they work in, and other social factors such as gender and ethnicity.

National Public Health Service (NPHS), Northern Region, developed a project to define and measure quality work in Aotearoa New Zealand. Toi Te Ora, now part of NPHS Te Manawa Taki, leads this project nationally

The cleaning industry is one of the largest employing industries in Tāmaki Makaurau, employing almost 12,000 people. However, there are significant health and wellbeing challenges for those working within the industry.

Working with cleaners, businesses, training organisations and unions amongst others, ARPHS (now NPHS - Northern Region) developed an Insights into Health and Wellbeing report in 2021 to understand workplace experiences for cleaners in Tāmaki Makaurau during the pandemic. The report brought together many perspectives within the commercial cleaning industry and identified what needs to change.

Since the publication of the Insights into Health and Wellbeing report:

Last updated 27.3.2024

For health advice call Healthline for free anytime on 0800 611 116
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