Workplace wellbeing that works!

Workplace wellness

Written by Daz Burns

Workplace wellbeing. We all seek it. Most don’t have it. Yet, it is critical to caring for and growing our people.


We’ve got you covered!

If workplace wellbeing isn’t happening for your team. 

If it is, but it needs some tweaks. 

If you are wondering what workplace wellbeing is.

We’ve got you covered.

Here are five key things we do in our team, plus lots of other tidbits that we do too!

You’ll find something effective here that you can try with your team.


TGDM Workplace wellbeing!


Month 8 of 12!


In our team we ‘run’ 2 week sprints.

And with our hands in the air, we achieve so much and celebrate.

We do it efficiently and effectively and most importantly, we do it together. 

Though, it also means that the weeks and the months fly by!

Fly at speed, like a hawk hunting a mouse.


We have the privilege week to week of working with some exceptional humans in all kinds of spaces.  

  • Corporate
  • Start ups
  • Small Business
  • Founders
  • Teachers
  • Nurses
  • Charities
  • Athlete
  • Parents
  • Media
  • …all around general legends!


We get to have deep korero with these legends and though many themes rise to the surface about their journeys in business and in wellness.

An undeniable thread runs through – workplace wellbeing isn’t working.

Not through lack of trying or awareness.

Possibly through lack of time or understanding or vision or placement of importance on the priority list?

It is often piece meal – with things introduced like weekly pilates classes in boardrooms.

Or scheduled check-ins with our team without a plan or purpose.

Without structure, accountability or clear intended outcomes none of these initiatives will be sustainable, meaningful or become part of the kaupapa of your team. 


Our team and our 5 key things…

One thing I confidently know is that we crush workplace wellbeing. 

We are a small team.

But we are a unit that has really got our workplace wellbeing not only prioritised, but thriving.

Below I will share five key things we do. 

And after those, I will share some other tidbits that we do.

I really hope you find at least one thing that you can try with your team.


ONE: ‘Run Through the Jungle’ – CCR

As part of our two week sprints, we have morning team huddles every single day. 

It is a non-negotiable part of our day.

We show up each morning in ‘total alignment with our purpose’ to keep on track and prioritise our actions (Zweig, 2021). 

Yes, the intention is to check in on what was achieved yesterday, what is in progress today, and what blockers are holding us up.

But it is also to genuinely ask how our team is.

Late nights with children.

Car break downs.

Burst water cylinders.

Burnt dinners.

Running training progress and mishaps.

Farts in pilates classes.

We get all the juicy stuff and it is all within 15 minutes! 

We start the day knowing where everyone is coming from and if we can support them to lift or if they need to take a couple of things off their list. 


TWO: ‘Bring it on Home to Me’ – Sam Cooke

We work from home on Wednesday’s. 

With an emphasis to use that day in any way they need.


Time with whānau.

Catch up on meal prep.

Fold the washing that keeps staring at them from the couch.

Afternoon siesta.

They bust their asses for us without question or delay.

And without a doubt, we get that time back in their productivity, drive, commitment and passion.

Bob Iger emphasised the importance and difference it made to Disney’s team when absolute faith in his staff was conveyed every step of the way.

We still do our morning huddles online – basically because we can’t miss any daily goss, as time moves too damn quickly!


THREE: ‘Work That’ – Mary j. Blige

We start our day at 8am everyday.

And we roll out, system complete at 4.30pm.

(now that I have learnt how to delay my emails when I work in the evenings, our team literally doesn’t hear from me … unless I forget the delay function…sorry team, as Billy Joel would say, I’m only human).

So, downtime is downtime.

They get growled profusely if I hear from them outside of these hours.

Unless it is because they are sharing a classic meme.

Funny video.

Exciting news.

Or a great story. 

I am a big fan of how Cassie Roma says “never will deadlines be more important than family” (2021), – it is a reminder a lot of us need to keep stuck to our wall where we work.


FOUR: ‘We Will Rock You’ – Queen

We are collaborative.

As the amazing Brené says “people need to feel safe, seen, heard and respected to innovate, solve problems and serve people” (2018).

We’ve designed our processes and environment to encourage setting up time to brainstorm together so we can all support development on things our team are working on.

I have said it many times and it fits well here too.

We were never meant to do these things alone.

Our meetings have structures, clear purposes and required outcomes to ensure we stay on track and maximise our time.

We bank new ideas in the backlog for later to discuss. 

And we are genuinely helpful to whoever needs our brains to storm effectively.


FIVE: ‘Lovely Day’ – Bill Withers

About four months ago we instigated having a “vibe manager” each month.

And good gracious do they bring a vibe.

It has been bloody awesome.

Instead of the same people organising team building activities, each person gets a month to bring pieces of themselves to share – with the common goal to connect our team meaningfully.

A few years ago I read a book called Ice Cream for Breakfast (Williams, 2017), and a beautiful nugget that stuck with me is “celebrating your everyday” and making moments count, it is pretty magic when you see your team do this as second nature.  


Here are a few examples:

  • Cory, our quiz master that always slips a football question into the mix.
  • Emily, introduced an office turkey that came home with each of us and sits on our heads when we have office funnies.
  • Krystal, forgot how competitive we all are (or knew the trash talk that would brew and the wind-ups that would occur) and did paper plane comps.
  • Me (Daz), mini Olympics and shared lunch.


Workplace wellbeing golden nuggets

A genuine truth that is echoed through epic leaders like Sara Blakely and Marc Randolph, is that ’culture eats strategy for breakfast’, and workplace wellbeing has a massive hand in developing your culture. 


So, though I said the first five were my key things we do for workplace wellbeing.

I’m actually taking it back.

Because this list below rocks too!

And like a quality old school “Now That’s What I Call Music ” compilation, they all work together to create the most perfect, productive, fun, supportive, unique workplace wellbeing for us. 


So, here are some other nuggets we do that all add to our culture:


  • Music plays in the background during the day and when a banger comes on, it’s revved up, a sing-a-long breaks out and our office musical instruments make an appearance!
  • We have a “healthy” snack box of muesli bars, mini cookie times and jet planes for when afternoon energy levels plummet. 
  • We have plenty of random dress up days that always lead to deep belly laughs, clapping and gasping for breath.
  • We’ve set a compulsory “tools down” lunch time at 12.30pm everyday that we all hold each other accountable to.
  • We have a staff library full of books that great leaders and legends have suggested to read.  
  • We endeavour to see the funny side/bright side of most situations.
  • We have two real plants. That, if I am honest, have the staying power of weeds – because despite our lack of green fingers, they continue to flourish and give us beautiful green leaves to look at when we look up from our screens. 
  • We have standing desk options, which for me, with my two computer screens makes me feel like I am a DJ in a club bringing the “vibe”. We have an exercycle in our office so our team can ride and work. 



I guess if it wasn’t clear up until this point, I will try to make the true number one point clear.

We have a culture where we genuinely give a shit about our people.

We rally when one of our crew needs help, personal or professional. 

We promote laughter, both at ourselves and each other.

We, like many, have a no asshole policy, which is basically zero tolerance on toxic, self-important, jack asses. 



We stand on the back of incredible legends.

Who’ve led with heart.

Who’ve cared with heart.

Who’ve carved visions with heart.

Who’ve brought people onto their waka with heart. 

And who’ve taught us through their intentional actions, that workplace wellbeing is critical to caring for and growing our people. 

They are our one and only irreplaceable resource and the reason we should all ensure our workplace wellbeing is genuine, well structured and suited to our people.


Share and enhance your workplace wellbeing!

If you know someone who would benefit from reading this article, please share it to open up those conversations and safe spaces. There is power in those small moments and so much power when you collaborate to develop workplace wellbeing that works for your team.


References used and some awesome learning tools…

Check out Blakely, S. videos featured in Masterclass Interviews.

Brown, B. (2018). Dare to Lead. Random House Publishing Group. 

Iger, B. (2019). The Ride of a Lifetime. Penguin Random House LLC. 

Randolph, M. (2019). That Will Never Work. Little, Brown and Company.

Roma, C. (2021). Fuck You Marketing, P.S. I Love You. 

Zweig, J. (2021). Be. Sounds True. 

2 Responses

  1. Holy crap – I couldn’t believe my eyes when you had used my fav song as your first song reference!!!!!

    I am trained by Vietnam Vets in 80’s 90’s – have learnt a pacifist psyche via my military career and greater wellness for our population with have pacifying effects for us all.

    Do you ever request guest speakers at your business. I have a personal story that few know but more will do. I have a Wellness message that started when I read every wellness journal I could get between 1988 and 1991 when I attended Lincoln Uni.

    If you would like more horsepower on this journey you know lead for others please come back to me – I work in Hamilton every Wednesday and Thursday.

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