We recently spoke to Dr Tessa Bailey, psychologist and workplace mental health coach, to discuss her work and insights into the challenges faced by small business.
Before joining Transitioning Well, Dr Bailey gained expertise in human resource management, injury prevention, and injury management. During her tenure as a Research Fellow at UniSA, she contributed significantly to the Australian Workplace Barometer project, analysing data on working conditions, worker health, and productivity outcomes for more than 7000 employees across Australia. Driven by her PhD research on worker psychological health and safety, she actively advocates for psychological wellbeing in work environments. She is affiliated with the Opus Centre, which enhances workplace psychological safety through evidence-based approaches.
Outside of her professional commitments, Dr Bailey places great importance on quality time with her family and friends, the beach being her favourite place to unwind.
During our interview, Dr Bailey highlighted the top three challenges that small businesses commonly face and offered advice for each. Time, money, and good leadership were identified as significant factors. For SMEs, managing time and finances carefully is crucial for long-term sustainability. Balancing productivity with mental health is also essential; leaders play a key role in achieving this balance.
In the context of SMEs, leaders have multiple responsibilities, from recruitment and induction to safety, service delivery, resource allocation, and performance management. Dr Bailey stressed the importance of selecting leaders with strong people skills. As technology automates routine tasks, a business’s productivity now relies on people’s ability to interact effectively with systems and one another. Emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and effective people management are critical for future success. Organisations that manage work-related factors to ensure appropriate demands, adequate resources, and quality leadership support will attract, retain, and motivate their staff, ultimately leading to profitable outcomes.
Dr Bailey acknowledged that most SME leaders genuinely care about their workers’ mental health. However, they often need support in applying their empathy appropriately within the workplace while managing work-related factors. By engaging their people in a way that aligns with the business’s needs, SMEs can achieve a win-win situation where happy and healthy workers are also the most productive and loyal.
To conclude, Dr Bailey is a valued member of the dedicated Transitioning Well coaching team. We’re passionate about equipping business leaders with the tools to cultivate mentally healthy work environments. We take great pride in offering workplace mental health coaching services to businesses in NSW, with support and funding from the NSW Government.