Sarah Donaldson of TEA Retreats. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

ARTHUR HAWKES
arthur.hawkes@age.co.nz

While covid-19’s impact on business revenue has been well-accounted for – with wage subsidies and government bailouts – the well-being of employees is something that can’t be patched up as easily.

Seeking to help with this side of workplace health is TEA, a Martinborough-based health and well-being consultancy service.

A report from the mental health think tank The Centre for Informed Futures said that up to 40 per cent of the population, or two in five Kiwis, could have their mental health adversely affected by the impact of covid-19 for a substantial period of time.

The centre urged the government to act quickly to prevent the “avoidable psychological damage and suffering” that would stem from loss of income, infrastructure, and unemployment.

TEA was founded by Sarah Donaldson, a clinical psychologist, and Sarah Percy, a registered dietitian – they run the company together.

Their website stated that TEA combined “three essential ingredients for well-being: mind, food and activity”.

Having worked with Wairarapa businesses, and workplaces nationwide, TEA said they understood the importance of a well workforce and were able to deliver informative and engaging sessions that enhanced the well-being of staff in a wide variety of industries.

Already experienced in offering health and well-being education, programmes and support to workplaces, they have extended their usual offering to include a new range of workshops, team profiling and wellness reviews to support businesses during covid-19.

Donaldson said that, after working in primary health care for several years, the duo wanted to establish a practice that utilised their skills for people “not just when they were unwell, but to enhance their health and well-being in a proactive way so they can live and work sustainably”.

“We also provide individual support for people who are in positions, where, due to the nature of their work or their role, there may be significant pressures and stressors, so it’s supporting them in those roles through regular wellness reviews.”

Donaldson said that wellness reviews involved meeting every two or three months with an owner or employee, “to look at reviewing their well-being, how they’re managing their role and strategies to manage challenges that arise”.

She said the covid-19 crisis presented “a lot of change” for businesses and their staff, but that organisational approaches to staff wellness had developed considerably in the past few years.

“I think it’s come a long way, and a lot of organisations now realise that how well someone’s functioning, be it from the work environment or the home environment, impacts on their performance and their ability to do their job.

“We look at how to get people functioning in environments that work well for them, and it’s better off from a business point of view as well.”