We spend a third of our lives at work, so it is crucial to our health and wellbeing that this is a positive experience.

Organisational psychology research also shows that creating a positive working environment can have business benefits as well.

Problems at work can have an enormous impact on our mental health and wellbeing, as findings from the APS Stress and Wellbeing surveys have found.

2014 findings about Australian workers

  • Workplace stress remains at a two-year high, with levels unchanged from last year, which is higher than in 2012 and 2011
  • 45% of Australians reported being stressed about work
  • More people were dissatisfied about their job than in 2012 and 2013
  • More people reported dissatisfaction with their work-life balance than in 2011
  • People were less interested in their job role than in 2012

2013 findings about Australian workers

  • Stress is having at least some impact on the physical health of 75% of Australians
  • Stress is having at least some impact on the mental health of 68% of Australians
  • Only half (52%) of working Australians reported that their employer valued their contribution and cared about their wellbeing
  • 60 % of working Australians reported having sufficient opportunities for learning and development
  • Less than 50% of working Australians reported that they regularly receive feedback and recognition for their work
  • Working women were significantly more likely than working men to report that their employers were supportive about family matters (women 70%, men 61%) and women also experienced a higher level of role clarity than their male counterparts (women 90%, men 80%)

On the 2013 findings, at the time, APS Executive Director, Professor Lyn Littlefield said:

“Those in the workplace who had the highest levels of wellbeing and lower levels of stress and distress were people who felt supported at work, had strong leadership, clear role definition, felt their safety was looked after, that their employer cared for their mental and physical health and that they received adequate feedback and recognition," Professor Littlefield said.

She added: "The survey provides insights into the factors that promote a psychologically healthy workplace and supports employee satisfaction and wellbeing. This data can help businesses identify actions that will lead to positive change."

2012 findings about Australian workers

  • Reported significantly lower levels of wellbeing at work than in 2011
  • Reported that they found their work significantly more stressful than in 2011
  • Believed they were significantly more likely to become unemployed in the following 12 months.
  • 32% identified workplace issues as a source of stress.
  • Employees who felt their contribution at work was valued and that their employer cared for their wellbeing reported significantly lower levels of stress and distress, significantly lower levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms and significantly higher levels of overall wellbeing.

Workplace Excellence Awards

Responding to the need for organisations and businesses to create psychologically healthy workplaces, the APS created the Workplace Excellence Awards which recognise excellence in improving performance, productivity and wellbeing and the application of psychological knowledge for the benefit of workplaces and their people.