It is an unfortunate label, but the construction industry is one of the worst in New Zealand for mental health and wellness. It’s not a label that we are proud of, and keeping our people safe needs to be more than just physical safety, but also mental health and safety as well.

In our mission to build flourishing communities, we have realised that to be successful in our mission we need to live as a flourishing community first. We don't want to just build flourishing communities, we want to live as one as well. So what does a flourishing community look like? It is a community of people who are living whole and abundantly in every area; financially, relationally, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

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As a society, and as businesses, we are getting better helping our people live whole lives in some areas. The living wage, work/life balance, subsidised health care, and awareness around good nutrition and fitness, all contribute to flourishing lives. Yet we tend to put the least effort and attention into the mental and emotional flourishing. But it is this area of our lives that is most important, and disproportionately affects all the other areas of our lives. It is true that good nutrition, work/life balance, physical health and good pay are important contributors to mental and emotional wellness. They are necessary building blocks, but they are insufficient on their own.

At home, we realise that we must be intentional about not only creating a work environment and work culture which supports a flourishing mind, but investing significantly into building the mental health and resilience of our people. We do this in a number of ways.

Firstly, we recognise that all people regardless of background, culture, gender, age or belief, need a sense of purpose to their lives. To achieve this we all need something greater than ourselves, and a purpose fundamentally about serving others. At home we are blessed to have a vision and mission which is bigger than what we could ever achieve on our own, and which is about making the lives of millions of people in New Zealand and around the world better by providing them with quality homes.

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We also recognise that in outworking this mission we give out much of ourselves and our personal energy, and as a result, we need a way to re-energise or recreate ourselves. Blue Sky time is a dedicated two hours a week our people have during work time, where they can do whatever recreates or re-energises them. It looks different for each person, but it must be intentional and must be about topping up their emotional and mental reserves. For some this could be reading a book in a quiet space, for others it might be a walk or bike ride in nature, and for others it could be engaging in some form of arts or crafts. But whatever it is, it must be intentional and must be focused on personal re-energising.

In addition to this weekly time, our people have two Mental Wellness Days on top of their usual leave. These days can be taken within 24 hours notice and are specifically to re-energise or top up their mental and emotional reserves.

home has also been working with Strength to Strength to provide a series of regular Mental Resilience Workshops to all our staff. These workshops than important tools to help our people handle work or home pressures, identify causes of breakdown, and learn useful strategies to build strong mental and emotional health.

We also recognise that mental health needs to be about maintenance and prevention, rather than patch ups or repair. We tend to spend more time and effort on regular preventative maintenance for our vehicles to ensure they last the distance, yet when it comes to the most important asset we have, our mind, we do almost nothing.

As a result, all our staff have access to free individual counseling and professional psychological support on an ongoing basis.

We want regular mental or emotional counseling to become the norm, and to become an essential and accepted part of a healthy and flourishing life.

Finally, we work hard at building a workplace which puts people at the front and centre of all we do. Why we exist, what we value, and how we work is all about people. The care and support of our people is the most important role we have as an organisation. We don't always get it right, but at the heart of our mission is a desire to see all people live flourishing lives.

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