Call for Holistic Workplace Wellness Approach and Gender Equality Advocacy

Fiji’s Ministers Agni Deo Singh (Employment, Productivity & Industrial Relations) and Lynda Tabuya (Women, Children, and Social Protection) jointly advocated for promoting employee well-being in workplaces during a wellness symposium in Lami today.

Speaking to human resources professionals at the Novotel Conference Centre, Singh and Tabuya stressed that workplace wellness encompasses more than just physical health; it also includes mental, emotional, and social well-being.

Singh acknowledged the value of initiatives such as providing access to fitness facilities, offering healthy food choices, conducting stress management workshops, promoting work-life balance, and implementing policies supporting employee well-being.

“By investing in the well-being of our employees, we not only create a positive work environment but also enhance productivity and cultivate a culture of engagement and success,” Singh stated. “We believe that when employees feel valued, supported, and cared for, they are more likely to thrive both personally and professionally.”

He shared various initiatives that the ministry has put in place to create a positive work environment. These initiatives include encouraging staff participation in ‘Wednesday Wellness,’ conducting health screenings, organising stress management workshops, and promoting work-life balance, among other measures.

Singh also encouraged HR professionals to adapt to evolving workplace dynamics.

Tabuya echoed these sentiments, with a specific focus on the role of HR professionals as advocates for gender equality and inclusivity.

She highlighted that gender equality is not just an aspiration but a strategic imperative that directly impacts the success of individuals, organizations, and communities. Tabuya cited findings from the World Health Organisation that link gender equality to improved mental health, reduced stress, and enhanced psychological well-being among employees.

“When we talk about gender equality in the workplace, we envision an environment where every individual, regardless of their gender, enjoys equal opportunities, rights, and treatment. It means that all employees have an equitable chance to excel, advance in their careers, and contribute their unique talents without fear of bias or discrimination,” she said. “In such a workplace, women’s leadership is celebrated; employees are appraised and promoted solely based on their skills, qualifications, and performance. It’s an environment where gender pay gaps are eliminated. It’s a space that promotes a workplace culture actively supporting work-life balance, providing flexible arrangements that accommodate family responsibilities, such as childcare, through initiatives like flexible working hours and paternity and family leave. It’s an environment where sexual harassment is not tolerated, and survivors of gender-based violence are protected, ensuring that everyone can work in an atmosphere of safety, respect, and well-being.”

Tabuya acknowledged the challenges in achieving gender equality, including discriminatory expectations around caregiving and the persistence of outdated stereotypes. She urged HR professionals to lead the way in championing transformative initiatives and turning the vision of an equitable workplace into concrete actions.

The inaugural two-day Workplace Wellness Symposium, organised by the Fiji Human Resources Institute, focuses on strategies for building a healthy and productive workforce in the country.

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