Workplace counselling support helps to safeguard workers’ mental health and keep everybody at the top of their game according to workplace psychologist Aaron Hayes.
“Employees often have personal and domestic problems that can worry them, distract them and impact on their attendance and work performance” says Aaron.
“Having a visiting counsellor come on site regularly gives workers an opportunity to unburden themselves and get support for complex personal issues without having to take days off work to seek outside help.”
An Australian-registered psychologist, Aaron has been operating a counselling practice in Papua New Guinea for the past 20 years, specialising in employee assistance programs.
PNG Counselling and Care now has more than ten tertiary-qualified PNG national counsellors who provide on-site and telephone counselling support for the workforces of various corporates including Air Niugini, PNG Ports Authority, K92 Mining and Barrick Niugini.
“The most common stressors PNG workers experience, especially those working away from home, are problems arising from fractured relationships, polygamy, extended family pressures and personal debt. While counsellors don’t have all the answers, they can help workers find a way through without allowing personal issues to impact on their work and potentially losing their job,” Aaron says.
Employee Assistance Programs are particularly effective for supporting women to cope with work/home life balance and stay in the workforce, says Aaron.
“A survey conducted by the PNG Business Coalition for Women some years ago found that almost 40% of PNG businesses reported having problems retaining their female staff. Some of the key challenges for female workers that were identified by the survey included outside pressures disrupting focus at work, absenteeism, husbands wanting wives to stay at home, taking unpaid leave to look after sick children and elderly parents, and even resigning for personal and family reasons. Workplace counselling support can help working women cope with such problems so they can stay at work and make the most of the years invested in their education, training and job experience.”