07 Sep
Asking R U OK in the workplace

Asking R U OK in the workplace

There’s little doubt that 2020 has been an unexpected and turbulent year for all of us. Living and working during a pandemic can difficult, and many are dealing with additional financial strain and personal issues as a result.

This Thursday 10th September is R U OK? Day, and a good opportunity to check in with those who may be struggling. While spotting symptoms of distress in family members and friends may be straightforward, it can be harder to recognise this in our coworkers.  

R we really OK? 

At Workpower, we are a team who work together and support one another. We actively encourage our community to prioritise their physical and mental wellbeing and look out for others in need.

If you have a feeling that someone at your workplace isn’t OK, then you should look into it. Don’t ignore your gut feeling and avoid having a conversation. It may change someone’s life.  

How to know if something isn’t right 

Everyone is unique and reacts to distress in different ways. However, something may not be right with someone if they show a number of these signs:

Physical and emotional

  • Look tired, flat, or drained 
  • Take more sick days off in a row 
  • Often complain of physical problems like aches and headaches 
  • Are fidgety, nervous, or anxious 
  • Act irritable, moody, or angry  
  • Are quiet and worried 

Behaviour and thoughts

  • Are withdrawn or not engaging  
  • Overwhelmed by tasks they can usually manage 
  • Take on more work projects to avoid social situations 
  • Have a personal or emotional response to changes 
  • Are more glass half empty than full 
  • Have difficulty switching off from work 

Do you know anyone at work who has shown these signs? Have they been acting like this for a few weeks or more? Do you have a feeling that they’re not acting their usual selves? If so, it might be time to speak up. 

Further details on these symptoms and what you can do are available here


In our next article we’ll talk about how to prepare yourself to ask ‘R U OK?’ and what to do from there. 

If you feel at risk and need someone to talk to, call the Lifeline hotline at 13 11 14.

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