Shaping the workplace for wellbeing and productivity

Improving the wellbeing of healthcare professionals
Our researchers are making a positive impact on the mental health, wellbeing and performance of healthcare professionals by improving the design of work and teams and enhancing leadership and culture.
Anya Johnson and Helena Nguyen undertaking research in hospital setting

For the past 15 years, Associate Professor Anya Johnson and Associate Professor Helena Nguyen have collaborated with more than 20 hospitals that provide healthcare to more than 3 million people across NSW. Their goal is to enhance the mental health, wellbeing and performance of healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, by improving the design of work and teams  and enhancing leadership and culture. Their research not only improves the wellbeing of healthcare professionals, but also leads to a better healthcare for society as a whole.

“Anything we can do to make work better, less stressful and more meaningful, has massive implications for our wellbeing in Australia,” Anya says. “Work plays a pivotal role in our lives and we need to get it right.”

The mental health and wellbeing of healthcare staff is under threat. It is vital for the quality of care provided to patients, for the broader community, and for the economic prosperity of Australia that healthcare professionals work in a supportive, effective, and sustainable work environment.
Associate Professor Helena Nguyen

“We're always wanting to look at outcomes that are important for organisations (such as profit, safety, customer satisfaction etc), as well as for individual employees", Helena says. "We look at what happens in organisations and question how do the experiences of employees influence those outcomes?”

Anya and Helena’s considerable and combined expertise and experience in organisational psychology and applied research is key to the success of their work. Their rigorous research methodologies have resulted in a comprehensive body of work with tangible results that have informed significant workplace change. This includes ongoing investments in new role creations, enhanced staff wellbeing and leadership development, and effective work redesign.

The return on investment for an organisation is embedded in the results and in improvements evident in staff wellbeing in the workplace.

Research team

Helena Nguyen and Anya Johnson are both Associate Professors in Work and Organisational Studies and co-directors of the Body, Heart and Mind in Business Research Group at the University of Sydney Business School. They were recently recognised through the inaugural (2020) Australian Business Deans Council (ABCD) Award for Innovation and Excellence in Research.

The rigor that they bring allows us to be confident that we can assist nurses and midwives to change their working environments and improve the experiences of those for whom they care.
Margaret Martin, Nurse Manager Development of Practice and Workplace Capabilities at SESLHD

This research aligns with Sustainability Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being and Sustainability Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and reflects the Business School's commitment to the UN Principles of Responsible Management Education.

Dr Anya Johnson
Associate Professor Anya Johnson
Academic profile

Dr Helena Nguyen
Associate Professor Helena Nguyen
Academic profile

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