How to support colleagues through challenging times

28 May 2019

Financial and Insurance services workers are facing challenging times, particularly since the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

It has inevitably led to a widespread sector overhaul which has filtered down to every level.

If you are experiencing a tough time, you may need some simple, effective ways you and your colleagues can help each other adapt.



Look after yourself with extra attention to self-care. Take regular breaks, go for a walk and get some fresh air, and eat lunch away from your desk.
If you look after yourself, you can better support others and you can all manage work stress as a team.


Have an empathetic conversation

One of the best ways to help your colleagues is to have an empathetic conversation with them, which basically means sharing and understanding the feelings they are going through.

However, there are three different components of empathy, and according to University of Melbourne social neuroscientist Dr Pascal Molenberghs, you need to use all of them to be really empathetic.

These include:

  1. Affective empathy – the ability to share other people’s emotions. “You can feel scared, their pain, or their emotions when you see other people experiencing those emotions,” Dr Molenberghs says.
  2. Cognitive empathy – the ability to understand other people’s emotions, such as a psychologist listening to a patient but not sharing their emotions.
  3. Emotional regulation – the ability to regulate your emotions. “For example, surgeons need to control their emotions when operating on a patient,” Dr Molenberghs says.

“To have a successful empathetic conversation with others you need to make use of these three different components,” Dr Molenberghs says.

Self-care and empathetic conversations are two great ways to manage workplace stress, but how else can managers in particular help their workers?

Other great ideas

Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace have a huge number of healthy break activities that you and your workmates may enjoy.