Royal for West

Have you ever wanted to volunteer? How about now? Optimal Recruitment has partnered with Manly-based charity Royal Far West to bring you some fantastic volunteering opportunities.

Founded in 1924, Royal Far West (RFW) connects children in remote and rural areas of Australia to the developmental and mental health and healthcare services they need. Today, RFW is reaching out for help from volunteers with expertise in a number of sectors.

If you have some time available, please read on. This is a great chance to give back to the community and make a difference to the lives of others. It’s also a chance for you to gain new skills and experience, expand your network and enhance your resume.

Marketing/ PR / Media / Fundraising and Events

  • Media and PR Strategy: developing a grassroots community fundraising execution plan
  • Video Content Creation: showcasing and promoting RFW fundraising initiatives
  • Copywriting: website and community newsletters
  • Fundraising Engagement Strategy: engaging local business
  • Event Sponsorship / Partnership Strategy: enabling mutually beneficial partnerships

Tech / Finance

  • Technology Maintenance, Processes and End-of-Life-Planning (CISCO)
  • Corporate Governance: systems analysis and creation and implementation of corporate governance structures       

Health Business Support

  • Change Management and Communication: creation of a model for introducing change within the organisation
  • Work From Home Model: design and implementation of a more effective framework
  • Stepped Care: analysis of current position; improvements to service delivery
  • Customer Journey and Internal Process Mapping: streamlining processes to ensure effective delivery
  • Professional Online Training: design and implementation of clinical resources for teachers, parents and carers

To find out more about these opportunities, please send us an email or give us a call on 02 8416 4181. We would be happy to put you in touch with our contact at Royal Far West.

#we are all in this together



What is the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The coronavirus is a virus that can pass from one person to another. It causes a respiratory illness called COVID-19. The first cases were reported in December 2019 in China, but people in many countries around the world are now affected.

What are the symptoms?

These include fever, coughing, sore throat, tiredness and shortness of breath. Symptoms can be very mild, but they can get worse and lead to serious breathing difficulties, pneumonia and death.

Who is at risk?

Anyone can get the coronavirus, but those most at risk include the following:

  • The elderly
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples
  • People with chronic medical conditions, e.g. heart disease, diabetes, lung disease
  • People with compromised immune systems, e.g. people going through cancer treatment

Also, people are more at risk if:

  • They have recently travelled back from a high-risk country, such as China, Korea, Italy or Iran
  • They have been in close contact with someone who has the coronavirus

How does the virus spread?

The coronavirus spreads from one person to another. You can get the virus when:

  • You have been in close contact with a person who has the virus, even in the 24 hours before they start showing symptoms
  • When a person with the coronavirus coughs or sneezes and you come into contact with the droplets

When a person with the coronavirus sneezes or coughs, some droplets might land on a surface or object like a table or doorknob. You can get the virus by touching these surfaces or objects and then touching your face.

Gig Economy

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal about the #ChangingWorkplace provoked a flurry of posts and comments on LinkedIn. The upshot of the article was that, today, workers in the US are working more for less. In 2016, 26% of Americans reported that they worked in excess of 48 hours per week, but, increasingly, workers are missing out on company-funded benefits such as pensions and insurance. The article also highlighted the rising number of temporary and contract roles.

In Australia, a similar pattern is emerging. A special report in The Australian estimated that around 700,000 Australians are now engaged in the ‘gig’ economy – that’s around 5% of the workforce. And these numbers are set to grow as companies such as Uber, Deliveroo and Airtasker make their mark, and access to technology broadens.

But what are the advantages and disadvantages of working in the gig economy? And who is the real winner?

For workers, flexibility is the big selling point of working on a pay-per-task basis. They may be able to work from home, or balance gig work with another job, study or childcare responsibilities. Rather than be restricted by set hours, they can choose the time windows that suit them best. And, contrary to popular belief, working gigs can be a good money earner, especially for highly skilled workers, such as lawyers, web designers and business consultants.

But, all too often, jobs in the gig economy are unregulated and low paid (far below the standard minimum wage). Additionally, as an independent contractor, a worker has no annual or sick leave, no insurance cover, and often no superannuation either. The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia found that ¼ of self-employed workers had no super; those in low-paid, unskilled jobs are particularly affected. Alarmingly, the move towards flexible working patterns also has potentially far-reaching consequences for the welfare system. In October, the IMF warned of challenges to the structure of the social insurance system due to the increase in less stable, freelance work.

The real winners, it seems, are employers and shareholders. Today, employers have no need to hire employees to complete specific tasks when they can easily source gig workers online with the desired skill-set. It’s a huge gain for businesses in terms of flexibility, agility and specialised skills. Plus, of course, it means that they can cut hefty personnel costs to a minimum, which leads to increased dividends to shareholders. But, there are downsides too. By awarding tasks to the lowest bidder, work quality may be compromised. Additionally, gig workers have no incentive to stay loyal to one specific business; they may not be available when their services are next required. And organisational knowledge, often seen as key to a business’s innovation strategy and growth, is diluted when long-term employees are not replaced. To remain competitive and relevant moving forward, businesses should think about ways of attracting and including gig workers in their organisations.

Have you ever worked a gig? What do you think about the growth of the gig economy?


Are long working hours getting you down? It’s more than likely. New research by the Australian National University (ANU) has found that people who work more than 39 hours a week are endangering their health.

Around two out of three Australians in full-time employment work more than 40 hours a week. Often that’s before unpaid work, such as caring for children and domestic work, is considered. The ANU researchers suggest that a major cultural shift regarding long working hours, as well as employer action, is needed to resolve the problems affecting work-life balance. Change is not going to happen overnight.

So, in the meantime, what can you do at the individual level to promote your health and wellness at work? There are a number of aspects to consider, including physical, emotional and occupational wellness. Here are 10 steps you can take to kick-start your personal health and wellness journey.

  1. Eat healthily

You’ve probably heard the same a hundred times before, but eating well is an essential part of health and wellness. Swap the junk food for a healthy sandwich or salad, and replace your stash of chocolate bars and chips with nutritious snacks. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

  1. Get enough sleep

The National Sleep Foundation in the US recommends an average of 7-9 hours for adults aged 18-64 years old, and 7-8 hours for the 65+ population. Other factors to consider include sticking to a sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleeping environment, and turning off electronic equipment, such as mobile phones, before bed.

  1. Exercise daily

Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, wrote a great article about the benefits of exercise at work, referring to it as a “clear win-win – in terms of health, morale and productivity”. You could walk or cycle to work, for example, or head to the gym during your lunch break. A spot of exercise each day should refresh you and improve your concentration.

  1. Make time for family and friends

Think about scheduling time for family and friends. This could be as simple as a blocking out a couple of evenings each week, or planning an activity on a scheduled day off. By freeing up time in advance, you are actively creating balance during your busy working week. And sharing quality moments with those you care about most.

  1. Reduce stress

Work and excessive stress often go hand in hand. There are many approaches to tackling stress levels, including nearly every tip on this list. Additional tried-and-tested ways to regain a sense of control include deep breathing, mediation and yoga. Some people find it useful to write or speak daily positive affirmations, such as “I am fantastic at my job.”

  1. Share ideas

Feeling valued at work is a key part of health and wellness. So share your talents and creativity with your colleagues and line manager. You could suggest a different way of approaching a task that would enhance productivity or increase profit. You could also take up opportunities to learn new skills to further your sense of worth (as well as your career).

  1. Adapt your role

Now could be the time to talk with your employer if your workload is too great, or hours too long. Many companies are open to flexible working practices. Establish if others in your workplace are working part-time or have shifted roles. These precedents suggest that your employer would be open to discussing alternatives for you too.

  1. Ask for a career break

Step back from your situation by taking time out of the workplace. Many companies offer sabbaticals to valued employees, or you may be eligible for long-service leave. Make the most of your time away by doing something different. And take the time to reflect on where you want to go with your job and your career.

  1. Act with your voice

Major change to working conditions nearly always comes through collective action. Discuss the need for reduced working hours with your colleagues at work, join your union and/or lobby the government for change. In doing so, your individual voice becomes one of many, all acting with the same end goal in mind.

  1. Change jobs

If you are unhappy in your current job, and cannot see a way to improve the situation, consider changing jobs. You may well find your ideal role in another workplace, with a workload and hours to suit. So take a deep breath and start looking.

How do you promote your health and wellness at work? We’d love you to share your experiences and suggestions.

Whistle Blower

Starting on 1 January 2020, public companies, large proprietary companies and trustees of registrable superannuation entities will be required to have a whistle-blower policy in place. This is part of a move to ensure greater protections for whistle-blowers under the Corporations Act 2001.

Money laundering, fraud, financial irregularities, criminal damage against property – these are just some of the types of misconduct that can take place in a corporate environment. Whistle-blowers play an important role in uncovering and reporting these activities, but individuals are often unwilling to speak out for personal and financial reasons.

A whistle-blower policy provides a clear framework for all employees in an organisation. It should aim to promote whistle-blowing best practice in the workplace and encourage disclosure, contributing to a more ethical corporate culture. Amongst others, the policy must:

  • Identify people, within the company and externally, who can receive whistle-blower reports
  • Advise whistle-blowers how to make a disclosure
  • Include details on how your company will investigate whistle-blower reports
  • Provide information on legal protections available to whistle-blowers
  • Outline how your company will support and protect whistle-blowers

To find out more, take a look at this useful Regulatory Guide released by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). It provides information on designing a whistle-blower policy that complies with the legal obligations, as well as tips for implementing and maintaining this policy in the workplace.

Mentors have existed since time immemorial. Many claim that the word derives from the name of a character in The Odyssey, an ancient Greek epic poem that was probably composed around 700BC. The elderly Mentor was a great friend of Odysseus and trusted advisor to his young son Telemachus. Similarly, today mentors are often senior figures entrusted with providing advice to younger, more inexperienced employees. The aim: to help their mentees progress within their role, within their organisation, and – ultimately – within their chosen industry sector.

Mentoring can have significant benefits for the organisation, notably in terms of promoting a positive company culture, enhancing productivity and improving employee retention. Both mentor and mentee also stand to gain from a successful mentoring relationship through open, honest communication and feedback. Here are a few tips on how to get it right as a mentor:

Set a clear framework from the outset

In consultation with your mentee, decide how often you will meet and for how long. Also consider which communication channels you wish to use between meetings. Will your door always be open to your mentee, or would you prefer to receive emails from her on a particular day at a particular time?

Define goals together

Discuss and decide your mentee’s personal and professional goals with her. Your mentee’s input is a crucial part of this conversation; your role is to guide and support her in implementing a plan to achieve these goals.

Listen and learn from each other

It is often said that the mentor/mentee relationship is a ‘two-way street’ where the mentor has just as much to learn from the relationship as the mentee. Give your mentee the opportunity to express herself openly and honestly. Every individual has different ways of thinking and doing – and you may pick up an invaluable tip or two!

Let your mentee make mistakes

Provide honest, constructive feedback to your mentee, but allow her to follow her own vision and make mistakes. Learning from errors is essential to personal and professional development. Help your mentee analyse what went wrong and she’ll be able to move forward with confidence.

Be a positive role model

Lead by example not just in the mentor/mentee relationship, but in the wider workplace by demonstrating confidence, respect for others and clear, open communication. Celebrate your successes with your colleagues, but also share your failures. They show what you have overcome to reach the place you are today and will provide your mentee – and others – with a realistic perspective.

Being a mentor is both a privilege and a responsibility. Done right, it can benefit mentee, mentor and the wider business organisation.