Michael Broadhead
Managing Director

07 April 2017


Good work at work

The cost of mental health in the workplace

Georgie Harman, CEO of beyondblue, spoke recently on 'The cost of mental health to your workplace’ at a CEDA event supported by Folk.

In the course of putting together a few notes to introduce Georgie I had cause to reflect and think through my experience, both as an employer and as someone who is lucky enough to do interesting and challenging work, in a friendly and supportive place.

I first met Georgie back in 2012 while doing some brand strategy and identity work around establishment of the new organisation, the National Mental Health Commission, where Georgie was Deputy CEO.

Amongst the many good things the organisation has done was a series of annual national report cards on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in Australia - the title of the first report being “A Contributing Life”. A chapter in this 2012 report was titled “Something meaningful to do, something to look forward to” which was about participation in work and employment.

The report drew on a wide range of data sources but also on the personal experiences of people from all over Australia, from different walks of life, with lived experience of mental health issues. It was their stories, in which many of them talked about what participation in work - or lack thereof - meant for them, their families, friends and sometimes work colleagues. Many of the stories started in a dark place – their trajectory towards isolation and the compounding issues associated with becoming unemployed.

It was a revelation for me, and I’m assuming many others who read them. Those stories were a small window into the huge difference it can make to people to be engaged in meaningful work and all that comes with it – the sense of purpose, self-worth, social connections and relationships, economic independence, and enjoyment.

Which is all really interesting in the context of conversations that often happen around “Work life balance”, where there’s an implication that work is toxic, life is good, one takes and another gives, and somehow we need to offset the two.

In the last Boyer lecture series Professor Sir Michael Marmot talks about social determinants of ill health – he uses some confronting examples to contrast the impact of “good” and “bad” work on physical and mental health. 

In the same way there’s clear evidence “bad or poor quality work” can cause harm, there’s an increasing appreciation that “good work” is far from toxic - but the onus is on employers to provide “good work”. That means many different things – think of emergency services, defence forces right through to work in a pizza shop or convenience store.

One aspect of “good work” is fostering a supportive workplace environment that supports people with mental health conditions and encouraging openness in order to create a workplace culture that is inclusive and more productive.

With 1 in 5 employees in Australian workplaces likely to be experiencing a mental health condition at any given time there’s no question improving workplace mental health is in everyone's interests and is everyone's responsibility. Find out more at www.headsup.org.au - a brilliant resource for employers.

You can read Georgie’s (excellent and informative) presentation here:


And one last thing…  A great read on the idea of “inclusive prosperity”

  • 09 November 2018

    Nudging for good

    Applying behavioural insights to improve policy outcomes.

    Folk’s research and design work is increasingly informed by lessons from behavioural economics. In health, education, social services and justice we’re being asked to solve problems where the aim is to help people make better decisions – in keeping with their own good intentions and best interest.

  • 09 October 2018

    Central Coast Council launches new website

    Central Coast Council is a newly created council, formed through the amalgamation of the former Gosford City and Wyong Shire Councils. With over 300,000 people, the newly formed Central Coast Council is one of the fastest growing regions in NSW and has the ninth largest population in Australia. 

  • 04 September 2018

    Carer Connect UX, UI and identity design

    We’d like to congratulate the Queensland Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women on the recent and successful launch of Carer Connect.

  • 04 June 2018

    Thought for food.

    A campaign to help fight food waste.

    We were delighted to be invited to help the remarkable OzHarvest.

    Read more

  • 13 April 2018

    Week Plan identity

    A productivity tool for over-achievers

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  • 16 March 2018

    Welcome Nick and Renato

    New grey matter. No grey hair. Yet. 

    Meet our new Client Services Director and UX Project Director.

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  • 15 March 2018

    Graham hosts AGDA Pecha Kucha evening at Sydney Design Festival

    AGDA’s annual Pecha Kucha event has become one of its most prestigious. Now a part of the Sydney Design Festival, the sold-out event is held at the Powerhouse Museum’s 300-seat theatre here in Sydney. 

    Read more

  • 07 February 2018

    ThinkUKnow… what your child does online?

    Today’s SMH reports “Kids as young as four posting explicit images and being groomed online.”

    As a result, the AFP-led ThinkUKnow program will now be introduced to teach online safety to kindergarten children. These classes already exist for grades three upwards.

    Read more

  • 05 February 2018

    Solar Powered Folk

    Our cool old Annandale chocolate factory warehouse sprung a leak. In a recent massive storm, the roof flooded and part of the ceiling caved in. Damn. This was promptly followed by an invasion of Possum/s – anything edible left out was devoured in place. Our furry visitor often expressed thanks all over the desk/floor in a way that’s unacceptable at a dinner party.

    Read more

  • 14 December 2017

    You can’t A/B-test your way to greatness

    You cant A/B-test your way to greatness

    Recent years have seen great developments in the design industry, with the practice achieving higher levels of maturity in verticals where it had been historically inexistent until not long ago, such as in Finance and Insurance, and in many places even earning a seat at the executive table.

    Read more

  • 08 December 2017

    Poster’d: 2017

    A self-initiated project by Folk

    Poster’d is an annual, internal project we set ourselves at the end of 2015. 
     design a poster of each month’s most notable event/s
     keep it surprisingly obvious.

    The whole studio contributes. 

    Read more

  • 06 December 2017

    Behavioural Economics: Design for good

    How many times have you been puzzled or surprised by people’s behaviour, particularly when their actions seem counter to their own best interests?

    Depending on how mindful you are at the time, we routinely notice these things and wonder ‘why?’ Why does it seem so hard for most of us to act in keeping with our good intentions?

    Read more

  • 30 November 2017

    Maddy and Graham talk for AGDA at The Distillery

    AGDA’s ‘Where To From Here’ is an opportunity for final year students and recent grads to have their most pressing questions, about entering the industry, answered. 

    Folk were delighted to be invited to spea


    Read more

  • 04 April 2018

    Embrace Learning UX research and design

    We’d like to congratulate Queensland's Department of Education and Training (DET) on the recent and highly successful launch of the Embracing 2018 Global Education Program.

    Read more

  • 30 October 2017

    Folk makes a doonation to Ronald McDonald House

    Our Giftmas-in-July fundraiser is put to bed

    Read more

  • 17 October 2017

    Our Graham talks at the ICON Conference

    Searching for the surprisingly obvious

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  • 29 August 2017

    Bringing investors and their trends to life, online

    Deloitte Access Economics for the ASX

    Bringing investment trends to life, online. Next Generation, Wealth Accumulators, Retirees and Non-investors all have a place. And a face.

    Read more

  • 02 August 2017

    Unpacking Plastic Free July

    Getting out of it what we put in

    Thank you and well done to all – including everyone at Folk – for their efforts this Plastic Free July.

    A month ago we decided to do our bit in the War On Waste – inspired by the ABC program of the same name. As a company, we aimed to refuse or re-use as many single-use plastic bags, cups, and containers as possible.

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  • 24 May 2017

  • 18 May 2017

  • 16 May 2017

    Easy does it

    Brand identity for Easy Agile 

    Easy Agile is a software development company offering unique online productivity tools for teams using Atlassian software

    Put more simply, they enhance what’s already in use. 

    Read more

  • 07 March 2017

    Encouraging ‘geeks’ to speak

    What Readify don’t know about software technology is not worth knowing. They know what they are talking about. However… 

    They’d stopped talking about it. Publicly, at least.

    Readify wanted to take centre-stage again in the software tech community and share their knowledge...

    Read more

  • 24 February 2017

    Alignment and dialogue

    Rebrand for Health Justice Australia

    It’s common for GPs to refer patients to mental health practitioners, to nutritionists, to physiotherapists… Rarely, if ever, to lawyers.

    Health Justice Australia exists to highlight and facilitate that change. And Folk had the pleasure of bringing their brand to life.

    Read more

  • 15 February 2017


    Congratulations to Deloitte Australia, rated by as most popular choice for the nation’s newly credentialed graduates in the Australian Financial Review / Grad Connection Top 100 Graduate Employers 2017. 

    Folk worked with on bring their new brand to life for Australian Graduate recruitment in 2017.

    Read more 

  • 05 October 2016

    Self raising power

    To raise money for the Cancer Council’s Biggest Morning Tea initiative, we stirred up a little healthy competition, with a not‑so‑healthy one.

    We indulged in a Bake Off.

    Bake a cake. Bring it in. Give and take (donate and eat). Bring it on!

    Read more

  • 07 December 2016

    Money for something

    Folk made a charitable donation to Alzheimer’s Australia in the form of Graham, our creative director.

    We can explain.

    Read more

  • 03 November 2016

    We're back! At Service Design 2016, Canberra

    Once again we’re supporting Service Design 2016 - but this time it's in Canberra, on 22-23 November.

    We’re looking forward to seeing our Experience Design Lead, Suzie Haddock, talk about “The unexpected results of going digital.”

    Read more


  • 28 October 2016

    Good Giving with Google

    Folk is a long-time supporter of a Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) event series. The most recent event in Sydney, “Innovative and effective corporate philanthropy that achieves social benefit”, saw Michael introduce Jacquelline Fuller, who leads Google.org 

    Read more

  • 20 October 2016

    Equalising the gender diversity ratio, across the board

    BoardLinks is a Government initiative supporting women’s leadership opportunities and representation on Government boards. It is a key tool in assisting the Australian Government achieve its 1:1, male to female, boardroom gender diversity target.

    Folk worked with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to create the visual identity and key messaging.

    Read more

  • 31 August 2016

    We're in the (digital) Marketplace

    The Digital Transformation Office (DTO) has created a marketplace for digital service professionals and Government buyers.

    Folk has joined the marketplace with service capabilities of User Research, Service Design and Interaction Design available through our recent appointment to the DTO’s Digital Service Professionals Panel.

    Read more

  • 05 August 2016

    See you at UX Australia 2016!

    UX Australia has been this country’s premier user experience design conference since its inception and each year it goes from strength to strength. We're proud to be on board as a sponsor.

    Read more

  • 26 May 2016

    Congratulations to Barnardos Australia for MyStory

    Congratulations to Barnardos Australia and their MyStory case management system for winning the Connecting Up Australian Not-for-Profit Technology Innovator of the Year award.

    Read more

  • 29 April 2016

  • 04 May 2016

    Welcome, James!

    Things are getting creative over at Folk with news the branding and design agency has hired James Welch into the design director role...

    Originally published in B&T Magazine 

    Read more

  • 02 May 2016

    500 pennies for our thoughts

    (in B&T Magazine)

    With the news of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s release of a new Australian $5 note, B&T Magazine reached out to Folk to ask for our considered design perspective. 

    We very happily obliged.

    Read more

  • 14 April 2016

    No answers, just better questions

    Like everyone at Folk I have a professional development plan – learning goals and objectives. I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to improve how I work and what I bring to my role at Folk. This year, I went to Harvard Business School in Boston for the “Leading Professional Services Firms” program...

    Read more

  • 26 February 2016

    Many hands make bright work

    How Folk’s 2015 Christmas Card took shape:

    “Err, we could do Hash-tags…. Gift tags, in the shape of a hashtags…?”  

    Read more

  • 24 February 2016

    Folk sponsoring Service Design 2016

    Service Design 2016 is all about designing great services, and a great fit with Folk’s focus on connecting brand identity and experience design.

    Read more

  • 29 January 2016

    We will remember them

    In 2015 the Department of Veteran’s Affairs engaged Folk to develop a content marketing strategy that would help people all over Australia to connect with stories, support projects and events in their area to commemorate the Anzac Centenary.

    Read more

  • 17 December 2015

    Folk’s own elected AGDA NSW Chair

    We’re delighted to announce our own Creative Director, Graham Barton, has recently been elected as the Chair of the Australian Graphic Design Association NSW Council.

    Read more

  • 15 December 2015

    Searching for the obvious

    Where do ideas come from?

    It’s less a case of knowing how or even where to look, more of being prepared to look – and think – hard. 

    Read more 

  • 07 December 2015

    Market Day at Susan Street Studios

    Something new in our Annandale neighbourhood is the Market Day at Susan Street Studios – held last Saturday around the corner from Folk’s Albion St Studio...

    Read more 

  • 26 November 2015

    Kicking the habit can be hard.

    But the experience is getting better, thanks to Cancer Institute NSW.

    Read more

  • 29 July 2015

    Thanks Bob

    It’s always good when our clients have good things to say about working with Folk.

    Even better when they do it in the media....

    Read more

  • 10 August 2015

    Taking justice online

    Sometimes, we are given the opportunity to work on projects where we really feel the output can make a difference to the greater good....

    Read more

  • 19 August 2015

    Making legal information accessible

    Continuing this month’s theme of making a difference, check out the new Legal Aid NSW Best for Kids website, launched by the NSW Attorney General, Gabrielle Upton, on Tuesday morning.

    Read more