Safety starts with YOU

We have no idea what potentially lies ahead but we can choose how we show up and look after ourselves and those around us.

We can all make a difference at home and work to improve the emotional and physical safety of our teams, family, and friends.

The first step is looking after ourselves when we take care of ourselves filling our cup with what gives us energy and joy, we can help others do the same.

Working in the building industry I often see and hear of leaders and teams getting into conflict, neglecting important tasks, and putting themselves and those around them at risk of physical and emotional harm.

Whether it’s having that extra drink, lack of sleep, not enough exercise, too much junk food, or a mix of all those things they can all impact our performance and ability to look out for each other.

These seemingly insignificant actions DO impact our ability to perform at our best.


I confess I used to often partake in a few drinks to reward myself for getting through the day. Having that 2nd or 3rd drink might feel good at the time but does it pay off in the long run?  It’s well known that alcohol is a depressant that affects our brain’s level of serotonin and dopamine the happy hormones. We might feel good whilst we drinking but the next day these happy hormones will be reduced, which can leave us feeling depressed or anxious.

I’m still often tempted to have that after work drink but I’m slowly breaking the habit and replacing my whisky with something non alcoholic and wow what a difference it’s made to my sleep, motivation, and mood… yes, I could get pretty moody.

Even more than how you feel it’s the impact on your safety and the safety of those around you. Alcohol slows our system down, it affects both our physical and our mental function, causing cognitive impairment, which can affect our judgment, memory, and reaction time. The big issue is when we drink excessively, we might think we’re fine but still have alcohol in our system that can affect our work and driving ability the following day. Slowing down our reaction time, clouding our thinking, and reducing our ability to focus.

Lack of sleep

Staying up to finish that Netflix series or our favourite sport can leave us sleep-deprived affecting our alertness, impairing our memory, decreasing our ability to process information, and having us feel irritable increasing the possibility of conflicts and increasing our likely hood of an accident.

Lack of exercise and junk food

We’ve all heard before how important nutrition and exercise are for our health and wellbeing yet many of us still skip a morning walk and a healthy breakfast in favour of an extra 30 minutes in bed or skip the gym to scroll social media and grab some takeaway.

In the short-term depriving our bodies of nutrition and exercise will have us feeling sluggish and tired affecting our focus and speed to respond if an incident occurred.

Add to our responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe is the impact all of these things have on our long-term health and wellbeing. Increased blood pressure, potential heart attack, strokes, weight gain, mental health problems, relationship issues, increased potential for accidents, and moodiness

We are all responsible for investing in education and our own health and wellbeing to protect the health and safety of the people around us.

EOFY and NFY tips

EOFY and NFY tips

Some key changes to take note of as we head into the new financial year

  • the $450 monthly income threshold for employers to be eligible to receive super will be removed as of 1st July.
  • superannuation guarantee rate (the minimum percentage an employer needs to pay into their employee super fund) is increasing from 10% to 10.5%.​

Some things to consider

  • Have your costs increased over the last 6- 12 months? I can say with certainty the answer will be a very loud and clear YES. Have you adjusted your pricing to reflect these cost increases? If the answer is no this is the perfect time to review your pricing and advise your customers/clients your new prices will be effective as of the 1st of July.
  • If you are looking to reduce your tax bill check that you have claimed everything you can. Check for any personal spending that you haven’t been reimbursed for.
  • Things to claim
    • motor vehicle expenses.
    • home-based business.
    • business travel expenses.
    • workers' salaries, wages, and super contributions.
    • repairs, maintenance, and replacement expenses.
    • other operating expenses, don’t forget things like Zoom, Canva, Calendar/Booking subscriptions, business books, and training courses.
    • depreciating assets and other capital expenses.

For more info check out the ATO website

  • Recovering Bad debts - before writing off bad debts check with a debt collector to see if there is a possibility of recovering the debt. Financial Rights Legal Centre fact sheets says… In most cases a creditor or a debt collector must recover the debt, or commence court action to recover the debt, within 6 years of: the date on which the debt first arose or. the date you last made a payment or. the date you acknowledged the debt in writing. Connect with one of our trusted experts Jeanine Purdie at Repaid Collections to see where you stand with recovering your outstanding debts
  • Make sure you have invoiced all work completed to date
  • If you carry stock this is the time to do a stock take and write off any damaged items to start the new financial year with an accurate account of your holdings. To reduce your tax bill, it may be a good time to purchase or update equipment remember to check your cash flow before rushing in and spending big!
  • Update your Worksafe certificate of currency and send it to any of your customers that require it.
  • Ask your accountant for advice on anything you should address before 30th June.

Prepare for the new financial year

  • Reflect on what worked well this year and what could have gone better. Meet with your team and gather the different perspectives making sure you minute what is uncovered and assign actions where needed and who will be responsible.
  • What systems can you put in place now to be even more prepared for the end of the next financial year? Perhaps it's diarising key dates into your google or outlook calendar for paying super, reviewing costs, reviewing licensing requirements, team performance reviews, team member’s work anniversary, and birthdays.
  • Create a budget
  • Update your cash flow spreadsheet considering potential price increases or project delays.
  • Celebrate what you have achieved in the last 12 months the most important thing is to acknowledge your own and the team’s achievements whether it’s a personal showing of gratitude or a team celebration.

A few ideas to show your gratitude…

  • A thank you card with a personal message acknowledging performance or achievement.
  • Acknowledgment in your company newsletter
  • Spotlights on team achievements in your social feeds
  • Shout the team smoko or lunch
  • If you are office-based decorate the desks and scatter chocolates before the team arrives
  • Have a social night playing mini-golf, xgolf, or ten-pin bowling


Building Connections - What a year!

What a year it has been! We’re a resilient bunch that’s for sure. As we close off 2021 it’s time to take a deep breath, acknowledge, and celebrate all we have achieved, accept what we cannot change, and relax and enjoy the festive season. For those of us that will be missing loved ones, we hope you too find joy and comfort in your memories.

We’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of our community who have provided articles, spoken at events, and provided enormous value to the Building Connections community. Your passion for supporting small businesses is amazing and we are extremely grateful for the knowledge you have shared with us.

The year that was 2021

We kicked off the year with a long-awaited face to face event enjoying a few drinks and lots of laughs at Barefoot bowling.

We Laughed and learned about…

Digital Marketing with Allan Cook from Conversion Digital

HR with Peter Maguire from Ridgeline HR followed by Pub Trivia at the Croydon Brewery

Untapped a gold mine of opportunities in our businesses with MBC co-founder Phil Sinclair from Meccano Solutions

Created a Roadmap to Success with MBC co-founder and Coach Colleen Sinclair

Put strategies in place to get paid on time with MBC co-founder and Coach Colleen Sinclair

Know your numbers with Gavin Knight from True North Business Advisory

Track your numbers to increase your profit with MBC co-founder and Coach Colleen Sinclair

Make every quote count with Christine Sharkey from Quote Convert

How to protect your business from hackers with Paul Hankin from Kaesim Cyber Security

Your safety questions answered with Cameron Walker from Walker Safety Services

To all our incredible members thank you for your friendship, contributions, and commitment to supporting each other.

Looking ahead to 2022

The new year will see us expanding to support the wider small business community through our monthly online laugh and learn events, face to face workshops, training, and social events.

We know it can be difficult to find time and funds to undertake training and provide social connection with your team. This is where Building Connections is the partner you didn’t know you needed.

When small business team together we can achieve more, reach goals faster, and have more fun along the way.

Want to know more? Book in a time for a chat

9 tips to a successful Christmas shutdown

This time of the year can be filled with chaos, drama, and uncertainty… it doesn’t have to be that way!  Here are our favourite tips to help you through the silly season and prepare for a successful Christmas shutdown.

1. Safety first – in the rush to meet deadlines this time of year is renowned for increased workplace injuries. Slow down, avoid mistakes and stay safe.

2. Be clear on how much you can physically achieve - set boundaries, be super clear on the workload you can manage, and avoid trying to keep everyone happy because at the end of the day someone is likely to lose out. Don’t forget to put the kid's school concert or drinks with friends into your schedule these may not be urgent but they are important long term.

3. Priorities the workload using “Eisenhower box”

4. Cash flow – invoice as the job is completed and follow up on payments as they fall due. Get on the phone and have a conversation with slow payers. Dedicating a set time each week to simply call and follow up gives you an opportunity to resolve any issues quickly and get money in your bank. 

5. Send a reminder to your customers and suppliers with your closure dates – we all know how much we have on our plates this time of year so make sure you send out a text or email reminding customers and suppliers of your closure dates. Sample message: We will be closed from 3pm on Wednesday 22nd December and reopening at 7am on 10th January. We wish you and your family a safe and happy festive season.

6. Focus time on specific tasks – This time of the year is hectic we get it, lots of things that must get done and so many people want your attention. Choose how you use your time wisely to avoid getting caught up in other people’s chaos.

7. Set up auto-reply email messages – Not everyone will be taking a break and chances are you’ll have emails arriving throughout the holiday period. There are a couple of options you could consider…

  • Auto-reply sample message – This email address is unmonitored whilst we take a break. We will be recharged and back on deck from 10th January please contact us again after the 10th. Wishing you a safe and happy festive season.
  • Auto-reply sample message – We are currently closed for the Christmas New Year period we will be reopening on Monday 3rd If you need to contact us during this period, please call (enter the phone number of the person on call)
  • To avoid returning to a mass of emails consider setting up auto-delete rules for all messages received while you are closed… just make sure your auto-reply message is clear that you are not monitoring emails.

8. Email on return - When you return to the office send an email to welcome everyone back and let them know you're ready to take calls.

9. Turn off your phone and relax – embrace the stillness and calm of not being connected to technology

  • You will enjoy more quality time with those around you
  • Your employees will get better at decision making
  • You'll learn the difference between an emergency and an "emergency"
  • Your brain will work better


Connection and our Mental Health

Melbourne is now in its second week of lockdown 6 and the feeling is low. In my many conversations over the past week, the words flat, unmotivated, sad, heartbroken, and heavy have been used to describe how people are feeling.

We, humans, are social creatures we thrive on connection with others. One of the greatest impacts on our health and wellbeing is our feeling of connection and belonging. With the current impacts of lockdowns staying connected has become increasingly difficult and yet more important than ever.

Feeling disconnected and not belonging leaves us feeling isolated and alone. Loneliness can have a significant impact on our physical and mental health which is clearly taking its toll when you listen to the language being used to describe how people are feeling.

When the connection is lost, we are more likely to see increases in:

  • Depression and suicide
  • Cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • Increased stress levels
  • Decreased memory and learning
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Poor decision-making
  • Alcoholism and drug abuse
  • The progression of Alzheimer's disease
  • Altered brain function

Before we ever heard of COVID-19 Smart Company reported in September 2019 that the mental health of our 2.2million small businesses in Australia is at a crisis point. The mental health issues among small business owners in Australia are more than double the national average.

Over half of small business owners compared to 1 in 5 of the general population are living with mental health issues from stress, low-level anxiety to depression.

Data on the 2020 -2021 period has not yet been released but I can only imagine the mental health of our small business owners being even higher.

So, what can we do?

  • Find ways to keep connected
    • Call a friend, family member, colleague, or customer. Check-in with the purpose of brightening their day and yours.
    • Play virtual games together like Golf Clash, Kahoot, Ticket to Ride, Water Cooler Trivia.
    • Join a group – check out the meetup platform for a range of groups. We’d love to have you join ours
  • Process your feelings as they come up instead of letting them build up. Let yourself be okay with whatever feelings bubble up.
  • Stick to a routine of sleeping, eating well and exercising
  • Breathe deeply and fill your lungs with fresh air…when you don’t need to wear a mask that is.
  • Be kind to yourself and others… kindness is contagious
  • Take control of your thoughts… you get to choose where you put your focus. Focusing on gratitude and appreciation is a great place to start.
  • Reach out for support when you need to “A burden shared is a burden halved”

Reach out to your:

  • Accountant or Financial Advisor
  • GP
  • Coach or Mentor
  • Building Connections community


  • Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
  • Lifeline 13 11 14