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We want to introduce you to Carley Nicholson, one of our clients. Carley owns a business that helps build peaceful, productive, and positive workplaces. We thought it’d be interesting to discover her clients’ challenges in 2023 – the first full year without direct Covid disruption. But first, let’s find out more about Carley so that we can see her point of view.

Peace under Pressure is Carley’s business, and it does just that. By understanding what’s going on for people, Carley can empower them with the tools they need to perform and exhibit healthy behaviours in the workplace (which also go on to bring about positive results in their personal lives).

It is a crowded market, and there are many providers in this space, but Carley got curious about rewiring the brain for positive habits and long-term behaviour change. Quick-fix workshops don’t work; a month later, they’re forgotten, and people default to their old habits. So, she investigated the neuroscience behind sustained behaviour change and overlayed that into her services. She explains that you must slowly rewire the brain because we fundamentally resist change.

Peace under Pressure – You can still feel emotions like anger, fear, or overwhelm under pressure, but with the right tools and long-term support, people can take control of their responses – fight, flight, or burst into tears. Ultimately, that pressure isn’t real once you know how to control your reaction, reframe what you’re facing, and rise to the challenge. It’s all stuff we wished we’d learned years ago – because it affects all relationships: parenting, friends, family, work.

One example was Carley working with a team in 2023 for about five months. During this time, she helped them take responsibility for how they showed up at work and how they could go home as the best version of themselves. It’s two-fold; they can better deal with work pressures and still go home with energy and positivity. The feedback said it made a real difference, and the team’s culture became more peaceful, positive, and productive.

Challenges faced in 2023

Carley heard from businesses and teams that people are under pressure – and it’s still going on now. They must do more with less, survive a restructure, get back to the office rather than working from home, and make up for lost business.

There is a pull around expectations, and people haven’t recharged properly; Covid, weather events, increased cost of living (7.4% in 2023) and that income hasn’t increased to match it. As a business leader, you need empathy and understanding that your team has other things on their minds.

Many businesses had to streamline and cut back. The lack of certainty is a massive contributor to stress, and in the absence of good information, your team will make up their own, creating fear and uncertainty about whether they’ll have a job tomorrow.

As we started coming back on track in 2023, businesses also faced their team burning out, moving to the competition, and plenty of quiet-quitting (just doing the bare minimum for their paycheck). And unfortunately, employers don’t know anything’s wrong until it’s too late – when you get that unexpected resignation letter.

What did the successful do vs those who didn’t

The businesses that are still going are the ones who learned to be adaptable and flexible. They took a holistic approach to looking after their people by listening to what they wanted and needed and responding to it.

People are your greatest asset; what they value most will differ for every organisation. A big part of keeping your people is communication – being clear and authentic so that people don’t react from fear or uncertainty. People are not robots; they are perfectly human and need security and autonomy.

Communication is also about checking in with your people. When they leave, it’s generally not about money; it’s about feeling valued and appreciated and that they can use their skills and strengths to the best of their ability. So many people put on a brave face and say they’re okay, but they really aren’t.

Businesses used to get away with providing a fruit bowl in the lunchroom, but it’s so much more than that now. We need to help people self-regulate to show up as the best version of themselves.

You may have seen signs in supermarkets that say, “Please be kind to our staff”, which you would think is common behaviour, but it’s not. People are being aggressive, and it’s not because they ever intended to be; they’re likely going through something difficult, and the stress comes out on whoever is in range – like the checkout girl.


How can Carley help?

On Carley’s website, she has a ‘Pressure Test for Teams’, a confidential workplace survey that identifies risk factors around wellbeing and communication in the workplace. If you want to keep your good people and look after them, it’s more than the fruit bowl or a well-being workshop.

It’s a free and anonymous pressure test that will give you a good understanding of how your people are coping. And with these valuable insights, you can decide what you need to do to support them effectively.

Testimonial for Hastie

“I had my mortgage redone around five years ago through a mortgage broker. He later sold the business to Campbell. Since then, they’ve kept in touch to find out if anything was going on that would change my circumstances, but nothing changed. Until it did.”

“I sent an email laying out my thoughts, and to my surprise, Cam called me with a suggestion of a better way.”

“I like that approach – the regular check in, taking time to talk with me as soon as I did need something. But what I really valued was that I had mentioned in my email that things have shifted a little bit in my work, and Cam asked about it – he genuinely wanted to know. To me, anyone who treats you as an individual is gold – not just a transaction. It’s not lip service; it’s the actions that matter.”

If you need to update us on your situation, feel free to give us a call or send an email. Always happy to help.