Monday, October 14, 2013

Psychologically Healthy Workers are Better Workers

Psychologically Healthy Workers are Better Workers

It is not uncommon for the workplace environment to be characterized by volatile economic conditions and repeated organizational change that is necessary to adapt to frequently changing technologies and increased global competition. Workers are exposed to stress and anxiety when trying to cope with increased workloads and time pressures resulting from this complex environment. Organizations experience many negative consequences arising from psychologically unhealthy workers. These consequences include turnover, absenteeism, performance issues, decreased morale, high disability claims and the risk of increased injury rates.

To address this reality, a new voluntary Canadian standard on psychological health and safety was released in January 2013. The goal of this standard is to prevent psychological harm and promote psychological health and safety in the workplace. While this standard is voluntary, experts predict it will become incorporated into occupational health and safety laws and worker’s compensation. The standard provides tools and information on developing and maintaining a psychologically healthy and safe workplace.
Companies that provide a psychologically healthy and safe workplace benefit from enhanced productivity, decreased costs related to ill health, improved employee engagement, and are better able to attract and retain talent. These benefits can have a significant impact on the bottom line.

What can business owners do to provide a psychologically healthy and safe workplace for their employees?

  • ·         Promote a workplace culture characterized by support, respect and belongingness
  • ·         Enhance mental health knowledge  – including warning signs and misconceptions
  • ·         Provide resilience or stress management training to workers – particularly to those in managerial roles as they are at a higher risk for psychological health issues due to work/life imbalance
  • ·         Provide staff with an Employee Assistance Program to assist in finding resolutions for concerns or incidents – these programs have become increasingly more affordable for small business owners
  • ·         Support work/life balance – for example, by implementing flexible schedule arrangements
  • ·         Provide accommodations to support individuals with mental health issues at work

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