I fully support Robert’s suggestion that there are a lot of things NOT being talked about or included in Alberta’s Re-Launch Strategy.
As Albertans continue to act responsibly and follow all public health measures, now, more than ever, companies need to face the realities of today’s world of work; occupational health and safety is more than just physical safety in the workplace. Yes, companies need to offer a COVID-19 SAFE WORK ENVIRONMENT that is disinfected and kept sanitized, as well as arrange workstations that ensure effective physical distancing. But there is so much more to a safe workplace than just physical safety.
Prior to the pandemic, from my own personal work experiences, most companies were not committed to ensuring psychological health and safety in the workplace. It stands to reason they would not be factoring this into occupational health and safety as part of the province’s Re-Launch Strategies. It also seems like a lot of people never really thought about their mental health at work prior to the pandemic. But if there’s one thing that seems certain – whether you have been directly impacted by COVID or not, the ramifications of the pandemic WILL change people’s thinking about psychological health and safety, mental health and mental well being…at work.
The bottom line here is that the world of work really has no option but to change. This means that organizations will need to adjust how they approach occupational health and safety to now include psychological health and safety, mental health and mental well being…at work.
Living through a pandemic changes your perspective of life and what’s truly important, and what we are no longer willing to tolerate in the workplace. Just as the new normal will include constant hand washing, sanitizing and refraining from shaking hands, it will also include higher expectations to address workplace mental health and mentally safe environments for us to be comfortable and productive. Now is the time for organizations to step up to the plate and value their human assets.
I really like the 4 major areas that Robert outlined in his chart; Re-New ( Self Care ), Re-Position ( Workplace Mental Health ), Re-Organize ( Team Re-Building ) and Re-Shape (Workplace Culture. Psychological + Physical Health & Safety ).
When I reflect upon my own personal work experiences, Self Care rarely exists in the workplace. You come to work and you leave your personal baggage at home. What brings you joy, sadness, or pleasure does not belong in the workplace.
In the early stages of the “Stay at Home” message put forth by government and health officials, we all had to do without a lot of personal services that we normally use in our everyday life; hair cuts, dentists, massages, etc. The absence of these services certainly had folks realizing how important Self Care is to our overall well being. Additionally, working from home has actually caused employees to realize that their workplace environment was either extremely satisfying and they missed it or it was extremely toxic and they just hadn’t realized it. Either way, some longed to return to work while others dreaded it.
But when you examine the amount of stress this pandemic has caused for all of us, I would suggest that leaders in organizations Re-Shape their workplace cultures to now include Self Care. And, if they are going to Re-New employee trust and confidence when Re-Positioning workplace mental health, everyone needs to start the conversation…together! Everyone needs to feel mentally safe at work.
And, whether you believe this or don’t believe this, everyone needs to experience Fun at Work. Too many leaders believe that Fun isn’t a part of work. Research does in fact show that Fun at Work plays a big role in relieving everyone’s stress, especially stress that has come about due to the pandemic. PS. Don’t worry! Fun at Work will not be a distraction from getting the work done. Fun at Work increases productivity; happy people are much more efficient and much more willing to go the extra mile.
Team Building is mostly an illusion that companies hope “just happens” when throwing a bunch of people in a room together for a group activity such as a Pot Luck Lunch. Here’s the bad news – if teams were inefficient and/or disjointed prior to COVID, why would they be better teams now? All the Zoom meetings in the world cannot grow a team that did not actually exist prior to COVID. This is why Robert has renamed Team Building to Team Re-Building on his chart.
Look! Positive mental health needs to be a top priority during the Re-Launch. It’s clear that our occupational health and safety programs are heavy on the physical side of safety and not so much on the psychological health and safety side. Bullying, verbal abuse and condescending behaviour will no longer be tolerated at work. People are feeling more fragile and vulnerable more than ever and this is compounded by the fact that so many of us have lost loved ones and friends to COVID-19. This confrontation with our mortality has shaken even the strongest of us.
What is not being talked about during Alberta’s Re-Launch Strategy NEEDS TO BE TALKED ABOUT.
Personal Growth Strategist & Energy Shifter