Wellness In The Workplace: Topics of Substance Event Summary

17th May 2022

With our wellness in the workplace event concluded for 2022 a few weeks back, I wanted to provide a summary of some key trends, and once again thank our sponsors for their support.   Below is a quick summary of key trends and topics, and a shout out to our sponsors.  Hopefully we can see you at next years event, and would welcome any suggestions or feedback at info@carbonsafety.ca

Trends and Topics

We all want to have a positive workplace where we can recharge our batteries.  There were some trends that came out of this years event that focused on some key considerations in this pursuit. As we listened to the audience’s questions, comments and observations.  Here’s a quick summary:

Stress and Preparation

We don’t always know when stressful situations are manifesting, but when we do, or can see them coming trying to prepare for them helps to ease our anxiety.  Some suggestions from speakers were to use best practices to manage stress when it shows up, and just having this knowledge can help to reduce stress as you can feel more prepared, and resilient.  Another observation was good planning can help alleviate stress by creating predictable and stable environments, and lastly also planning for challenge so that if it occurs there are steps that can be taken.

Trauma

Whether it’s physical or psychological, injuries and illness can cause degrees of trauma, and trauma reduces wellness.  So by identifying sources of harm, and doing our best to manage safety in all forms we can hopefully help to reduce trauma in the workplace, however, where trauma has occurred in the emotional or psychological dimensions, it is critical to understand that behaviours may be a result of trauma and support and care may be required to help workers get back to a healthy place.

Counsellors Vs. Custodians

We want to encourage, coach, and develop wellness in our workplaces, and staff with healthy, and strong leadership, good programs, and an understanding of where sources of harm exist and how to manage it.  However, in saying that, we want to be careful that we embrace these roles as custodians of wellness, champions that help create wellness, but acknowledge our limits, that as leaders, and colleagues we are not counselors.  We aren’t trained, responsible for, or obligated to nurse every employee into a perfect state of wellness.  So finding the balance between leading, and supporting vs. counseling and developing worker health and wellness is essential.

Community

There were many observations that indicated a significant key to wellness at work is community, a theme that also came up at last years event.  It was noted that in challenging times having a workplace that is tight, understanding, and supportive goes a long way in dealing with work, or personal adversity.  We discussed some of the challenges around recruiting and retaining staff, and many individuals identified having a good sense of community, and supportive work environment as a reason to stay, and lack of this sense of community as a reason to leave.

Isolation

Different speakers addressed isolation in different contexts, but the general theme was that isolation is not conducive to wellness, or safety.  That contrary to a healthy sense of community, isolation can enhance feelings of frustration, anxiety, depression, and create barriers to support.

Humanity

A theme that came up a few times as well was simply that workplaces need to incorporate humanity.  We need to remember that we are more than machines to complete a task, build a product, or deliver a service.  We need to engage in the workplace, and embrace our humanity, it is an essential component of building community, and simply caring goes a long way.   It’s also a topic covered at the What if One event.

Social Challenges

There was much discussion, and frustration with a number of challenges we’re managing socially.  The cost of living, the limited availability of housing for staff, the price of housing, the number of workplaces all working short-staffed, the challenges with recruiting and retaining staff, and concerns around worker burnout from managing and coping with all of the above.

The irony, and reality, is that working with all these variables there are opportunities to address them through improving wellness in the workplace.  Here’s a quick opinion piece with observations, thoughts, and suggestions on how to manage some of these social challenges.

Sponsors

These events don’t happen without community support.

So without any further ado, big thanks to the following businesses for their support of this years event, and their community minded focus!

Shelly McNeil – REALTOR®

Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA)

Jim Pattison Media Ltd – 106.9 The Wolf and 102.3 The Wave 

Bethlehem Centre

Manufacturing Safety Alliance

Woods Lifetime Benefits

What If One – Safety Conference


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