How healthy is your workplace? Are you helping to energize or enervate the people you work with? With constant change and the relentless pressures of today’s 24/7 work world, stress is taking a heavy toll. A national opinion poll by the American Psychological Association found that “two-thirds of both men and women say work has a significant impact on their stress level, and one in four has called in sick or taken a “mental health day” as a result of work stress. Also a significant concern for employers, job stress is estimated to cost U.S. industry $300 billion a year in absenteeism, diminished productivity, employee turnover and direct medical, legal and insurance fees.”

The Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program is a collaborative effort between the American Psychological Association and the APA Practice Organization, “designed to educate the employer community about the link between employee health and well-being and organizational performance.” The organization’s researchers have identified five core elements of a psychologically healthy workplace:

  • Employee Involvement
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Employee Growth and Development
  • Health and Safety
  • Employee Recognition

Go to Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program for more insights and information. Click on the banner ad in the bottom right corner (featuring the Toronto Police Service) for a PDF download full of inspirational examples from the 2010 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award winners.

Canada’s National Quality Institute (NQI) is also focused on helping to build healthier workplaces. NQI’s VP of Educational Services, Adam Stoehr, recently posted a humorous blog reflecting on his visit to Hampton Court in England:

“When King Henry VIII ruled England (between 1509 and 1547) he spent a lot of his time at this Palace. King Henry wasn’t exactly known for his ‘healthy workplace’ practices. He ruled with absolute power, perhaps the last English monarch to do so. I spent two days exploring the Palace and reading a lot about the King. Three themes emerged about his ‘Anti-Healthy Workplace’ leadership style:

  • He killed people that disagreed with him
  • He changed the rules a lot
  • He spent lots of money unnecessarily

These themes are the Anti-Healthy Workplace or ‘Sickly Workplace’. The following is how not to act if you want happy engaged employees.”

See King Henry VIII ruled the Anti-Healthy Workplace for Adam’s full blog post. It’s a fun bit of “historical friction” (pun intended) teaching us what not to do in making our workplaces healthier!