The Leader Magazine

JUN 2019

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th E l E ad E r JUNE 2019 23 a toxic manager, long working hours, and a lack of time off lead to irreversible tolls on individuals and their families. Dr. Jay Finkelman, from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, said in a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) that 74 percent of employees reported work as a significant source of stress. In the United States, one in 10 employees suffer from depression, anxiety, stress, and burnout, said Dr. Cristina Banks with UC Berkeley's Interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Workplaces and an active participant in the CoreNet Global community. Stress is the leading cause of chronic diseases, which is the biggest component of health care costs, affecting not just individuals but organizations and the healthcare system. The Journal of Occupational Health and Medicine indicates that healthcare expenditures are almost 50 percent greater for employees who report high levels of stress. According to the American Institute of Stress, the cost of work-related stress is about $300 billion annually in the United States. Dr. Finkelman also emphasized that employees who are likely to leave their jobs don't seek promotions and even decline a new position because of the prolonged stress they experience at their work. How can we create a psychologically healthy workplace? Dr. Banks emphasized that wellbeing, psychological wellbeing in particular, is a very complex problem to attack and needs a multi-pronged solution. We need to capitalize on what we know about what promotes health and wellbeing in real estate, architecture, and design. We all have unique insights, but we need to work to understand how it all fits together. The distinction between an interdisciplinary approach and a singular one is that we need to build features that collectively work together to support wellbeing – not simply the introduction of one or more isolated features. As a proactive step, we have compiled a list of actions, which are by no means comprehensive, that organizations might take to create a psychologically healthy workplace or, at the very minimum, raise awareness around its importance. 1. Clear, noble purpose We are searching for meaning and purpose in places we didn't naturally think we would. Our work used to be a means for us to get food on the table, but nowadays work is part of our identity – a means to live our values and greater sense of purpose. Lisa Harvey, head of Workplace Experience at AMP, believes that organizations need to define a noble purpose that employees can both emotionally and mentally connect to. They need to acknowledge that it's not just about what they do for an organization, she said, but why they do it and the lives they are helping and enhancing as a result. People are seeking out organizations that have a clear noble purpose and a strong program of corporate social responsibility, as it forms a key part of their identity. Their identity shapes how they see themselves belonging and contributing beyond themselves to their community. 2. Systemic approach to developing and implementing unique solutions in the organization A singular solution such as a fitness center or healthy snacks won't address wellbeing holistically. "It is not just about having a café and fitness center," said Natalie Engels, design director at Gensler. "Physical wellness is an important aspect, but what are you doing to ensure emotional, mental, spiritual, and social wellness?" Organizations need to take a comprehensive approach to wellbeing and address the physical, mental, financial, and environmental aspects in a systemic way. The key to success is to apply solutions that are unique to the organization and integral to its vision, mission, values, and greater purpose. 3. Link between wellbeing and organizational performance According to Dr. Finkelman, the most successful psychologically healthy organizations are those that understand the link between an employee's wellbeing and the organization's performance. These companies try to use an approach that is good for their employees because they recognize that their performance and profit will be higher because of it. "Organizations should focus on employee health and wellbeing, both because the people benefit and the organizations benefit," Finkelman said. 4. Buy-in and active participation from leadership Senior management buy-in is also critical, Finkelman added. If executive leadership and senior management are "It is in the best interest of an organization to create a psychologically healthy workplace." – Dr. Jay Finkelman, chair of the Industrial/Organizational Business Psychology department and professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology "Everybody wants to stop the burnout problem because burnout is leading to increases in suicides in Silicon Valley." – Dr. Cristina Banks, director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Work- places at UC Berkeley According to the APA, the benefits of creating a psychologically healthy workplace are: Benefits to employees • Increased job satisfaction • Higher morale • Better physical and mental health • Enhanced motivation • Improved ability to manage stress Benefits to the organization • Improved quality, performance, and productivity • Reduced absenteeism, presentee- ism, and turnover • Fewer accidents and injuries • Stronger ability to attract and retain top-quality employees • Improved customer service and satisfaction

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