By Ruthann Weeks, Principal Consultant at harmony in the Workplace
You may have heard of the concept of psychological safety and its importance in creating environments of interpersonal risk taking to express thoughts, opinions, and ideas? It is about celebrating mistakes as learning opportunities, without any blaming, shaming or finger pointing. This level of radical trust is imperative in creating improvements and efficiencies. It’s also the breeding ground for the innovation the tech industry thrives on.
The Canadian Mental Health Commission has developed the National Standard, a set of voluntary guidelines for the implementation of organizational psychological safety. One of the standards is psychological support, meaning employees are valued and receive support regarding personal stressors and mental health issues. During Mental Health Week, which runs this Monday, May 3 through May 9, let’s focus on creating organizational cultures that thrive and provide support in practical ways.
With this grueling pandemic disruption, we are experiencing a mental health crisis. Current estimates suggest the stress effects will last three to five years, and longer for some who have lost family members, businesses, and livelihoods. We are all in the same storm, but we are not all in the same boat. While some of us may be living our best lives right now—working from home, avoiding commutes, saving on parking—others of us are trying to work in small apartments around kids sent home from school and partners laid off from their jobs. A few of us might be single, living alone, and struggling with isolation for the first time in our lives.
Although we need to be physically distanced to stay safe, we do not need to be remain socially distant. We can quite successfully check in and stay connected online, by phone, or on text or social media. Let us be intentional about checking in authentically with co-workers, neighbours and loved ones. We are all in this together.