Resources

Stress and Mental Health

Have That Talk: Promote Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace

The Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Standard has been available now for four years.  Some workplaces dove in, adopted the Standard and created a comprehensive implementation plan very early on.  Other workplaces are taking small, progressive steps forward.  Regardless of how fast or slow your organization is moving on this issue, a key [...]

Reconsider Your Workplace Wellness Approach

It is tempting to consider workplace wellness from the perspective of what your employees can do themselves to improve their health…from eating better to getting more exercise and sleep.  The research is clear, however, that to make a lasting impact on a workplace’s bottom line, employers need to look at the environment they are creating [...]

Encourage Employees to Gauge Their Stress

Stress seems to be commonplace today and for some they where it like a badge of honour.  Stress can contribute to so many other health issues that it is important for employees to pause and take the time to assess just how much stress they are experiencing.  There are several tests that you can make [...]

Support Stressed Out Employees to Develop an Action Plan

The Psychological Foundation of Canada has developed a website to support individuals who want to get a handle on reining in their stress. Consider sharing this on-line resource with your employees.  Their is no cost and it is based on research evidence. The website, called Stress Strategies, will give individuals examples of successful strategies adopted by [...]

How Returning to Work is Good for Your Health

The Institute for Work and Health underwent a systematic review of research looking at the impact of returning to work after an illness or injury.  The research leans towards better health outcomes when employees return to work–and the earlier the better.  The challenge is finding the right balance.  To learn more about this study, click [...]

Help Employees Tackle Fatigue

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health Safety has a resources that you can share with your employees that will help them identify whether or not they are dealing with the effects of fatigue and what they can do to make it better.  There is a webpage full of information and a short 4 minute podcast [...]

Help Employees Improve Their Mental Health Literacy

Before we can support and provide resources to employees dealing with a mental health issue or addiction, we need to develop our mental health literacy.  Do your employees know the difference between mental health and mental illness?  Do your employees know what actions they can take to improve their mental health?  To get started, why [...]

Explore the Feasibility of Telecommuting (a.k.a Telework)

With technology comes opportunities to do our work differently.  Some workplaces are moving toward having their employees work from home.  Depending on what line of business your workplace is in, think about the pros and cons of telecommuting (a.k.a. telework).  To start the “pro” list, check out the list below taken from an article in [...]

“Work With Us” – A Program to Support Employees with Depression and/or Arthritis

The Mood Disorders Society of Canada and the Arthritis Society have teamed up to create a program to support employees living with depression and/or arthritis.  The program offers a variety of ways in which to get involved–customized presentations, on-line support, videos and webinars and other downloadable resources.  For more information visit their website. Source: Peterborough [...]

“Supporting Employee Success” – Accommodation Planning

The Mental Health Commission of Canada has produced a resource to support workplaces in creating supportive accommodations for employees with mental health issues.  Here is the free document, Supporting Employee Success: A Tool to Plan Accommodations that Support Success at Work. The Commission’s workplace webinar in May 2015 featured this resource. Click here to listen [...]

Learn How to Create Accessible Meetings

There are many requirements under the Accessibility of Ontario with Disabilities Act (AODA).  For general details regarding those requirements and timelines, visit the AODA site.  To learn more about making your meetings accessible, check out this guide: Guide to Conducting Accessible Meetings. Source:  Peterborough County-City Health Unit

Consider the Needs of Transgendered Workers

The needs of transgendered employees are protected under human rights.  It is important to learn more about ways in which employers can create work environments that are inclusive and accommodating.  To get you started in thinking about this, here is a blog post from The BLOG of Canadian Lawyer and Law Times: Employers urged to develop [...]

Supporting Employees in Balancing Work and Caregiving

Family status is a protected ground under human rights legislation so it is important for employers to consider what accommodations might be required.  The Canadian Human Rights Commission has produced “A Guide to Balancing Work and Caregiving Obligations.”  Be sure to check it out. Source:  Peterborough County-City Health Unit

Learn more about Domestic Violence in the Workplace

Bill 168 in Ontario was introduced a few years ago and it requires all workplaces to address the issues of violence and harassment.  An impetus for this bill was the death of a nurse in Windsor at the hands of her former intimate partner.   It is important, as an employer, to be aware of [...]

Be Open to Where and How Work Happens

The Government of Canada, through the Public Works and Government Services department, has been looking at what the physical workplace of the 21st century needs to be.  They call their initiative Workplace 2.0 and it looks at how to use today’s technologies into our work and our work environments.  Click here to learn more. New [...]

Support Employees Who Are Pregnant or New Parents

Have you made your workplace family-friendly?  Choosing to have a child means taking a number of things into consideration.  One of those things is how well does the workplace support workers who are pregnant or returning to work after the baby is born.  Not every workplace is the same and their may be risks to [...]

Support New and/or Young Workers

There are many benefits to opening your door to new or young workers.  Whether you’ve  just hired new and/or young workers starting out in their first jobs or you’re taking on summer students, think about what you can do to create a healthy work environment for them. To get started, consider visiting the Ministry of [...]

The Law and Return to Work Plans: Supporting Employees with Mental Illness

On November 6, about 100 workplace representatives attended a session hosted by the Peterborough Health at Work Committee and the Peterborough Chapter of HRPA.  Dr. Martin Shain provided a good background on the legal issues around mental health in the workplace.  With seven areas of law influencing a workplace’s duty to provide a psychologically safe [...]

“Action Steps to Real Work”

The Canadian Mental Health Association has produced a document called “Action Steps to Real Work” which summarizes a variety of strategies to support employees with mental illnesses.  There are strategies for consumers/survivors, employers and service providers.  Every workplace has employees dealing with mental health issues and any actions you can take to make the work environment [...]

Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace: An Action Guide for Employers

The Mental Health Commission of Canada has produced a resource for employers to support them in implementing the new standard.  To help you get started with this tool, there is a free 60 minute “on demand” webinar featuring the two authors of the guide.  For more information and to register visit: http://www.ccohs.ca/products/webinars/psych/ Source: Peterborough County-City [...]

Overview of New Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) hosted a webinar on the new Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Standard in January 2013.  A video of the webinar as well as the slides from the presentation are now available for download and viewing.  Visit the MHCC website. Source:  Peterborough County-City Health Unit

Support Employees to be Active Winter Commuters

Once the snow flies and ice builds up on sidewalks, employees who walk to work or during their breaks may decide to drive to work and stay indoors.  Encourage employees to remain active commuters throughout the winter months.  Share these tips from Peterborough Green Up: http://www.peterboroughmoves.com/commuter-tips.  What can the workplace do?  Some workplaces have implemented [...]

Working Life: A Documentary Tool Kit about Mental Health in the Workplace

Sky Works Charitable Foundation, based in Toronto, has created a tool kit for workplaces to use that addresses mental health in the workplace.  The kit includes a 37 minute documentary video featuring individuals who have lived with a family member’s mental illness and, for some, their own.  Their stories highlight the different ways that workplaces choose to deal with mental [...]

Dealing with Mental Health in the Workplace: Are you ready?

Only one in four employees feel their supervisor handles mental health issues well and only 56% of managers say they have received any training on mental health.    These are only two of the interesting findings you can find in a report produced by the Conference Board of Canada. In June 2011, they released the [...]

Promote the Registered Disability Savings Plan

The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) helps people with disabilities and their families save for the future. To help participants save, the Government will pay a matching grant of up to $3,500 a year on your contributions. They will also pay a bond of up to $1,000 a year into the RDSP’s of low-income and [...]

Support Employees with Mental Illness

Many employees living with mental illness can live very productive work lives but they need support from their employers.  In addition to workplace policies and programs, support employees to take charge of their health by encouraging them to use a new on-line resource from the Mood Disorders Association of Canada called Mental Health M.A.P. - My Action Plan.  [...]

Managing Emotions in the Workplace

As a manager, HR professional, union steward, and/or workplace wellness champion, you have likely encountered a colleague or employee who is experiencing strong emotions.  Whether they are angry, overwhelmed, sad, or frustrated, it is important to know how to interact with the employee in an empathetic way.  The research is clear that managers who show empathy, benefit [...]

Returning to Work After Baby

Heading back to work after a parental or maternity leave can be very challenging.  To help employees transition back to work, consider sharing with them a new resource from Best Start: Ontario’s Maternal Newborn and Early Child Development Resource Centre. The 20-page booklet contains information on choosing child care services, work and breastfeeding, planning time, establishing [...]

Aging Workforce – Local Project

Over two years ago, the Workforce Development Board, Trent University and the Trent Centre for Community-Based Education partnered up to take a local look at the aging workforce.  The research involved talking with older workers as well as employers.  The following reports have been generated: Older Worker Stories Project – Final Report Summary of Older [...]

Ten Work-Life Balance Strategies for the Workplace

The Psychology Foundation of Canada in partnership with Desjardins Financial Security developed a number of resources for workplaces on stress, work-life balance and the multigenerational workforce.  Click on this link http://www.psychologyfoundation.org/pdf/publications/managing_to_manage.pdf to access, Managing to Manage Workplace Stress.  In this resource you will find ten strategies for addressing work-life balance. Source:  Peterborough County-City Health Unit

Health and Management Leadership

Although the health and well-being of your employees can be tackled through lifestyle messaging around eating well, being active, quitting smoking, and so on, the greatest impact you can have on workplace health is managing your employees well.  The Canadian Centre for Management Development’s Roundtable on Workplace Well-Being produced a document that contains practical information and assessment tools.  One tool helps managers to [...]

Learn about the Changes to CPP–and Share It With Your Employees

Starting on January 1, 2011, the government has made changes to the Canada Pension Plan.  For more information, please visit http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/isp/cpp/postrtrben/main.shtml Share this information with your employees.  Consider hosting a lunch and learn and invite a representative from Service Canada to speak about the changes. Source:  Peterborough County-City Health Unit

Making It Work – A CMHA Program

With one in four Canadians dealing with a mental illness at some point in their lives, many of us can say that we know someone who has dealt with stigma and the desire to contribute to society but only meets up with roadblocks.  With proper supports, an individual living with a mental illness can be a valuable employee.  Be [...]

Stress Test (Kit)

A brief questionnaire that addresses the signs and symptoms of stress serves as an effective, convenient tool for employees who wish to assess their stress levels.  Test results that indicate an unhealthy level of stress may encourage employees to seek necessary services, such as counseling or other supports. The Stress Test is a basic instrument [...]

Capture the Moment (Kit)

Capture the Moment is a simple activity that provides employees the opportunity to share their favourite stress-relieving hobbies and past-times with their fellow employees.  The activity emphasizes the importance and variety of stress management strategies.   Employees who are interested in participating must submit a work-appropriate photograph of themselves enjoying their favourite activities.  Staff will cast [...]

Hobby Fair (Kit)

The Hobby Fair encourages employees to share the interests or activities that they enjoy outside of work with their fellow employees.  Hobbies and interests that are unrelated to work often play an essential role in good health.  Importantly, these activities help relieve stress. Coordinators should host this event in a large, open area, where each [...]

Tuning Into Workplace Culture: A Practical Guide for Employers

The Health at Work Committee of Peterborough recently published a resource for employers that addresses organizational culture.  The following is the Table of Contents for the Guide: INTRODUCTION SECTION 1:  Comprehensive Workplace Wellness SECTION 2:  Organizational Culture Basics SECTION 3:  Assessing Culture SECTION 4:  Assessment Tools SECTION 5:  Taking Action: Next Steps SECTION 6:  Strategies [...]

Relax Fax (Kit)

Group faxes, e-mails, memos, and newsletters are great ways of spreading the word about health-related programming in and around the workplace.  Use the fax machine to send a series of regular faxes or e-mails regarding stress management. Content can include information about stress, strategies for managing stress, and workplace or community- based opportunities for employees looking [...]

His & Hers Health Fair

Organize a Health Fair at your workplace. Invite organizations to provide a display or handouts that introduce employees to the issues related to healthy eating, staying active, and maintaining vitality throughout life. Approach different organizations for resources.  Organizations could include your local Health Unit, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadian Diabetes Association, or the [...]

Psychological Health and Safety: Helpful Resources

LOCAL RESOURCES Canadian Mental Health Association (705) 748-6711 Community Counselling and Resource Centre (705) 742-4258 ConnexOntario – Drug and Alcohol Helpline (800) 565-8603 ConnexOntario – Mental Health Helpline (866) 531-2600 ConnexOntario – Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline (888) 230-3505 Four County Crisis (866) 995-9933 FourCAST (addictions support) (800) 461-1909 Kinark Child and Family Services (705) 743-6356 [...]

Declutter Day

Some of our stress is due to many competing demands.  And, sometimes, those demands are staring us in the face–piles of files on our desks, a stack of voicemail messages and many e-mails.  A cluttered desk or desktop may signal a cluttered mind!  When employees spend time looking for a document or a phone number, that’s time that could [...]

Stress Management Month

Offer a seminar series that features personal stress reduction techniques.  Some topics might include deep muscle relaxation, visualization, basic meditation, exercise, and the role of pets in stress reduction.   Source:  Peterborough County-City Health Unit

Cabin Fever Reliever

During the drab winter months, it’s not uncommon that people feel a little down in the dumps.  To help combat the winter blues, offer seminars on such topics such as Seasonal Affective Disorder, indoor air quality, humour, indoor winter activities, or the use of indoor plants in stress management.   Source:   Peterborough County-City Health Unit

Laughter is the Best Medicine

It’s true—laughter reduces stress hormones and provides a welcome emotional and physical release.  To encourage laugher and light-heartedness in the workplace, post a “Joke Board” where employees can submit their favourite work-appropriate jokes and puns.  Or, attach a “Joke of the Day” to memos and faxes.   Source:  Brant County Health Unit

Host Screenings of Fun, Work-Appropriate Films

Screen classic slapstick comedies by Laurel & Hardy, the Three Stooges, and The Marx Brothers, or choose from among more modern films. Run the event in a boardroom or lunchroom and serve popcorn.   Source:  Peterborough County-City Health Unit

Consider Offering On-Site Massage Therapy

Some workplaces arrange for a massage therapist to visit their workplace once a week or once a month.  Employees sign up in advance.  If possible, cover the cost.  If that isn’t possible, consider subsidizing the cost.  Encouraging employees to get massages prior to a problem developing will help prevent injuries and positively affect the workplace bottom line.  [...]

Casual Dress Days

Introduce a casual dress day of the week or month as a tool to reduce stress. Obtain support from management and publicize the day as a method to reduce stress.  Consider asking employees to donate a loonie for the privilege and then use the money for other wellness initiatives.   Source:  Peterborough County-City Health Unit

Everybody Needs a Little Space

Using available resources and facilities, create a quiet room where employees can go to relax and unwind throughout the day.  Furnish the room with comfortable chairs or couches and calming decor.  Provide a tape recorder with relaxation music as a fixture in the room or on a sign out basis.  If possible, make sure the [...]

Encourage Employees to Assess Their Mental Health

Help reduce the stigma around mental health and encourage your employees to assess their status.  There are a number of free, on-line assessment tools that you could promote to your employees.  Here are three that we know of: Mental Health Works provides a free on-line emotional wellness survey tool that you and your employees can [...]

Develop a Comprehensive Mental Health Policy

Consider developing a comprehensive mental health policy that addresses mental health promotion as well as mental illness treatment and management. This may include: Support for assisting employees to stay mentally fit. Staff training about mental illnesses to help reduce the stigma and discrimination. This will help encourage employees to seek treatment, as opposed to trying to [...]

A League of Their Own

Encourage physical activity and athletics among employees by helping to establish workplace sports leagues or walking clubs.  As the employer, you are in a position to take the lead.  Reserve outdoor recreational areas, create rosters, and provide sports equipment.  Just make sure to offer a variety of options for employees of different ages and abilities. [...]

Foster Mentoring Relationships

Initiate a mentoring program where experienced workers are partnered with inexperienced ones. Experienced workers can share their knowledge and act as trainers or consultants to new employees. New employees can assist experienced employees with learning new technological skills, and assist with physical aspects of the job. Locally, the Workplace Integration Centre has a mentoring program as well.  Visit Workplace Integration Program for more information.   In [...]

Offer Conflict Resolution Training

A major source of stress at work can be due to the conflicts we experience with a co-worker or boss.  Offer a session on conflict resolution so that employees can learn strategies for working with colleagues in a respectful, stress-free environment.  Ensure that managers have obtained advanced training in this area so they can assist in mediating conflicts. [...]

Tailor Stress Management Strategies to Specific Positions

Hold seminars on stress that apply to a target population. For example, hold a seminar that is specifically designed for secretaries or management that proposes stress management strategies related to these employees’ needs. Select someone to run the seminar with expertise in that target field. Customizing each seminar for the group in attendance usually results [...]

Just How Stressed Out Are You?

Distribute self-screening tools to employees to help them determine their current stress level and shed a light on workplace triggers that exacerbate their stress.  Encourage employees to share the results with one  another in an effort to reduce stress and foster helpful relationships.   Source:  Brant County Health Unit

Active Workplace Teams

Form workplace teams or hold family events to support increased levels of physical activity as well as the development of healthy relationships between employees and between family members. Try bowling, golf or softball. Also, consider forming groups for activities like cycling, Tai Chi, regular daily stretching or aerobics. Encourage walking groups, dancing groups or recreational [...]

Seek Feedback from Employees

Listen carefully to employees’ concerns regarding tense, uncomfortable, or hostile relationships at work.  This input may help supervisors, human resources personnel, or EAP staff diffuse the situation before it becomes critical.   Source:  Brant County Health Unit

Provide Staff with Outdoor Recreation Space

Encourage employees to use this space for physical activity before, during, or after work.  Given the size and suitability of the area, you may also want to provide sports equipment, such as soccer balls, volleyball nets, etc; or, encourage employees to bring these supplies from home. Source:  Brant County Health Unit

Communication is Key

Keep employees informed and in the loop when it comes to workplace goals, plans, and decisions.  That way, employees know what to expect at work.  They feel a greater source of control over their work environment, and this can help reduce stress.  Plus, communication and transparency on the part of management often inspires similar behaviour [...]

Allow Everyone to Have a Say in Important Decisions

When employees have a say in decisions that affect them, they feel that they have some control over their work environment.  The outcomes of decisions are more likely to reflect employee preferences, which makes for a more supportive work environment and less stress.  Routinely invite employees to participate in making decisions that influence their workplace [...]

Create Financial Incentives and Other Awards for Supportive, Creative Managers

Research shows that employees who have social supports at work are better equipped to cope with stress.  Managers can provide front-line support to those who need it most, helping them manage their stress and reduce workplace stressors.  Creating incentives for managers who creatively support employees will encourage other managers to follow suit.   Source:  Brant [...]

Prohibit Excessive Overtime

Excessive or mandatory overtime may only worsen the potentially negative effects of working late into the night or evening.  Make sure that your workplace policies don’t inadvertently urge employees to work during times at which they aren’t scheduled to do so. Source:  Brant  County Health Unit

Place a Limit on Employees’ “Homework”

If your employees regularly take work-related assignments home in the evening to complete during their time off, chances are they’re taking time away from other activities and family time that make up a balanced life.  Considering feedback from employees, create a policy that establishes guidelines for the amount of time that employees should spend on [...]

Conduct Assessments of Employees’ Workloads

Research shows that high job demands, having too much to do over too long a period, and constant imposed deadlines are among some of the most harmful workplace stressors.  As an effort to reduce employee stress, routinely review job demands to ensure that each employee’s workload is manageable and in line with his or her [...]

Enact Flexible Scheduling Options

Develop flexible scheduling policies that allow employees to dedicate a few moments throughout the day to physical activity, personal appointments, family obligations, stress relievers, or other pleasurable activities.  The adjusted work day and flex-time policies allow employees to work the standard number of hours on a daily basis, with flexible start and finish times within [...]

Flexible Schedules Allow for Counselling

Develop flexible scheduling policies that allow employees to attend substance misuse programming or counselling sessions as needed.  The adjusted work day and flex-time policies allow employees to work the standard number of hours on a daily basis, with flexible start and finish times within limits established by management.  More flexibility means that employees are able [...]

Feature Interactive Displays or Bulletin Boards in High-Traffic Areas

Colorful and attractive displays on nutrition and heathy eating easily draw the attention of employees.  Create posters or bulletin boards that advertise healthier  meal choices, healthy tips for food preparation, and favourite healthy recipes.  The same strategy can be used for many other topics including being active, being smoke free, responsible drinking, reducing stress, shiftwork, [...]

Create a Childcare and Respite Care Bulletin Board

Invite employees to post contact information for individuals and organizations they trust to look after their children and loved ones.  For someone looking for childcare or respite care, this referral information could go a long way. Source: Brant County Health Unit

Family Benefits

Consider providing flexible, family-oriented benefit packages that can be reassessed based upon family life situations. For example, parents could select different options based on the age of their child(ren), such as opting for orthodontic coverage for braces or day care coverage if children are young. Source: Windsor-Essex County Health Unit

Create Financial Incentives and Other Awards for Supportive, Creative Managers

Research shows that employees who have social supports at work are better equipped to cope with stress.  Managers can provide front-line support to those who need it most, helping them manage their stress and reduce workplace stressors.  Creating incentives for managers who creatively support employees will encourage other managers to follow suit. Source: Brant County [...]

Create a Flex-Time, or Adjusted Work Day Policy

Employees whose work schedules are more compatible with the demands and responsibilities that they face outside the workplace are better equipped to balance work and home.  The adjusted work day and flex-time policies allow employees to work the standard number of hours on a daily basis, with flexible start and finish times within limits established [...]

Happy Holidays

Consider the suggestions and needs of employees when creating holiday work schedules.  This will ensure that everyone enjoys a happy holiday, while minimizing the demands and stresses of work.   Source: Brant County Health Unit

Have a Quiet Room

Everybody needs a little space.  Using available resources and facilities, create a quiet room where employees can go to relax and unwind throughout the day.  Furnish the room with comfortable chairs or couches and calming decor.  Provide a tape recorder with relaxation music as a fixture in the room or on a sign out basis.  [...]

Consider Offering an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Employee assistance programs are here to help.  Make sure that your staff has access to an Employee Assistance Program that can provide employees with counselling and additional tips for dealing with interpersonal conflicts.   Source:  Brant County Health Unit