So, as our staff, students and collaborators know, we here at altstrat are dedicated to making sure that we all prioritise well being at work. To us, this means looking after ourselves and each other.
However, there is always room to learn and do better.....So last week we traveled to Amsterdam and enjoyed the 4th International Wellbeing at Work conference hosted by VU UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTRE AND TNO.
After 3 enthralling days listening to those passionate about work and well being, we came away realizing that the prevention of burnout and the promotion of healthy workplaces is definitely more than just a basket of fruit!
For workplace wellbeing to thrive, we must set the organisational cultures required to make health at work the 'norm'....We applied this learning to the healthcare workplace...then we saw a new perspective on workplace cultures.
Health care staff put the patients first....yet this in turn may devalue the staff member. Working in partnership with patients means that we must take care of ourselves as well as our patients... Patients do not want to have a grumpy and tired clinician on shift....They want you to stay hydrated, fed, comfortable and psychologically ready to do the task at hand.
The cultures required to make this happen must adopt leading indicators for change.
Tracking and recording leading indicators is most useful to management when it tells the whole story of processes from start (or sometimes preparations to start) to finish. This makes it easier to gauge employees’ commitment to workplace safety and where to start from a training and communication perspective. Below is a short list of priority indicators to track.
- The more observations that employees and managers report, the more robust the data. One to two observations per employee on a weekly basis is excellent. This should not be considered a “tattle-tale” exercise, but a way to offer suggestions for improvement, recognition of underlying issues and maintenance needs as well as near misses.
- Employee engagement is critical for number 1 to work correctly. If all levels of the organisation are paying attention to these things and talking about safety, a true safety culture will permeate throughout the organisation. Best in class companies aim for 80 percent participation. This can ensure that many different aspects of your company’s processes are being evaluated and reported on.
- How long does it take the organisation to act on observed deficiencies? Most corrections will be achievable very quickly. However, having more than 20 percent of these issues taking more than 48 hours to correct can mean that your company and management staff is not very effective at managing risk, which is a leading indicator in itself.
This really was one of the best conferences we have been to! ...and it really did practice what it preached! - Massages and health cafes were available throughout the conference with healthy food and drink on tap!...There were active areas of seating so that any sedentary behaviour was very short lived!
The most important thing to do now is bring this learning and healthy workplace cultures back to our own workplaces. We will certainly be putting out more than a fruit basket ...we will be actively engaging with a healthy workplace programme for our students, colleagues and collaborators.
We will of course also share these learnings with the healthcare organisations that work with us to achieve optimal outcomes, consistently.