Seven Ideas Towards a Healing Workplace

The entry last week on Standards, Abnormality and the Ideal seems to have struck a chord with folks. I’ve been thinking further about the idea of negative accidents or negative safety incidents and it is quite sound in theory and practice. Beyond a zero accident workplace, a healing workplace is achievable.
I realize we’re not making any friends with Big Pharma by doing this, but here are seven ideas towards achieving a healing workplace:

Work out while you work.
Design the standard work sequence to include moderate aerobic or strength-building motions. Whether in a hospital, factory or office setting, this is really not that hard.
Cause smiles. I’ve heard this improves your health.
Pipe in bright sunshine for 10 to 15 minutes per day. An April 28, 2007 article in the Globe and Mail suggests that vitamin D (taken from sun exposure) plays a greater role in our good health than previously thought.
Encourage naps. Provide a place for people to take a 10 to 20 minute nap during the workday.
Allow pets in the workplace. Studies have shown that owning a pet can reduce stress levels and blood pressure, as well as boost the immune system.
Replace coffee with strong green tea. Replace foods that make you sick with foods that make you well. Fruit instead of donuts.
Make people laugh. It is the best medicine, and there are only good side effects.
Just like 5S should be done not at the end of the shift but as a natural course of your daily work, just as quality should be built in and checked at every process rather than inspected in at the end, Lean healthcare should not be provided in hospitals but should come as a byproduct of a healing workplace.

2 Comments

  1. Jon Nett

    May 8, 2007 - 2:16 pm

    Thanks for the follow up article, Jon. I guess I never considered that since we spend so much of our time at work, we should try to make it as healthy an environment as we would try to make our homes. I guess I tend to think of workplace safety in terms of accident prevention, OSHA recordables and lost-time incidents rather than looking at it from a holistic approach.

  2. Sandesh Sheth

    April 29, 2009 - 11:42 am

    I am 2 years late in response, but I hope this helps people like me who got on late on this chain of thoughts.
    A healing workplace need not necessarily mean – fitness, etc. What I can think of is my previous job where I could not wait till Monday to get back to office. I had the freedom to innovate, create thought solutions, fail if necessary and the red herring was that I had decided to quit the job after an year to pursue higher education and it was known to everyone. So even though the job did not mean higher salaries, promotions I still gave it my best.
    The job helped me define myself, it gave me so much satisfaction that I was happy when I came home and shared that with everyone around. And that happiness only spread from me to my family to their associates.