The World Health Organisation (WHO) has developed a helpful model to guide employers in the development of a holistic approach to thinking about workforce health and setting priorities for action. The merit of the model is that it recognises that health challenges faced by employees can originate in a number of environments and it prompts employers to:
* take into account risks both to physical health and mental health, and in doing so, recognise that there are aspects of both physical and psychosocial risk over which employers exercise at least some control;
*recognise that employees are not homogeneous and that individual differences are important in determining the impact of health problems on job performance and functional limitations - this means for example, that employees may have different stress reactions to the same workplace challenges ( e.g. tight deadlines or conflicting demands) based on the resources those individuals bring to their jobs;
*emphasise participative approaches to framing, implementing and evaluating workplace health interventions, while ensuring that the organisation shows strong leadership commitment to them;
*adopt a systematic approach to planning, executing, measuring and monitoring workplace interventions to allow informed decisions to be made about the effectiveness of each.
What this all means is: A healthy workplace is “one in which workers and managers collaborate to use a continual improvement process to protect and promote the health, safety and wellbeing of all workers and the sustainability of the workplace by considering the following, based on identiﬁed needs:
* health and safety concerns in the physical work environment;
* health, safety and well-being concerns in the psychosocial work environment including organization of work and workplace culture;
* personal health resources in the workplace (support and encouragement of healthy lifestyles by the employer);
* ways of participating in the community to improve the health of workers, their families and members of the community”.
Workplace Chaplaincy provides a key role in the preventative pillar of building community to improve the health of workers, their families and members of the community by providing a space and presence to allow conversations that are critical to wellbeing.
Isolation and loneliness can be a serious impediment to mental wellness even in busy work spaces.
Often having someone just to talk with, who is known and trusted can be a critical starting point to early intervention and referral to appropriate services as necessary. Chaplaincy can also be used to bring communities together for healthy celebrations such as inclusion morning teas, designated conversation lunch tables in community cafes and spaces, building community acknowledgment and interaction in building places where large work populations gather each day, self care experiences, welcome walk and talks.
In other words, we all crave human connection.
Chaplaincy can often be used strategically to build a sense of belonging for work place community involvement, in a world where human interactions too often take second place to digital interruptions and an always on culture.