Respect in the Workplace & Health
Make the Connection
Building and maintaining a respectful workplace means understanding that disrespectful behaviour or conflict can impact your health. You are encouraged to be aware of potential health concerns, as well as the many resources available to address them. A healthy workplace includes a positive culture and supportive work environment. This means a workplace where
- Respectful relationships are the standard
- You experience a sense of support, particularly during challenging times
- Disrespectful behaviour is dealt with promptly and effectively
Working in a negative, unsupportive environment can impact your physical and mental health. Possible effects are injuries, headaches, stomach and digestive problems, sleep disturbance, fatigue, anxiety, excessive worry, mood issues or depression, cognitive or concentration problems and self-medication (alcohol use, smoking, drug use or over eating).
Making the connection
While these health issues may occur if you are working in a negative workplace, they can also prevent you from returning to work if you are on leave. The challenge is making the connection between a work environment that lacks a respectful and supportive climate, and any resulting negative impacts to personal health. When we understand this connection, we can address these health impacts sooner rather than later, possibly avoiding them all together.
When you're able to successfully resolve a problematic work situation, it makes sense that any related health impacts will also likely improve. Whether or not you're able to resolve a work environment issue in the short term, checking your physical and mental health and accessing resources to support personal well-being is always a good idea.
You have a duty to protect your health and safety as well as that of others at work. This includes applying and complying with policies and collective agreements.
You are responsible for ensuring the safety of all workers under your direct supervision and for taking reasonable steps to promote a healthy and respectful work environment. This includes investigating incidents and complaints, and following up once a situation is resolved.
Health & Well-being Services
The BC Public Service Agency offers a wide range of services and tools to support employee health and well-being, with a focus on prevention strategies. Talk to a supervisor: supervisors can work with you to address work environment issues, as well as any health issues (related or not). They also have access to specialized services and referral resources.
- The Learning Centre offers a variety of courses that will help you to learn about safe and respectful workplace as well as ways to manage your personal well being
- Attend a Healthy Minds workshop, which covers stress management, building resilience, using mindfulness/meditation techniques to enhance health, and other mental health promotion topics
- Short-term counselling addresses a range of common concerns including relationship challenges, depression, stress management and work-related issues including conflict and work-life balance
- Career Support Services provides guidance on issues related to career development and planning, building resiliency skills, managing stress and creating a healthy work-life balance
Contact AskMyHR for information about other resources, including making a WorkSafeBC mental disorder claim for bullying and harassment.
Resources for Supervisors
- Manager Advice Line provides advice on how to address a difficult workplace situation or conversation. Speak immediately with an experienced clinical professional regarding a range of challenging workplace situations. This service is completely confidential and available 24/7
- Familiarize yourself with the Early Intervention and Return to Work modules that offer information about the sick leave process
- There may be times that you, your staff or your workplace are faced with a possible targeted threat of violence, either internal or external
- Supervisors are responsible for taking steps to protect workers from workplace violence