This week’s focus for Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month (CHWM) is on creating a healthy and safe space to work with regards to employee mental health. As outlined on CHWM’s website, the goal for the week is to:
“…provide an opportunity to identify those work-related hazards and risks that influence psychological health and safety in the workplace; ensuring a preventative approach to psychological harm or mental injury (i.e., from work-related stress or fatigue, or workplace harassment, including bullying and discrimination).”
Here is an issue that isn’t normally addressed in the workplace that can be an obstacle to an individual achieving good mental health – size acceptance and body image.
Remember in a recent post, I wrote about size bias being the last socially acceptable form of discrimination? It’s evident in education, healthcare and in the workplace too! I believe creating a psychologically safe work environment addresses weight bias. If a workplace implements zero-tolerance policies for discrimination, harassment and bullying based on size, than it makes for a more comfortable place to work for people of all sizes. And a more accepting work environment makes it easier for individuals to think more positive thoughts about their bodies, which only adds to good mental health.
Examples of policies that embrace a more size accepting approach:
- Opting out of company-wide weight loss programs such as “Biggest Loser” challenges. There are weight-neutral alternatives that can still have an impact on employee health and productivity without resorting to ineffective dieting strategies.
- Ensure your organizations diversity practices and training include a component for size diversity too.
- Provide office furniture that accommodates a variety of shapes and sizes (i.e.: sturdy, armless chairs with firm seat cushions).
- Decorate the office walls, waiting areas and meeting rooms with pictures and artwork showing workers of all sizes that exemplify your organization’s mission statement and core values.
- Create equal hiring and promotion opportunities for every BODY (instead of feeding into the cultural bias that larger people are lazy and unmotivated).
Creating a safe workplace and helping employees be the best they can be in body and mind starts with establishing a culture of respect and acceptance for ALL.
Define Me is now offering a unique and comprehensive Workplace Wellness program for companies looking to make a difference in their organization’s overall health. If you know of an organization that is looking for a workplace wellness solution, a program that engages employees and improves productivity, have them CONTACT US today.