To be healthy, a work environment needs to be a place of healing, not only a place where no further harm is done. Healing is not always easy or comfortable, but always rewarding. We should build a place of healing and reap the rewards.
What does it mean to have healthy work place?
I think we first must ask what does it mean to be healthy.
- Free from disease or pain
- Showing physical, mental, or emotional well-being
- Beneficial to one’s physical mental, or emotional state
Each of these definitions show a common thread. Health is a good state, or the absence of a bad state.
So, what does it mean to have a healthy work environment?
A healthy place promotes health.
On the surface, it means to have a work pace that is in a good state or very least without a bad state. This definition is simple and compact. There is a lot of meaning behind it that is easy to gloss over. I want to unpack it slightly.
To be healthy you must be free of disease or pain. If you have disease or pain you must first heal to be healthy. A healthy environment encourages your healing. That means a healthy job will encourage you to heal.
To be healthy you will show physical, mental, or emotional well-being. A healthy work place will promote those signs of health. It will be a place where a person can grow in one or more of each of these healthy states. The more growth possible the healthier a place is.
To be healthy something must be beneficial to one’s physical, mental, or emotional state. This is really what I have been driving at. Beneficial is not just doing no harm, it is allowing for improvement. It is helpful.
When we think of a “Healthy Work Place” we should think of something bigger than simply a place where no harm is done. We should strive for a place where people can heal from past hurts, and improve the quality of their life.
However, healing past injuries is not comfortable. The worse the injury the more invasive healing can feel. People can be sore, and irritable. People can have trust issues that can degrade communication. Fear can cause people to see past wrongs in healthy and helpful actions.
For a work place to be a place of healing, not only does the company need to embrace it, so do the employees that are undergoing healing. This is scary, tiring, sometimes painful, but worth it.
I have worked in these environments. Whenever I do, I learn more about myself, and my work than in any other circumstances.
During our working lives, we will spend 24% of those lives at work (approximately 37% of our waking lives); assuming no overtime. We should strive to make that more then something we do to survive. We should strive to build environments where others heal; where we heal if we need to.