For most of us, work is one of the central parts of our daily life. Work life takes up at least a third of the day for full-time workers, and on average consumes about 10 hours of our day (counting the commute to and from work and lunch breaks). Therefore, it is wise for companies to help provide an environment in which their workforce can be comfortable and remain healthy so that they can carry out their duties most effectively. This is what is known as labor welfare and in most organizations, is a function of Human Resources.
The importance of well-being in the company
Well-being at work is one of the keys to achieving a productive, motivated, and committed team. When referring to work well-being, we are referring to being healthy both physically and emotionally.
Just as a person’s problems can influence a person’s work, the reverse is also true. If a person is unhappy in their workplace, it can also affect their personal life. All of this generates negative cycles in people’s lives that can have dire consequences for workers and the company.
For this reason, companies must help support the physical and mental well being of employees in their working hours. The working environment, the motivation rewards, and the emphasis on work-life balance are some of the factors that can cause general well-being (or discomfort) in a company.
The well-being of the team at work will bring several valuable benefits to the company. Some of them are:
• Absenteeism and stress are reduced
• More motivated and productive teams
• Increase staff capabilities
• Talent retention in the company
• The environment and personal relationships are improved
In recent years, the concept of occupational therapy has become a benchmark for treating different physical and intellectual disabilities and an indispensable help for people suffering from a disorder to re-master some of the basic activities of daily life.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are around one billion people with disabilities globally, most of whom lack access to optimal medical care and rehabilitation. Hence, the occupational therapist figure is currently important in places such as hospitals, schools, offices, etc.
Likewise, the body defines occupational therapy as the set of techniques, methods, and actions that, through activities applied for therapeutic purposes, prevents and maintains health, favors the restoration of function, supplements disabling deficits and values behavioral assumptions and their profound significance to achieve the greatest possible independence and reintegration of the individual in all its aspects: labor, mental, physical and social.
Thus, the occupational therapist can promote a healthy lifestyle in different sectors of society, such as education, and can help children and adolescents with learning difficulties or other factors that affect school performance. It also generates reasonable accommodations to support inclusive education processes, providing alternatives for accessibility, assistive technology, and curricular modifications.
Another area in which the occupational therapist can venture, independent of medicine, is in the workplace. Their training allows them to develop actions to promote people’s health in their work activity, initiatives to prevent accidents or occupational diseases, reinstatement processes, and inclusion of personnel with disabilities.
Occupational Therapy Techniques
It is common for the specialist to rely on three techniques to improve patients’ well-being and health. They are not the only ones, but they are the most common in developing this work. We got in touch with Dr. Ross Michael Ungerleider, who has been actively campaigning and working in the effort of promoting occupational wellness. Dr. Ungerleider, a world renowned surgeon has published and spoken nationally on the impact of work related stress on well-being and been asked for his advice on the subject.
Dr. Ungerleider is also an ardent proponent of occupational therapy that endorses personal growth and learning, as a means to help workers understand and manage their stress and promote a more positive, and healthy work culture. His recent book, Discovering your Mindful Heart: An Explorer’s Guide: Developing your internal resources for managing life’s concerns will be available at bookstores this fall.
Occupational therapy, as it relates to improving workplace satisfaction and performance often includes the following functions and techniques that organizations worldwide can adopt:
Cognitive stimulation: The objective of this technique is to potentiate the preserved capacities to compensate for those that are deteriorated through audiovisual elements such as music or photographs to activate cognitive capacities such as memory, attention, gnosis, praxis, among others. These activities can be done in a group or individually.
Functional rehabilitation: This method is used for the individual to regain functional mobility. For this, the professional subjects the person to different exercises that involve weight, mobility, and agility to stimulate psychomotor skills and master basic activities such as eating, dressing, and using the bathroom alone.
Neurosensory stimulation: This technique seeks to promote the correct development of the vestibular, proprioceptive, and sensory system related to the learning obtained from childhood. This technique focuses on the senses and the information we receive from them, and helps individuals create new stories to explain and better understand the world around them. Dr. Ungerleider’s work overlaps with this area by helping people develop internalized resources to better equip them for managing and understanding stressors.