Managing the Anxiety about Returning to the Workplace With COVID-19 nearly behind us, many businesses are having employees return to the workplace, either full-time or in a hybrid model. Employees who have been working from home may be feeling anxious and concerned about returning to the workplace, and some of those worries may prevent the…

Read more

The Great Resignation and the New Work World – Recovery Planning, Inclusion and Accommodation Human Rights and Recovery Planning – A new policy from OHRC On November 9, 2021, the OHRC released its Policy statement on human rights in COVID-19 recovery planning.  “Since March 2020, COVID-19 has taken a stark health, social and economic toll on…

Read more

Injury Prevention in the Home Workplace Every year, thousands of workers are injured in the workplace. About 90% of injuries are considered to be predictable and preventable. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers are legally responsible not only for the health and safety of the workplace, but also for any home offices of…

Read more

Stress Awareness Week: What’s in Your Toolbox? November 1–5, 2021 is Stress Awareness Week. International Stress Awareness Week was created in 2018 to raise awareness about stress prevention and mental health. This week aims to reduce stigma around mental health discussions, enabling individuals around the world to reflect on personal sources of stress, identify strategies…

Read more

Tips for Creating a New Back-to-Work Routine With COVID-19 nearly behind us, many businesses are having employees return to the workplace, either full-time or in a hybrid model. Employees who have been working from home may be feeling anxious and concerned about returning to the workplace, and some of those worries may prevent the employee…

Read more

How Can Occupational Therapy Help Employees with Disabilities? October is Occupational Therapy month! This month we celebrate the health care professionals that focus on helping individuals participate in the activities in life that are meaningful and important. “Occupation” refers to anything you do to “occupy your time” – Occupational Therapists (OTs) are activity-focused and help…

Read more

“Back Pain Is the Biggest Cause of Disability on the Planet”: World Spine Day October 16, 2021, is World Spine Day! This world-wide event is observed yearly by health professionals and health advocates to bring awareness to the importance of spinal health and well being. The theme for 2021 is Back 2 Back, which reflects…

Read more

Why 500,000 Canadians Miss Work Every Week: Mental Illness Awareness Week According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), one in five Canadians will have a diagnosed mental health problem at some point in their lives. Furthermore, 500,000 Canadians miss work every week due to mental illness (CMHA, 2020). Mental illness/mental health disorders can have devastating…

Read more

Carpal Tunnel, Cannabis, and COVID-19: Managing Change in the Workplace Remember in 1998 when our biggest health and safety concern was repetitive strain injury or in 2017 when our workplaces were worried about the legal issues around cannabis in the workplace? Oh, those were the days! Now our worry is mental health, infectious diseases, and…

Read more

The Return on Investment Phenomena Have you ever stopped to think about what your time is worth? What is the long-term impact of your programs and how do you evaluate if something has a Return on Investment for you? The basic formula for calculating ROI is as follows: Direct Vs. Indirect Costs It can be…

Read more

The Mental Health Continuum A lot of people automatically think of mental illness when they hear the words mental health. However, just like physical health, everyone has mental health. Mental health refers to an individual’s psychological and emotional well-being, whether it’s in a negative or positive state. A common misconception is that when our mental health is suffering,…

Read more

Working Together to Prevent Suicide Post-Pandemic Every year, 160 million people contemplate suicide and 800,000 of these people die by suicide (Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, 2021). Every year on September 10th, we recognize World Suicide Prevention Day in order to promote awareness about the devastating impacts of suicide and educate each other on the…

Read more

How to Assist Persons with Disabilities to Overcome Return to the Workplace Concerns Throughout the pandemic, employees have been working from home. As they have attempted to adapt to this new work situation, there have been ongoing concerns that may be more prevalent for individuals with disabilities. A July 2021 study completed by the Institute…

Read more

Assisting Employees with Health Conditions in Returning to the Workplace – Is Hybrid Work Better? As an employer, you will have a number of employees with disabilities or health conditions that may need additional considerations when thinking about return to the workplace. In fact, a recent article by CNN indicates that many individuals with disabilities have…

Read more

Health and Safety Considerations for Working Safely in a Hybrid Workplace: The Importance of Ergonomics Ergonomics is the science of designing a workstation, work tools, and work to fit the capabilities of the person doing the work to improve productivity and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and discomfort. What Is an MSD? MSDs (musculoskeletal…

Read more

Supporting the Manager’s Mental Health in a Hybrid Workplace Have you read this article?  Your boss secretly wants to quit. Business leaders can’t take COVID-19 work life anymore – The Globe and Mail In this article published July 15, 2021, it is reported that “just over half of the 1,100 business and public sector leaders…

Read more

10 Ways to Manage Engagement and Productivity in the Hybrid Workplace With the transition to a hybrid working model, employers may be wondering how they can ensure employees are staying engaged and productive, no matter where they work. The good news is that reports show productivity has not dropped off over the course of the…

Read more

Supporting Employees with Remote Work Preference After working from home for the past year, some employees may find that they enjoy it and would prefer to continue working remotely. A survey of over 2,000 Canadians found that 77% of people want the flexibility to work from home at least part of the time (KPMG, 2021).…

Read more

Addressing Mental Health Concerns in a New Hybrid Workplace World With the hybrid workplace model being discussed in virtual boardrooms across the country, employers should consider how such a decision will affect the mental health of employees. Are employees mentally ready to return to the workplace? Will continuing to work remotely negatively impact their mental…

Read more

The Future of Hybrid Workplaces As we move forward to find our new normal for work, it is expected that employers will be planning for alternate ways to work in various formats and locations. We expect that there will be challenges in supporting employees in this decision. Employers are beginning to examine creative ways to…

Read more

PTSD Series Part 4: Case Study Occupational Therapists’ unique occupational lens and focus on empowerment and promotion of health and well-being makes them ideally placed to work with persons with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as they work to regain control over their lives. A proper Occupational Therapy assessment can assist the employer and employee in discussing suitable…

Read more

PTSD Series Part 3: Returning to Work Adults with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) or anxiety may find themselves avoiding places, situations, objects, and people that remind them of the trauma or distress they experienced. They also might avoid thinking or talking about a certain topic. Unfortunately, this type of avoidance just keeps the distress going…

Read more

PTSD Series Part 2: Building Resilience The longer that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms are experienced and not addressed, the greater the difficulty in treatment and reengagement in daily life. Early recognition and intervention is needed to prevent the loss of routines, habits, and roles. Without awareness and training, employees and employers may find it…

Read more

PTSD Series Part 1: Promoting Awareness June 27th is PTSD Awareness Day. This observance strives to bring awareness of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) to the public and eliminate stigma. PTSD has a profound effect on the lives of those who suffer from it. Experiencing a trauma can result in physical, emotional, or psychological harm that…

Read more

The Impact of Brain Injuries on Vision While studies show that 90% of all traumatic brain injury patients suffer from visual difficulties, visual function is often overlooked when diagnosing brain injury symptoms (Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association). Symptoms are not always apparent and may be conflated with other symptoms, such as cognitive function, when testing requires visual…

Read more

Returning to Work After a Concussion? Here’s What You Should Know Did you know that just one concussion could lead to cognitive impairment? The risk of developing long-term or permanent cognitive impairment increases with the severity of the head injury, but even mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) like concussions can temporarily impact cognition. While symptoms…

Read more

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month We use our brains for every single thing we do – whether those actions are conscious and voluntary, such as making a cup of coffee, or unconscious and involuntary, such as breathing. Our brains are constantly working to help us survive and thrive. Your brain is the most powerful…

Read more

Employees with Imposter Syndrome May Experience Mental Health and Performance Issues Do you ever feel like you are a “fraud”? Like you are not qualified or knowledgeable enough to be in your role or to carry out your responsibilities? Do you dismiss or discount positive feedback from others? Do you attribute your successes to “luck”…

Read more

How to Be Mindful: Practical Tips from an Occupational Therapist The current mental health climate is precarious following more than a year of national anxiety, fear, isolation, and uncertainty. Helping employees maintain and repair their health requires a thoughtful and practical approach that recognizes both the longevity of mental health issues and the barriers to…

Read more

Managing Negative Thoughts During a Pandemic During the ongoing pandemic, you might have experienced negative thoughts and feelings about the world around you. Fears and worries about health, financial security, and social isolation have taken a toll on Canadians’ mental health, with 50% of Canadians reporting worsening mental health, 44% reporting feelings of worry, and…

Read more

Mental Health Week: What Has the Past Year Taught Us About Mental Health? One year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, people across the globe continue to face serious mental health challenges. Even before the pandemic, Canada was facing a mental health crisis that saw one in five people managing diagnosable health conditions and 1.6 million…

Read more

Managing Disability in the Workplace: Everything You Need to Know “Effective management of disability in the workplace is more important today than ever before. As competitiveness in markets increases, the importance of an engaged and productive workforce becomes essential to an organization’s survival.” The CSA Work Disability Management System Standard, which was published in 2020,…

Read more

Using Technology to Stay Mentally Well in Remote Workplaces Over the past year, many employers have relied on technology to keep their businesses running. Apps, websites, and social media platforms have become a lifeline for brick-and-mortar stores. Video conferencing software has become an essential part of the remote workplace as millions of Canadians continue to…

Read more

COVID Long Hauler Syndrome: Is this a new health condition or a variation of an old health condition reimagined? As of April 5, 2021, there have been over 1 million reported cases of COVID-19 in Canada and over 23,000 deaths and almost 56,000 active cases.  With over 927,000 recovered cases, a large number of Canadians…

Read more

Why Working is Good for Your Health Working not only has many economic and social benefits, but it can be good for your overall health. There are many reasons employees take leave off work: physical and mental disabilities, injuries, pregnancy, family emergencies and many more. Over the past year, millions of Canadians became unemployed due…

Read more

To Sit or to Stand? In 2020, workers spent an average of 4.25 hours of the workday standing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—that’s about 57% of the day standing and 43% sitting. However, the numbers vary drastically by occupation. Workers in food preparation and serving-related roles spent around 97% of their day…

Read more

Why Employee Fatigue Is a Productivity and Safety Concern There’s a good chance you have heard the term “fatigue” more than once in your lifetime, but do you really know what it means to be suffering from fatigue? Fatigue is more than just simply being tired, which results from short-term sleep loss or from short…

Read more

March 15-21 is Brain Awareness Week! Brain Awareness Week occurs annually in mid-March to promote the progress and benefits of brain research to the world! This awareness week was founded in 1996 by The Dana Foundation. The Dana Foundation was founded in 1950 by Charles A. Dana, with a goal of developing a better understanding of…

Read more

Choose to Challenge for International Women’s Day International Women’s Day (IWD) is March 8th, 2021! This powerful movement was adopted by the United Nations in 1975, and is a day of togetherness, celebration, reflection, and action. IWD helps drive action against gender bias and toward a more gender equal world. According to the Government of…

Read more

Ten Strategies to Deal with Crisis Fatigue Are you experiencing crisis fatigue? Some call it a “mental fog” or “pandemic fatigue.” While not an official clinical disorder at this time, crisis fatigue is a stressful emotional state many people are experiencing as the pandemic wears on. One year later and we are still dealing with…

Read more

Keeping Connected During Crisis and Beyond: Reducing Isolation for Remote Workers A year into a pandemic that saw millions of Canadians shift to remote work, isolation remains one of the top concerns for employees working from home. Without the regular watercooler talks, coffee chats, lunch breaks, and in-person team meetings, many employees who regularly had…

Read more

February 28th is Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day! February 29th is International RSI Awareness Day (it takes place on February 28th in non-leap years)! This powerful movement is celebrated each year on the last day of February, the only non-repetitive day of the year. RSI is a general term used to describe injuries to…

Read more

Making Working Remotely Feel Normal Organizations who thought remote work was temporary may need to make long-term changes to their workplace culture and provide additional support for employees working from home. Of the five million employees who started working remotely during the first lockdown, over 2.4 million Canadians who normally do not work from home…

Read more

The Pandemic Is Creating Mental Health Waves According to a recent survey from Sun Life, 56% per cent of Canadians said they felt coronavirus has had a negative impact on their mental health, but close to 60% of these respondents said they weren’t seeking treatment or support (Benefits Canada). With mental health benefit claims surpassing…

Read more

Bell Let’s Talk Day: Starting the Conversation Around Mental Health The Bell Let’s Talk initiative began in 2010 with the goal of starting a conversation about mental health, and mental illness in Canada. Since then, the initiative has become the largest corporate commitment to mental health in Canada, with over one hundred million dollars in…

Read more

Working Safely from Home: The Importance of Ergonomics Ergonomics is the science of designing a workstation, work tools, and work to fit the capabilities of the person doing the work to improve productivity and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and discomfort. What Is an MSD? MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders) impact the musculoskeletal system, which includes…

Read more

Do You Need Occupational Therapy? An Occupational Therapist is a health professional who works collaboratively with workplace parties to support an employee who is returning to work or staying at work with physical, emotional, cognitive and workplace performance concerns. Gowan Consulting supports employees in learning the skills and tools to return to work successfully. Our…

Read more

How to Avoid the Holiday Slump We’ve all felt it – you’re full of holiday snacks and treats, you’ve been spoiling yourself and your family, and you’re worn out from the rush of the holiday season. Returning to work after the holiday break can feel like a challenge. After time off and the hustle and…

Read more

Did You Prioritize Self-Care in 2020? Build a Resiliency Plan That Will Last in the New Year With so much extra time this year spent on adjusting to new workplace concerns and habits, regular routines and activities may have fallen to the wayside. But self-care is more important than ever as employees deal with the…

Read more

Reducing Stress and Burnout During the Holidays While the holidays can be a joyous time filled with food, family, and gift giving, they can also be a source of stress that can contribute to employee burnout. A Healthline survey found that over 60% of respondents felt some stress during the holidays (Spring Health, 2020). An…

Read more

How to Reduce the Impacts of Isolation this Holiday Season With the holidays fast approaching, employees may be concerned about the impact of rising COVID-19 cases and government restrictions on their seasonal plans. Traditionally, December is a time when people gather. Extended families meet around the dinner table, workplaces host holiday parties, and shoppers congregate…

Read more

The Effect of COVID-19 on Women’s Mental Health and Employment In what is being called the gendered impact of the pandemic, women are disproportionately feeling the effects of COVID-19 on their mental health and employment. While many employees have struggled over the past year, women face unique challenges that employers should understand in order to…

Read more

Combating Worry and Uncertainty During the “Echo Pandemic” With national anxiety reaching record heights, experts are warning of an “echo pandemic” of mental illness and mental health issues that will last long after COVID-19 is over (Canadian Mental Health Association). For many of us, dealing with anxiety is nothing new, but the changes we are…

Read more

What to Do When Employees Get Sick: Policies on Sick Days Every day, employees call in sick to work. It can be due to a physical illness, mental illness, or just needing a day off for personal reasons. Employee absence is an ongoing phenomenon in workplaces everywhere. This year’s pandemic has changed the way organizations…

Read more

How to Meet Mask Requirements This Winter The second wave of COVID-19 is well underway this fall, and the need to continue wearing masks remains urgent to prevent further spread. Hospitals typically experience higher occupancy levels in winter because of flu season, so taking preventative measures now will be vital to avoid overwhelming the healthcare…

Read more

How to Protect Yourself This Flu Season With COVID-19 cases continuing to climb, you may have forgotten about the other respiratory illness that we fight every year: the flu. One pandemic was more than enough to handle for one year, but now experts warn of a “double wave” of illness as flu season quickly approaches…

Read more

Improving Our Workplace Culture: The Happiness Challenge Workplace cultures that support mental health remain as important as ever as Canadians face increased challenges due to COVID-19. Reports show that Canadians have experienced a significant decline in mental health since the beginning of the pandemic. As some provinces enter a second wave, employees will need continued…

Read more

Making Our Workplace Resilient: Recognizing Psychological Health and Safety Hazards in the Workplace Employees’ resilience has been tested over the past year as new stressors and challenges have changed the way we work. Mental health and psychological wellness in the workplace have been put at risk. Employees worry about infection, financial insecurity, loss of connection,…

Read more

Keeping Our Workplace Safe: Helping Employees with Ergonomic Issues or Remote Work Requirements After working from home over the past year, some employees may find that they may need to continue working remotely rather than return to the office.  While they might enjoy the change in lifestyle or find they are more productive at home,…

Read more

Taking Action on Our Mental Health: Self-Care Is Not Selfish “I am finding that I am tired and my emotions are all over the place. How can I manage my own self-care when I have so much responsibility at home and at work?” Managing Your Own Mental Health As a manager or leader in an…

Read more