Accommodating Immunocompromised Workers Post-Covid The Covid-19 pandemic caused uncertainty for many of us; it changed the way we lived on a day-to-day basis – as working from home and keeping distance has become the norm – but for immunocompromised individuals, the effects of Covid-19 continue to be prevalent, even when restrictions are lifted and when…

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Accommodating for Episodic Disabilities Employees with episodic disabilities face unique challenges that may make it more difficult for employers to accommodate them in the workplace. Chronic mental and physical disabilities that are considered episodic are characterized by intermittent periods of good health with severe symptoms that come and go. They are often unpredictable or invisible,…

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Neurodiversity in the Workplace: Overcoming Challenges and Celebrating Differences Supporting neurodiverse employees in overcoming their challenges and utilizing their strengths can give companies a distinct competitive advantage. Many studies show that increasing workplace diversity improves a company’s performance, with higher profit margins, attendance, and overall productivity than organizations who don’t hire inclusively. Yet, despite 22%…

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How to Be an Organization that Cares: Strategizing Self-Care in Businesses After more than two years of constant flux, employees and organizations who have been living in survival mode will need to redefine what self-care at work means. The impact of living in survival mode is that our nervous systems and brains have been constantly…

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71% of Employees Have Experienced Harassment or Violence in the Past Two Years Harassment and violence continue to be rampant in workplaces across Canada, despite two years of many employees working remotely. The National Survey on Harassment and Violence at Work in Canada conducted by Western University researchers examined harassment and violence in their survey…

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How to Set Boundaries to Create a Healthier Workplace Do you always say “yes” to new projects? Do you work longer hours working from home than you do in an office? Are you overwhelmed by your workload on a day-to-day basis? Chances are that you have a boundary problem at work. Setting boundaries is part…

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How to Navigate Employee Injuries in a Hybrid Workplace With the rise of the hybrid workforce, how to navigate the responsibilities of parties to prevent, report, and compensate for employee injuries becomes an important question. The duties of the employer and employee in the event of a workplace injury or illness extend to remote workplaces.…

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Prolonged Exposure Therapy and Treating Employees with PTSD Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that significantly affects an individual’s quality of life. It is characterized by psychologically re-experiencing an initial traumatic event and can result in a variety of symptoms that can affect one’s ability to engage in meaningful activity. According to…

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Are Employees Really Okay? How to Address The Wellbeing Gap If you ask an employer and their employees about how well organizations are supporting personal wellbeing, you might be surprised by the difference in their answers. Over the past two years, employers have recognized that employees need more support for their wellbeing. In 2020, LifeWorks…

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Construction Workers at Highest Risk of Brain Injury Construction workers face a significant risk of injury in their jobs, including the risk of acquiring a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The construction industry has the highest number of TBIs across US workplaces, with over 2,200 deaths recorded between 2003 and 2010 (NIOSH, 2016). Within the industry,…

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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…

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Psychological Safety in an Inclusive and Hybrid Workplace For employees to feel psychologically safe at work, organizations must take responsibility for creating inclusive workplaces. In the working world we exist now, psychological safety now extends to the remote or hybrid workplace. In many ways, the core issue of inclusivity in workplaces remains the same. Visible…

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Six Mental Health Strategies Every Leader Needs to Know Like many employees experiencing declines in mental health, leaders are also facing challenges that are affecting their resiliency and ability to perform optimally at work. According to LifeWorks’ April Mental Health Index Report, the mental health score of managers is currently below non-managers and the national…

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Managing Presenteeism Related to Mental Health Organizations with low rates of absenteeism may think that their employees are healthy, but these numbers do not reflect the number of employees who continue to work while unwell. Presenteeism (continuing to work while unwell) is a much harder measurement to track than absenteeism yet is showing to be…

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The Four Biggest Mental Health Issues Affecting Workplaces Today In the two years since the beginning of the pandemic, Canadians’ mental health has sharply declined, deepening an already serious mental health crisis. Despite short-term gains, mental health hasn’t bounced back to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, data shows that Canadian mental health is currently at its…

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The Link Between Stress and Ergonomics If you’re having frequent aches and pains at work, it’s likely that it has impacted your productivity and increased job stress. Likewise, if you have high levels of job stress, your feelings may be creating aches and pains in your body. Studies show that there is a significant relationship…

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Inclusive Leadership: Breaking Down Systemic Barriers for Persons with Disabilities If leaders want their organizations to thrive, they need to invest in the tools and strategies to break down barriers for persons with disabilities. The employment rate of Canadians aged 25 to 64 with disabilities is 59%, compared to 80% for Canadians without a disability…

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Accommodating for Chronic Mental Stress in the Workplace On January 1, 2018, the WSIB Chronic Mental Stress Policy came into effect. The policy confirms that WSIB will allow entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits for workers who suffer from chronic mental stress that arises out of and in the course of their employment. WSIB’s policy defines a…

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Managing the Stress of the Return to Workplace Process With the pandemic 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…

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How to Reduce Workplace Stress by Managing Resiliency If you’re feeling stressed, you’re not alone – in fact, April is National Stress Awareness Month, a whole month dedicated to spreading awareness about the causes of stress and ways to reduce it. There are many causes of stress, but the workplace is the number one source…

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Should Employees with Disabilities Be Obligated to Return to the Workplace? Many employees with health conditions or disabilities returning to work after an absence are now being welcomed back to hybrid workplaces. According to a report from Accenture, 63% of high-growth companies have adopted a “productivity anywhere” workforce model (Accenture, 2021). This hybrid model allows…

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10 Hacks for Setting Up Your Office on the Go Do you work in a hybrid or remote workplace? A survey conducted by KPMG in November showed that 43% of Canadian CEOs expect to have most employees working remotely at least twice a week (KPMG, 2021). While working from home part time can have a…

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Accommodating for Bad Behaviour In this time of turmoil, you may be seeing uncommon behaviours in your workplace. Many people are stressed and are taking it out on those they work with. You may be wondering: does bad behaviour need to be accommodated in the workplace or is bad behaviour a code of conduct issue?…

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Employed Parents Are Feeling Burned Out: Is the Workplace to Blame? Workplaces that do not provide support for working parents in the workplace could see many employees struggling to stay at work due to high levels of burnout. According to a recent survey, 42% of working Canadians indicated that feelings of burnout were their main…

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Stand Up and Move: Steps to Get Your Employees Taking Steps Having a great ergonomic set up is important, but if we sit all day, it is almost guaranteed that long discomfort will occur. As employees are finding new places to work, at home, at the office, in the car, and on the go, it…

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More than One-Third of Working Canadians Are Burnt Out Are you seeing burnout impacting your team’s ability to innovate, create and perform? The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified burnout as a diagnosed mental illness. Burnout and other mental health issues can increase presenteeism in the workplace. According to Manulife’s 2020 Wellness Report, 45% of…

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How to Help Employees with Long-COVID Return to Work As new daily infections dwindle, employers may be surprised to find that the implications of COVID-19 in the workplace are far from over. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 10–20% of COVID patients have persisting symptoms months after initial infection. The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory…

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Presenteeism and Return to Work in a COVID World The conversation around sick absences and return to work has become even more crucial than it’s been before. Employers are experiencing higher rates of absence than we’ve seen in history. Statistics Canada reports that, on average, workers are absent from work 11 days a year. However,…

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Your Ergonomic Home Office Audit for the New Year Studies show that 5.1 million Canadians were working from home as of May 2021, with 32% of employees working from a home office and 14% of employees working in a hybrid model (Statista, 2021). For the past two years, many employees have been trying to work…

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Bell Let’s Talk Day 2022: Supporting Ourselves and Each Other This year, Bell Let’s Talk Day takes place on January 26, 2022. On January 26th, Bell will donate more towards mental health initiatives in Canada by contributing 5¢ for every applicable text, call, tweet, or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk, every social media video view, and…

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Five Steps for Dealing with COVID Fatigue The news stories play in our ears. The fear starts to rumble in our mind. Our body starts to tense up again and the worry and uncertainty starts. It has been two years of rollercoaster rides for everyone around the world and now we are enduring another wave…

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Facing 2022: 8 Lessons Learned in 2021 about Health and Productivity “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana Does it feel a bit like Groundhog Day? As we began 2022, many employers and employees were preparing for a new hybrid workplace approach, but we seem to have started over…

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Ergonomics Anywhere: Considerations for the Holidays With the blurring of work and home, it is inevitable that some employees will be working remotely over the holidays, whether that be from home, family members’ homes, or even on planes travelling to another destination. While this arrangement allows employees flexibility in planning their vacation schedules, working in…

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The Right to Disconnect: How the New Canadian Law Promotes Psychological Health and Safety Due to the pandemic, the line between “work” and “home” has become blurrier than ever as more and more workers work remotely, either full time or in a hybrid model. Working long hours has always been a serious health concern, even…

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Compassion Fatigue – The Toll on Empathetic Managers Compassion fatigue is characterized by physical and emotional exhaustion and a profound resulting decrease in the ability to empathize. It is a form of secondary traumatic stress, as the stress occurs as a result of helping or wanting to help those who are in need. It is…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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“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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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).…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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