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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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…

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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”…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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