Business and psychology meet to promote psychologically healthy workplaces

The 2011 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Conference addressed key factors of healthy work cultures, employee well-being

By Marketing and Business Development Staff

May 26, 2011—Psychology and business came together at the third annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Conference in April, with business leaders and psychologists sharing research and best practices of developing workplaces that not only benefit employee well-being but also the organization’s bottom line.

More than 100 participants from various areas of psychology and business attended the conference April 8 – 9, which was held in Chicago for the first time.

Designed for human resource professionals, benefits managers, health and wellness professionals, business consultants, occupational health professionals, health plan executives, corporate medical directors, business owners, managers and psychologists who work with organizations, the conference allowed participants to explore strategies for creating emotionally healthy employees and sound organizational cultures.

Each day’s opening session focused on the importance of incorporating flexibility and diversity into the workplace. Flexible workplaces, said Kyra Cavanaugh, president of Life Meets Work, a flexible work consultancy in Chicago, offer flexibility in terms of where people can work, when they can work and even what they do when they are working.

Flexible workplaces not only help improve employees' levels of stress and satisfaction; they can help employers lower health care costs and improve retention. As a result, companies see greater productivity and overall employee well-being in the workplace.

In a plenary session on diversity and inclusion, consultant Joe Gerstandt reintroduced diversity as “differences” – the differences between all people, which can include differences in who people are, what they’ve learned, how they lead and how they interact.

Research has shown that employees who work where inclusion and differences are valued feel that they belong, that they can bring their whole self, that their perspectives are considered and that they have a voice, he said.

Other topics presented during the conference included: 

  • Lessons from positive psychology on building and sustaining psychologically healthy workplaces 

  • How companies are using assessment tools to measure well-being 

  • Focusing on strengths and relationships for organizational culture transformation 

  • Importance of communications to relay information on benefits and wellness programs 

  • Using Acceptance and Commitment Training in the workplace 

  • Role of emotional well-being in health promotion and wellness 

  • Lessons from companies who won the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards

You can read more on the Good Company blog, check out the Twitter updates from day one of the event and stay tuned to the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program website for more tweets from the conference, interviews with presenters, online sessions and more.