The psychological working environment is concerned with relationships within the workplace. These are known to have a great effect on many people's physical health and happiness.
Solving physical problems within the workplace is principally a task for management. But can one expect that management will always have an answer or a solution to problems of a psychological nature? The Safety Group believes not. A good psychological work environment is the responsibility of each individual. If you want to enjoy your work and look forward to coming into work each day, to an environment where both you and your colleagues thrive, then you need to actively contribute.
The Safety Group do not have blueprints for a "Perfect Working Environment", detailing precisely how each person can contribute effectively to a happy workplace. However we can offer our personal insights, which we would like to share with all those who are interested in creating and experiencing a positive work environment.
The following "Law of lack of responsibility" is taken from the leaflet "The workbook on the psychological work environment" ("Arbejdsbog I psykisk arbejdsmiljø" in Danish). Note that it is written ironically (a typically Danish form of humour) - you are supposed to notice how ridiculous this "law" is. The law of lack of responsibility
- I have many rights, but no duties.
- If I am not content then it is the fault of the government, politicians, society or my employer.
- I have many needs and abilities and it is my employers duty to develop them and to keep me satisfied.
- When there is a problem at work, it is the management's responsibility to resolve it. I am merely an onlooker and no harm can result from my jeering.
- It is the management's responsibility to include me in their decisions. I do not need to explain my position, or contribute to discussions with constructive criticism or alternative proposals. I am content with pointing out mistakes and shortfalls in their proposals.
- I cannot feel safe unless I am effective. I have no duties that require me to be effective, therefore I do not feel safe.
Uphold a polite and service-minded approach
Many of us are employed in service-type roles, frequently working together with colleagues and students. Always speak clearly and politely with co-workers to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication, and remember, a friendly and welcoming workplace is far more pleasant than one where colleagues are irritable and surly!
Respect other professional groups
In the workplace there are many different types of professional and it is very easy to become involved in a tiresome misunderstanding, simply because one doesn't understand the other groups' role and function.
Respecting each groups work is an easy goal to achieve, if one takes a little time to understand the different processes and functions. Would taking part in a "practise day" in another department harm a new employee, who has not been assigned a job title or function?
Take control of your tasks
To find where you waste time, it can be helpful to write a list of your various tasks and make a note of how long each task takes. This will help you identify any "black holes" and then to control or contain them. Your job description can also be used as part of your development process, which will help increase your confidence and satisfaction at work.
Don't indulge in gossip
Small things can develop into conflict. Prevent conflicts and a negative atmosphere by avoiding gossip. Gossip seldom has a positive outcome.
All in all
There are many positive ideas for creating and maintaining a good psychological work environment. Your Health and Safety Representative has different leaflets available, which you are welcome to borrow if you would like to read further into this subject.
Also visit "Sund Virksomhed" (Health Action), an action group listed under "Gigtforeningen" (The Rheumatism Association").