by Carolyn Dewa, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and Head of CAMH’s Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Health
As an economist, I’m often asked questions about efficiency. As in: How do we do more with less?
But we often forget that we’re not asking more of machines – we’re asking more of people.
In our quest for efficiency, we can inadvertently create inefficiency by producing an environment ripe for burnout and high chronic stress. (See: What can we do to stop physician burnout in Canada?)
One clear way of increasing efficiency is to ensure that we have a physically and psychologically healthy work force. The first step towards this goal involves creating a healthy and well-equipped work environment.
A mountain of research (See: Healthy Work: Stress, Productivity, and the Reconstruction of Working Life; Fourth European Working Conditions Survey; Examination of factors associated with the mental health status of principals) tells us that feeling supported by co-workers and supervisors, finding meaning in our jobs, being trusted to finish our work and being accountable for reasonable deadlines all contribute to our mental health.
While we know these things to be true, the question remains – how do we do all this with limited time and resources?