Our Mission

Re-inventing our workplaces by integrating and applying interdisciplinary sciences to achieve worker health and psychological well-being. We do this by focusing our activities around four roles: 

     

Why Interdisciplinary

We know that it takes multiple perspectives to see the larger picture. 

We know that teaming with people from multiple disciplines will yield a better understanding of what the problems are and subsequently how to design solutions that address the real issues, are feasible, and are sustainable. 

What is a weakness in one discipline may be a strength in another. An interdisciplinary approach fills those gaps. 

Who We Work With

We work with a variety of stakeholders to exchange knowledge and change traditional perspectives on worker health and well-being. 

  • Why we work with researchers. We learn from and collaborate with researchers on furthering the science of health and well-being, which in turn can serve to inform best practices. 

  • Why we work with practitioners. Practitioners can learn about and apply evidence-based practices relating to health and well-being and share ideas about how to translate science to practice. In addition, practitioners can help to guide research agendas by identifying applied problems. 

  • Why we work with employees. We work with workers and their representatives to get their impressions of what does and does not foster well-being in work and to involve them in the design of interventions to improve well-being in the workplace. 

  • Why we work with corporate representatives and service providers. Corporate representatives and service providers have clients in addition to their own employees and they often struggle with balancing their bottom line and ensuring their business practices provide the best for their clients and employees. We learn from their issues and the major challenges they face and in turn, inform them of best practice. 

  • Why we work with business leaders. Business leaders have the power and influence to make changes within and across organizations. They create the culture and make the high-level decisions that affect health and well-being of their employees, from organizational policies and practice to deciding the budget. We learn from business leaders about the current landscape as well as inform, train, and advise how to create workplaces that promote health, well-being, and performance. 

  • Why we work with policy-makers. We work to bring the latest science and practice to policy-makers so they are equipped to make lasting and effective change. 

Our hope is that together, we will change the status quo to ensure healthy working conditions for positive health and work outcomes alike. 

            

Our Framework

Elaborating our understanding of the role of need satisfaction in healthy workplaces, we have extracted from the scientific literature nine basic needs that, when satisfied, contribute positively to health and well-being.  Likewise, when satisfaction of these needs is impeded, the employee avoids that environment or it contributes negatively to health and well-being. The basic needs are: positive emotions, belonging, meaning or purpose, autonomy, competence or mastery, engagement or achievement, personal growth, safety, and physical well-being or vitality.  The Healthy Workplaces Model is a novel extension of existing needs-based models.  Christina Maslach and Cristina Banks published their findings connecting psychological needs to health, well-being and productivity in the Routledge Companion to Wellbeing at Work (2017).

The Model inspired us to develop a framework for identifying qualities in work and the work environment that “drive” need satisfaction.  This means that the presence of a particular quality in the work environment creates an environment where an employee’s need can be met.  For example, having flexibility in the workplace (e.g., where and when tasks can be performed) provides a sense of control over work demands and resources, and feeds the need for autonomy.  We identified seven such qualities (called “drivers” of need satisfaction): comfort, connection, predictability, flexibility, security, equity, and privacy.  The importance of these “drivers” is their ability to translate the satisfaction of needs directly into specific things—physical objects, workstation design, compensation and benefits, programs, policies, practices, and cultural attributes—in order to create a work environment that satisfies important employee needs.  The “drivers” also enable the development of assessment tools for evaluating the degree to which a work environment meets employees’ needs.