Golder’s Approach to Mental Wellness in the Workplaceby Matt Wallace, HSSE Leader, AEMA Region
As a health and safety leader, mental wellness is a topic that is important to me, and I’m proud to work for an organization where mental health is both promoted and truly valued. Caring is a core value at Golder, and one way we own this value is by supporting mental wellness.
Golder strives to create an environment where people can thrive at work and at home. We don’t promise a workplace free of stress (a little stress is actually good for us), but we are committed to a balanced work-life. We also recognize that work is only a part of life and we all have other things going on that impact our well-being.
Golder’s approach to mental wellness is to focus on mental health, not mental illness. Our Asia-Pacific region has spearheaded a mental health strategy that is gaining traction across the organization, with many of our other regions adopting and building upon its three principles: Protection, Promotion, and Intervention.
We want to protect our people by minimizing the work-related factors that can impact mental health. We all play a role in this by creating a more inclusive, welcoming environment where everyone can be themselves. We offer flexible working arrangements, and we monitor the hours that people are working. We also work in a little fun with a variety of social activities.
We promote mental health by developing the positive aspects of work and connectedness. We recognize days like R U OK? Day and World Mental Health Day and promote conversations about mental health and its signs so we can address them early, whatever the cause or contributing factors.
We intervene when people display signs that they are struggling. We ask our colleagues to be on the lookout for changes in people’s behavior. We have a formal Employee Assistance Program providing 24/7 access to counselling services and a crisis hotline.
Our mental wellness measures have served us well through more normal business operations and in dealing with new and unexpected challenges, like the COVID-19 pandemic. With us all experiencing the effects of living and working through a pandemic, we have encouraged our staff to not only ask “Are you ok?” but to also do more self check-ins, encouraging our staff to ask themselves, “Am I OK?”. This is in addition to an increased emphasis on mental wellness topics in meetings.
At Golder, now more than ever, we recognize R U OK? Day is every day.
Matt Wallace Member Name
Principal, HSSE Regional Leader