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Campbell Institute Workshop focuses on building safety culture amid outside pressures

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Orlando, FL — As the line between home life and work life blurs and other environmental and societal pressures mount, employers can enhance workplace safety culture by empathizing with employee challenges as a way to help alleviate anxiety.

On Oct. 12, attendees of the Campbell Institute Workshop during the 2021 NSC Safety Congress & Expo collaborated on exercises related to this and other thoughts about safety culture from presenters Tammy Anander, safety specialist at Parsons Corp., and Jason Townsell, manager of studio EHS at Netflix.

Before setting the participatory tone for the day, Anander asked attendees to pause and consider how they were feeling mentally and physically. She then instructed them to “pin” those thoughts and set them aside, suggesting the strategy as a tool when working with colleagues as a “way to acknowledge that we all come in with a lot of baggage.”

One pressure managers often face, the presenters said, involves motivating a workforce that blends different generations, cultures, regions and fields. Because different entities have different communication styles and value systems, managers may find it difficult to effectively motivate everyone collectively.

Additional societal and environmental pressures may prompt workers to arrive at their jobs with other things on their mind. Having a compromised focus often means that workers cannot perform at their best.

Solutions offered for mitigating these issues include mentoring and disconnection. Mentor-mentee relationships may help bridge communication gaps by cultivating authentic relationships. Additionally, the presenters recommended taking steps to allow workers to remove themselves from the notion that they always have to feel like they’re on the clock.

Strategies include:

  • Create ways for employees to connect in a non-work environment
  • Take time to check in with teammates
  • Don’t encourage work outside of work hours
  • Disconnect from devices

The presentation included guidance for letting go at the end of the workday. Among the tips:

  • Aim to close the day with one small task, leaving on a positive note of completion.
  • Straighten up your work area to help transition to a fresh mind and outlook the next day.
  • Chose a specific action to symbolize the end of the workday, such as shutting your laptop or locking your office; this can help your mind more easily shift gears.

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