Here you can find the research that has been undertaken by the partnership along with useful videos and the best practice for people and environment!
Preventing psychosocial risks leading to burn out
Thematic area: People and environment – Hazardous conditions at work Country: France
Burn out is a symptom recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), in 2019. However, although it has only recently been officially named as such, burn out is a disease that has been present for years and has only become more pronounced during the health crisis linked to COVID-19.
It occurs as a result of physical, moral and emotional exhaustion linked to the deterioration of the person’s relationship with his or her work.
In order to counter this exhaustion, the “prevention of psychosocial risks” approach was created and tested by an industrial company with 600 employees. It consists of analysing a work situation in order to modify it and stop or avoid any exposure to risk factors.
This approach makes it possible to meet the following objectives:
- To improve the working conditions of employees by giving them a space for active listening.
- Supporting workers by proposing improvements to the environment by considering employees’ remarks and criticisms and transforming them into an action plan.
600 employees of an industrial company took part in the experiment to design and implement an action to prevent psychosocial risks. This experiment targeted and made it possible to reduce as far as possible the risk factors for the appearance of burn-out in order to prevent damage to the employee’s health. This action plan process was based on an observation and analysis of the psychosocial risk factors identified by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. This action plan is implemented in 3 stages, depending on the size of the company.
Methodology & tools:
Raising awareness among all employees
Raising awareness is the first step in building a common representation in order to engage in collective work.
An awareness-raising campaign lasting a few hours can be carried out among employees, their representatives and management. The aim of this campaign is to provide elements of understanding on psychosocial risks at work and thus to exchange on common observations and representations of these risks in the current working environment. It is also an opportunity to share points of view and fears on this subject which seems so far removed from “classic” risks and yet resembles them. In this perspective, elements of methodology were presented and discussed.
It is entirely possible to bring in an expert on the issue of psychosocial risks and burn out to carry out this awareness campaign within the organisation.
Creation of a permanent committee / identification of a reference person
A second essential condition for the success of the exercise is the establishment of a permanent committee to identify psychosocial risks at work. This action guarantees the sustainability of the approach put in place. This committee may be made up of different trades. The greater the diversity, the richer the contribution of risk factors and solutions will be.
If the organisation is small, it will then be necessary to identify at least two people who will ensure, on a daily basis, the recognition of psychosocial risks to the health of employees.
This committee is conceived as a forum for exchange and dialogue, in which all the stakeholders in the company would have their say and where decisions would be taken by listening to the points of view of each. It should be noted that the progress of action plans to assess risk factors will also be monitored by this committee.
It should be noted that committee members are the channel of communication between the employees of a department and the committee itself. Their task is therefore to solicit employees’ opinions on the risk factors and the solutions being considered before proposing them at regular committee meetings.
Finding solutions to psychosocial risk factors
This approach must lead to the introduction of new working methodologies and consensus between employees and management in order to improve working conditions and minimise psychosocial risk factors. Within this framework, the committee members must regularly meet with employees to find out more about their well-being at work and their observations on the dysfunctions causing physical, moral and emotional fatigue.
Discussion tables are therefore set up in order to facilitate this search for action solutions, and a space for listening to employees is therefore proposed in order to identify these obstacles to well-being in the workplace.
Impact & Outcomes:
This practice has many positive effects, as shown in the study carried out by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Indeed, this practice can be applied to all types of structures (small, medium and large companies). It results in an improvement in the management of health, safety and well-being at work. It increases the skills of all employees and employers in a company to deal with psychosocial risks. Finally, it promotes the general improvement of working conditions (adaptation of tasks, changes in work organisation or working time, increase in the workforce, improvement of working tools or working environment, etc.) and makes it possible to introduce psychosocial risk management (confidential advice, company policy, procedures, employee surveys, individual well-being measures, etc.).
Although there is increasing use of interventions to manage and prevent work- related psychosocial risks, the vast majority of these programmes are not systematically evaluated. This lack of evaluation means that there is limited knowledge about what measures work or why they do not work. Companies are therefore advised to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the methods applied and adapt them if necessary.
The implementation of this programme is not compulsory in companies. However, it is an interesting practice for improving the health and well-being of employees at work.
One call – One social contact
Thematic area: People and environment – Social isolation Country: France
The aim of this practice is to develop and implement actions to break the isolation of people who feel lonely on a daily basis and thus combat the social isolation that European society is facing.
The approach is based on active listening to the isolated person and friendly and warm exchanges several times a week to enable people to discuss and feel good, whatever their age.
Various associations exist in European countries to monitor social isolation. In France, for example, it is the association “Au bout du fil” which reveals an obvious and recognised approach: waiting for a simple phone call transforms daily life.
The French association also explains that this approach can be implemented in any country, as an individual or an organisation. It is easy to apply and can save people from social isolation.
Methodology & tools:
A phone call for all those who feel lonely
This simple idea (making a regular phone call to break out of social isolation) encourages links between generations, every day of the year with moments of friendly sharing. These volunteers, identified in advance, thus contribute to reducing loneliness in the country, the region, the city…
To make these calls, you must be sincere, willing to talk regularly and respect the person.
A confidential exchange and anonymity to be guaranteed
The association “Au bout du fil” stresses the importance of confidentiality and anonymity when calling this isolated audience. Indeed, the only important information to know is the first name of the caller. This confidentiality opens up a real space for freedom of expression. It is important that the content of these calls does not come out of these telephone exchanges in order to guarantee this confidentiality and the quality of this space for sharing and listening.
An active partnership with intermediaries
As the association “Au bout du fil” explains, it is essential to have a list of structures that can help the person in his or her situation, including for example a retirement home, a social centre offering manual and creative activities, etc.
Impact & Outcomes:
This practice provides an incentive to bring the person out of their social isolation by promoting the proposal of external activities set up by existing social structures. It also guarantees the confidentiality of conversations as well as a space of trust where the person is not judged but rather listened to, helped and guided.
This approach also gives the interlocutors, volunteers a certain responsibility and allows them to develop rigor, active listening and a capacity for orientation of the person concerned.
It is very important that volunteers undertaking this type of activity be trained beforehand, as they may have to deal with the problems of people in distress and thus have to deal with issues that are sometimes psychologically difficult to deal with.
Improve your living environment
Thematic area: People and environment – Quality of housing Country: France
According to a study carried out in France, published by the ESEC (French Economic, Social and Environmental Council), the quality of housing increases the well-being of the inhabitants and preserves their health: absence of pollution, mould, green spaces, personal decoration… This highlights the importance of the link between the environment, housing and personal well- being.
The quality of housing and well-being at home proved to be all the more important from 2020 onwards, a period of global health crisis, as moments at home were much more frequent, through short-time working, lack of activities or the increase in teleworking. In fact, more than 20% of the population has not been able to cope with the confinement imposed as a result of the health crisis linked to covid-19.
The aim of this good practice is therefore to improve people’s personal well- being based on improving the quality of their living environment through a set of elements that are easy to implement and at low cost.
The ESEC has carried out a study to identify the factors that improve or reduce the quality of housing. This experiment aimed at and enabled the development of a procedure in three essential steps that can be easily implemented at home or even at the office. This action plan process was based on an observation and analysis of psychosocial risk factors related to poor housing quality. This action plan is implemented in 3 key steps.
Methodology & tools:
Identifying what is unpleasant
Being able to identify the elements that make a person uncomfortable in their housing can be the beginning of a renewal. Indeed, several studies have shown that many people say they do not feel good in their environment but do not know how to identify the source of this discomfort.
In order to identify whether you are in a “healthy home” or an “unhealthy home”, here are a few tips:
- What do you think of the paintings chosen in the house? Of the decoration in general?
- Are there elements that you would move?
- How do you feel when you look at each of the rooms in your home?
The idea here is for the person to become aware of what is around them, their environment and how they really feel.
Suggested actions to improve the quality of your home
In order to continue the process of modifying the quality of one’s housing, it is important to think about possible actions to improve one’s living space and thus one’s health:
For example, during the phase of identifying what is unpleasant, it was noted that the paintings in your living room are too aggressive and that with your furniture in the room, this accentuates your discomfort and uneasiness. The next step is therefore to think about what action to take: changing the paint, bringing in light decorative elements to brighten up the room, customising your furniture and harmonising it, etc.
If this part seems obvious, it can sometimes be a source of tension when the person does not see a way out of the problem noticed. To counteract this tension, talking about their thoughts about changes around them and asking for advice in order to make decisions can sometimes be necessary to consider other possibilities for change.
In this search for solutions, it is essential to consider the positive and the negative in order to make the final decision on the changes to be made.
Implementing thoughts into actions
This approach must, of course, lead to the implementation of action and consensus among the housing inhabitants in order to improve living conditions and reduce as much as possible the psychosocial risk factors that poor housing quality can generate. Within this framework, the inhabitants must regularly take stock of their well-being and, if necessary, adjust the interior elements of their housing.
Moments of exchange between housing residents on the issue of the quality of the environment are therefore essential to promote well- being within the living space.
Impact & Outcomes:
This practice has many positive effects that have been proven in the study carried out by the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (EESC). Indeed, this practice can be applied to everyone because it is cheaper. It translates into an improvement in the management of health and well-being in the home. It increases the quality of housing and thus has a positive impact on the morale and sometimes even the physical conditions of the inhabitants. Finally, this practice favours the general improvement of the mood and thus promotes a Zen and peaceful atmosphere within the house.
This practice doesn’t replace the need for house work or repairs. However, it promotes a space where residents can feel good and in harmony in their personal environment to improve their well-being.
The implementation of this good practice is not compulsory but is strongly recommended to improve the health of all.
“The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.”