Minister of Labour, Colin Jordan, is reminding Barbadians that the aim of any good and just society is to enable an environment where people are able to be as happy, secure, efficient and productive as they could possibly be.
He was speaking today at the launch of the National Workplace Wellness Policy at the Barbados Workers’ Union Headquarters, Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St. Michael.
Using the definition for wellness given by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Minister said it was a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not just the absence of illness or disease. “Wellness provides the ability for a person to live or work or indeed perform in such a way as to allow that person to achieve his or her full potential,” he stated.
However, he pointed out that the national policy, in addition to addressing the physical, mental/psychological and social wellness, referred to in the WHO definition, also looked at environmental, intellectual, occupational, spiritual and cultural wellness. “These eight categories of wellness that make up total wellness demonstrate the complexity of human beings. Workers are not one-dimensional creatures that simply wake up every day and go to work and perform well at work,” he stressed.
Mr. Jordan further noted that some of the related issues it considered are: environmental stressors, communication, social support systems, conflict resolution, creativity, intellectual stimulation, work-life balance, career development and advancement, spiritual meaning and spiritual purpose, and appreciating diversity.
Adding that these were just some of the areas under the eight Wellness Dimensions, he said they must be addressed if a worker, a person, a human being is going to be in a position to contribute all that he or she can to their household, family, community, or workplace.
The Minister, who is also responsible for Social Partnership Relations, reminded the representatives from the public and private sectors and civil society that decent work included work environments that promote wellness.
Quoting Sustainable Development Goal Eight in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda, which speaks to economic growth through decent work, he said: “Workplace wellness is critical because workers spend much of their waking hours at their places of work. It is simply not possible to be an effective and productive worker if there is not the promotion of wellness in the place where that worker spends most of his or her active time.
While encouraging organizations to adopt the policy, Minister Jordan said: “It is important that we are cognizant that Barbados will only remain viable and a force to be reckoned with, at the global level, if there is overall wellness in our workplaces and in the wider society. In short, when workers are unwell the project of our collective nation-building is negatively impacted and development is impeded.”