Over the long term, employee health is crucial for motivation and performance. Company doctor Philip Strasser talks about the importance of recognition.

What does a healthy working environment look like?

It goes without saying that legal requirements such as adequate rest periods, occupational safety and protection against psychosocial risks need to be met. The way we organise our work should be a source of health. It should boost our motivation and enhance our personality. This includes, for example, providing individual development opportunities, meaningful activities and personal room for manoeuvre. A study has shown that people in employment who are able to plan and implement their tasks independently are less likely to develop dementia in old age. However, special attention should also be paid to factors such as mutual respect, trust, appreciation and empathy. Often referred to as soft factors, they seem to be particularly important for our well-being, especially in these uncertain times.


Philip Strasser

Philip Strasser has been Swiss Life’s company doctor since 2008. His main activity is medical risk-benefit assessment in individual and group insurance and in the employee benefits institution at Swiss Life Switzerland.

How is this reflected in everyday work?

It has been shown that in an appreciative and trustful corporate culture, people make fewer mistakes, are more motivated and therefore perform better. There is evidence that a lack of appreciation is associated with an increased risk not only of mental disorders such as depression and burnout, but also of cardiovascular diseases. Appreciation is one of the most important rewards for work done, alongside salaries and opportunities for advancement and development, and can counteract what has been referred to as a “professional gratification crisis” and the negative consequences already mentioned.

It has been shown that in an appreciative and trustful corporate culture, people are more motivated and therefore perform better.

What does this mean for managers?

Appreciation reduces stress, improves well-being and helps us to perform our tasks to the best of our ability. An appreciative attitude is also possible and helpful in difficult conversations and conflicts. Managers can help to ensure a high level of psychological security in their team. This means creating an environment in which employees can express themselves without prejudice, contributions are mutually supported and mistakes are accepted as part of a learning process. However, managers must also remember to treat themselves with respect.

How can companies and managers create an appropriate working environment?

Desired behaviours can, for example, be set out in a code of conduct. However, the focus should not just be on conduct. It is crucial that the element of appreciation is consistently integrated into structures, processes and targets. Role model behaviour and the degree of trust and appreciation expressed to employees, customers and other stakeholders can thus be seen as components of success and corporate value.

Image source: Philip Brand

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