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Social Exhaust

Social Exhaust is a concept I learned from an excellent paper on the Business Case for a Healthy Workplace (Burton, 2008) and it underscores the importance of supporting the health and wellbeing of people at work. Excerpt below:“Using an environmental pollution metaphor, Dr. Martin Shain, Senior Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, has spoken for years about the “social exhaust” that companies spew out into society. Workers enter the workplace and then leave at the end of their shifts either better or worse for their experience at work. If employees leave work angry because of their unfair or abusive work experiences, they may exhibit road rage on the way home or abuse family members or pets at home, and increase the costs of law enforcement in their communities. If they leave work demoralized and depressed, they may have heart attacks or develop clinical depression, and contribute to health care costs in their communities. All of these factors will encourage a withdrawal from society, a decrease in volunteerism, and a downward spiral for the communities affected. Conversely, a workplace that creates a healthy, positive and encouraging culture that buoys up and energizes its workers, is likely to contribute in a positive way to the communities it serves. These factors cannot be hidden from stakeholders. Creating a positive organizational profile adds value for customers, clients, citizens and other stakeholders, including employees. “ [italics added].

Social Exhaust. Something to think about!