Charles Benayon

Founder & CEO of Aspiria

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Feeling Safe

SafetyMainAs I write this blog, I am reminded that today is Remembrance Day, a day dedicated to the men and women in Canada who lost their lives fighting for our freedom and safety.

In the past month, Canada has been rocked by incidents of violence toward our country and accusations of harassment in the workplace. Victims have come forward and shared their stories with the media and in turn, the public. Where we live and work should be a space that should make us feel safe and comfortable. It is a human right in a free society to feel safe. At work, the Human Rights Code, Workplace Violence and Harassment Legislation and the Criminal Code, are safety laws available to employees, yet harassment in the workplace are covered up for years, and still continues.

There are ways we can help create an environment that does not tolerate wrongful treatment of others, but also provides the resources should harassment issues still arise.

Every employee has the right to be treated with respect and has a responsibility to treat others with respect. If a person feels that he or she is being harassed, they should talk to someone that they trust, whether it be a co-worker, a family member or an employee in the human resources department, if one exists. It is important to document these incidents, and inform employees of the policies the employer has in place.

Harassment poisons the entire workplace and affects employee morale and productivity. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do as an employer or person of influence to keep your work environment safe and respectful:

  1. Clear Expectations
  • Make sure that the expectations in your workplace are clear – harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.
  1. Monitor the Atmosphere
  • Pay attention to the tone of interactions and comments made between co-workers and the use of offensive emails, inappropriate comments, derogatory language or jokes, and check for increased absenteeism or staff turnover.
  1. Lead by Example
  • Model respectful behaviours
  1. Maintain Open Communication Channels
  • Policies, procedures, and resources should be posted visibly in common areas, and senior management should offer an open door.


A workplace with an EAP and advanced health management programs that include trauma support will be able to help your employees in their time of need, and aid in their recovery in the workplace. We can all work together to create a safe place where we can work productively and feel supported. Let’s pause today and ask if the recent violence against Canada and harassment events reported in the media have caused you concern for your safety? What steps have you taken to make your office, which is a microcosm of the larger community, a “safer” environment for you, your colleagues, and your staff? Are we doing our part to make our work environment and country a safe place to work and live?

I look forward to hearing from you in the comments section below.

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Gratitude is an Attitude

GratitudeJournal-esollaAs many Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving this past weekend, it gave me pause to reflect on how merely expressing appreciation and sharing positivity for life can have profound effects on our well being, health and relationships. People who practice gratitude consistently report a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
  • Higher levels of positive emotions;
  • More joy, optimism, and happiness;
  • Acting with more generosity and compassion;
  • Feeling less lonely and isolated

Unfortunately, in our busy and chaotic lives, it can be hard to find time to give gratitude. There are many moments when we may feel stuck and fed up, but taking time to appreciate the good things, and what we are grateful for, can be life-altering.

Life coaches remind us that “gratitude is an attitude”, and the number one predictor of success is gratitude. Research suggests that gratitude boosts morale and productivity in organizations. We spend so much of our time at work, yet people are less likely to feel or express gratitude at work than anyplace else.

If being grateful will increase happiness by 25%, then depression, stress, and anxiety can be decreased. This makes for happier employees, but employers who remember to also thank their customers as well as their staff watch their sales increase.

If gratitude improves stress levels, relationships and overall mood, then here are some ways it can be cultivated in the workplace:

  • Organizations need to devote time at meetings or provide other opportunities to explicitly thank other members for their work
  • Managers in your organization should not wait until there is extraordinary performance from staff to say thank you, but also for doing a good job daily
  • Saying “thank you” for your work should come from peers as well as managers
  • Dish out compliments on a daily basis
  • Make a contribution or volunteer time with your company’s charity of choice, to help people less fortunate than yourself
  • Avoid complaining and criticizing – take notice of how your energy is wasted on negative thoughts and feelings and divert it to focusing on better things. You can also share your appreciation of things, such as how nice the journey to work was.

Life coaching is valuable for helping you to see the positives rather than the negatives, and to become more productive and successful in all aspects of life. Coaches can help us to realize what we have, which takes the focus off what we don’t. This can lessen our need for wanting more all the time.

Oprah once said, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you focus on what you don’t have, you will never, ever, have enough”. It’s a choice, and one that could determine the quality of your life.

“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” Colette, French novelist

Do you take time every day to appreciate your coworkers or boss? What do you do to show them appreciation? I look forward to reading your experiences in the comments below.