Once you have completed your dialogue and formed an overview of what needs to be done within your unit to improve the work environment, you need to prioritise a suitable number of focus areas.
You should describe how you will work with each focus area in an action plan.
WPA action plans must be documented in the AU action plan module. This will help to create an overview of the focus areas and progress in the solutions.
Action plans must be prepared at least at department/school level, but it is also a good idea to prepare action plans as locally as possible in order to ensure that the activities are meaningful to individual managers and employees. For example, if you decide to adopt stress as a focus area, initiatives and activities should be as specific as possible, to ensure that they can be followed up easily on an ongoing basis.
Some measures will be easy to initiate, while others may require one or more meetings/processes to gain more detailed understanding of a specific focus area. In order to get the most out of activities to address a specific topic, it is essential to start by understanding whether it is something simple, complicated or complex.
Simple issues can be resolved through ‘best practice’.
Find the best ‘recipe’ and follow it. If the WPA report shows that there is a draught coming from the windows, this could be easy enough to fix. Perhaps it is enough to apply some sealant?
The matter could also be more complicated.
Perhaps it is about time the windows were replaced? Who owns the buildings? And who is responsible for paying? Is there enough money? If so, which windows should be replaced? What expert resources should be involved? Are there any procurement agreements in place? Are some solutions more sustainable than others? What is financially viable in the short and long terms?
Complicated issues are better tackled with ‘good practice’.
There is not one, perfect solution, and it is a good idea to call in specialist expertise.
If the report or the dialogue indicate that there is too much stress, dealing with the issue will not be easy. "Stress affects the individual, but is solved together", is a well-known saying. It might be necessary to involve experts to help establish a solid plan for the unit’s work. There is not necessarily one, ideal solution.
Employees affected by stress may also perceive the situation as complex. The solution for the individual may, therefore, involve measures beyond what the organisation and the unit require.
Complex issues are best resolved through ‘emerging practice’
In other words, it is about experimenting with well-thought-out initiatives. It is important to have a clear view of both the current situation and the desired outcome.
Based on these views, identify interim goals leading up to the desired outcome, and select specific experiments aimed at achieving these targets.
Find inspiration for work on the work environment by reading about topics covering everything from the physical work environment, stress, offensive behaviour, and psychological counselling to staff development dialogues and the workplace culture at AU.
In order to succeed with these initiatives, it may be beneficial to involve additional levels in the organisation to ensure coordinated efforts where everyone is pulling in the same direction. If, for example, there is a need to reduce loneliness, you should think in terms of what management can do, what the individual employee can do, what can be done at group level. You should also think about what activities can be agreed on at the workplace as a whole.