We have many common experiences at work (starting a job, building relationships, teamworking, change, trusting others, finishing a job) and there are a lot of things that we think we already know in terms of how to work through these different situations. In fact, they, and the issues they bring with them, have always existed for individuals and for organisations: this is not new, and many organisations already applied psychological concepts and theories to provide better working environments.
However, the impact of COVID-19 pandemic has brought many of these issues to the surface in an accelerated and contracted way, and even as restrictions ease, the effects continue to reverberate. We were already in an unpredictable and continuously changing modern business world, categorised by economic uncertainty, continuously evolving marketplace, rapid and disruptive pace of technology and a multi-generational workforce. It is no wonder that many people feel demotivated and disconnected, with lower wellbeing and performance at work.
In developing this hub, we want to help answer questions around how psychology can help: How important is the application of psychology in the workplace during such turbulent times, and in moving forward? What can psychology tell us about how to improve both our working lives, and the success of the organisations we work for? How do we know which psychological concepts and theories are valid and that applying them to our own situation, or within our whole organisation, will be of benefit?
What is the Applying Psychology to Work Hub?
To answer these questions, in August 2020 we carried out research with over 200 organisations to understand the psychological impacts of COVID-19 on businesses, organisations and the individuals, and how prepared they were to deal with these - see Why the Applying Psychology to Work Hub was Created.
We found that up to 30% of businesses had less than good capability, which taking into consideration the number of business in the private sector, could mean between 1.5 and 1.8 million businesses with inadequate ability to address the psychological impacts of the global pandemic on working lives. Moreover, we also recognised that the growing number of resources on COVID-19 and the resulting chaos mainly addressed business issues, rather than psychological issues that emerge simultaneously.
In this video, Dr Volker Patent further introduces the work behind, and the benefits of exploring, the Applying Psychology to Work Hub -
Plugging the Gap
The Applying Psychology to Work Hub steps in to plug the gap in current availability of psychological resources and tools, for use by both organisations and individual people, with a wider remit to provide supportive resources for beyond current dilemmas. It draws on existing content already on OpenLearn, but also includes newly commissioned content created by experts specifically for this hub. Thus, it is a source of continually updated research, providing knowledge and evidence to enable application of psychological concepts and new practices in the workplace, with the confidence that these will help to overcome challenges and enable positive change.
The hub explores several themes that emerged from the research carried out, including:
Managing relationships - effective relationships are crucial for enjoyable and productive work environments - what can be done to promote or maintain successful relationships?
Wellbeing - what happens in, and around, work can affect wellbeing and mental health - what are these psychological effects and what can be done to reduce their impact?
Trust – critical for both positive employee engagement and effective teamwork - what happens when it is breached, and how can we build and maintain trust?
Change – affects all aspects of working life and greatly impacts on wellbeing - what can be done to minimise the impact of change?
Signposts – skills and knowledge gaps add to the challenges within continually changing workplaces - how can we prepare for changing and/or new work, or enhance our current career journeys?
Exploring the Hub
As we created this hub for you, we wanted to provide an opportunity at launch to explore it further, getting to know some of the resources and how these could help you and/or your organisation.
The worksheet below will help you to consider a snapshot of the available resources in an interactive way. We hope you find this thought-provoking and useful!
Connecting through LinkedIn
We would love to continue these conversations with you, by inviting you to connect with us through our Applying Psychology to Work Linkedin Group. Please share any insights you gained from this activity, or any questions you may have on anything related to the hub. We look forward to sharing thoughts and ideas!
Find out more in the Applying Psychology to Work Hub
The link to the whole hub is below, and we hope you find all its resources useful.
Please also feel free to email us with any queries or suggestions at APW@open.ac.uk