A New Year, a New Emphasis on Wellbeing
As the challenges of COVID-19 continue, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers has determined that its mission for 2021 will include unprecedented focus on the wellbeing of everyone who works in the industry, as well as the wider communities in which they operate.
There is nothing like an enduring, global crisis to focus the mind on things that really matter. When that crisis is health-related, it is only natural that greater emphasis is placed on peoples’ wellbeing.
That is why, as the challenges of COVID-19 continue, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) has determined that its mission for 2021 will include unprecedented focus on the wellbeing of everyone who works in the industry, as well as the wider communities in which they operate.
But what is meant by "wellbeing?"
“At IOGP, the definition we use is inclusive,” said Mariana Carvalho, manager of the joint IOGP/IPIECA Health Committee. “It is the individual’s experience of health (both mental and physical), but, beyond that, it is about feeling safe and secure, about a life that feels meaningful and purposeful, and—to different degrees for different people—about connection to our families, friends, and colleagues. This gives us a place from which we are better able to manage the difficult moments that are a fact of everyone’s life, at home and at work. The pandemic has demonstrated that, in addition to physical and mental health, wellbeing clearly has a social health dimension."
While wellbeing is an attribute of individuals, its benefits have a direct correlation with good business outcomes. The most successful organizations are those in which employees have a positive outlook on their lives and work. The Health Committee has long promoted the idea that investing in employee wellbeing will benefit both individuals and organizations. Individuals benefit through increased resilience to stressful situations and reduced sickness and absences, while organizations gain from a more engaged workforce; better working relationships; and higher performance, safety, quality, and productivity.
Until recently, in most companies, the topic has typically only been driven by limited initiatives. The Health Committee aims to change that with the publication of a new Well-Being Framework, incorporating wellbeing priorities outlined by the United Nations’ World Health Organization and encouraging IOGP Members to develop a wellbeing strategy. The framework is set to be published in mid-2021.
A Fresh Impetus
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of wellbeing has gained momentum. While most IOGP member companies and organizations can claim to have handled the operational aspects of the pandemic response effectively, COVID-19’s effects on wellbeing and mental health are likely to be longer lasting. The framework is planned to help address these challenges. People’s wellbeing is always influenced by their environment and the behavior of others or social health. Hence, aspects of worker welfare—leisure and learning opportunities, employment conditions, and community relationships—also matter.
The subjects tackled include the elements of a wellbeing strategy and the key aspects of a wellbeing program, including
- Work quality
- Personal growth
- Good lifestyle choices
- Financial wellbeing
“Of course, during the past year, the Health Committee has also made progress on its usual work priorities, notwithstanding the challenges presented by the pandemic,” Carvalho said.
The Challenge of Remote Health Care
Among those work priorities is the collaboration with the Faculty of Remote, Rural, and Humanitarian Health Care. Part of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh, Scotland, the faculty was established in 2018 to define, review, and set standards of competence for organizations delivering healthcare in remote and rural environments. The Health Committee is supporting the faculty’s development of a competency framework for health professionals in rural and remote areas, which will include, for example, offshore medics. The competency framework will include wellbeing and aims to
- Develop clinical examinations in remote and rural healthcare
- Enable service providers to ensure patient safety and healthcare practitioner support
- Provide a suite of modular capabilities that can be applied to different roles, skill levels, and contexts within the remote and rural healthcare environment
Implementation of the framework will benefit oil and gas workers and local communities alike.