What is Vital Workplace?

"This intervention is an 'innovative practice'
...it has demonstrated positive results from a high quality evaluation."
The Public Health Agency of CanadaAgence De Santé Publique du Canada
Canadian Best Practices Initiative/ L'Initiative canadienne sur les pratiques examplaires

Vital Workplace© is a process for building, maintaining or restoring a culture of fairness, civility, respect and a sense of psychological safety within teams, departments and units – wherever people have to get on with one another to get the job done.  

This goal is achieved by involving group members in a facilitated process in which they review how they function as a team and then plan how to improve their level of functioning.

The Vital Workplace Survey©, a unique evidence-based assessment, is central to this process. This assessment provides a profile of the group with regard to job satisfaction, stress, civility, respect and a relatively new concept called “psychological safety”.

Integral to the process is the guiding Neighbour@Work® principle  which describes conduct that is most likely to foster a civil, respectful and psychologically safe workplace characterized by high job satisfaction and moderate, manageable stress for everyone.

The N@W® construct developed by the Centre defines the common responsibilities that we have toward one another in the workplace: to be careful of each other’s psychological wellbeing regardless of rank, status or position.

It is an application of knowledge gained from decades of research and legal reasoning concerning the importance of fairness and reasonableness in the promotion and protection of emotional health in the workplace.

The Process in a Nutshell

A. Before the introductory session begins the participants receive and complete the Vital Workplace Survey©.

B. The results of the Vital Workplace Survey© are presented to team members for discussion during the first session.

C. Team members have an opportunity to discuss and critique the meaning, relevance and applicability of the Neighbour at Work® principles to their own situations.

D.  Using the Neighbour@Work as a basic point of reference, the facilitator moves the group toward the identification and prioritization of areas in which improvements could be made and where successes are being already experienced.

E.  An action plan is established that includes division of labour, timelines and accountability. A commitment is made in advance to follow through on the plan, and to conduct a formal follow-up with the facilitator approximately three months from the time of the first workshop. During this three-month period, arrangements can be made to have the facilitator return to help the team if the need is felt.

F.  The follow-up includes a repetition of the Vital Workplace Survey© and a comparison of its results with those from the baseline measurements.


When fully implemented, Vital Workplace© has a demonstrably significant effect on emotional health and job performance. It can reduce the appearance of symptoms of emotional distress among employees by up to one third.

As a result, team members often report that they are more effective and creative in their jobs. Simply put, people who feel better about themselves and one another, function better together!


Any work team or unit can benefit from Vital Workplace© whether it is functioning reasonably well or having difficulties.

Vital Workplace© builds resilience by reinforcing and enhancing the capacity of team members to:

Focus on the work to be done

Be creative and energetic

Gain competitive advantage

Function effectively under pressure

Fully engage with others with whom they need to relate

Vital Workplace© addresses emerging problems including:

  • signs of conflict among team members
  • missed deadlines
  • unexplained and unpredictable time away from work
  • misunderstandings and miscommunications
  • preoccupation during work hours with relationship issues of an apparently 'minor' nature
  • signs of disengagement from the work and others on the team
  • customer/client complaints
  • referrals to the EAP or other counseling services
  • grievances and other legal initiatives
  • use of abusive language or conduct
  • use of the language of unfairness and unreasonableness


The Centre is excited to announce that Vital Workplace is currently in the process of being retooled and rebranded in partnership with WSPS (Workplace, Safety and Prevention Services).

Vital Workplace© is a copyrighted product of the Neighbour@Work Centre®


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