I have been in my role as health promotions coordinator at UBC for just under 16 months, and in this time, I have had the pleasure to meet and learn from some wonderful people from all across both campuses. My most profound realization to date has been a deeper understanding of just how interconnected personal health is with other aspects of our lives. Our overall state of wellbeing plays a key role in how we face each day and can affect, and be affected by everything from our physical environment, work, sleep habits to family demands and social connections.
With UBC being one of the provinces largest employers, I spend a great deal of time focuses on health in the workplace.. I strive to encourage and support individuals to be conscious of the effects that the working environment can have on health and to welcome the benefits that good health can have on productivity and self-esteem.
Canadians spend an average of 36.6 hours at work per week. This equates roughly to between 40% and 45% of our available weekday waking hours. With so much of our collective time being spent in the workplace, we have a responsibility to ourselves and those around us to find ways to stay well.
Maintaining our health within a working environment can look different for each individual. Taking regular breaks or going outside for a walk might appeal to some. Bringing the outside in might work for others: Studies show that having pictures and photographs of nature in an office environment leads to reduced stress levels and more positive emotional states. It is also important to remember that a work environment does not just include our physical space but it also includes the work that we do and how we interact within that space.
Another great way to maintain a healthy work environment is to actively participate in career navigation. We all have the ability to thrive when we feel we are contributing and having our ideas heard. Being aware of career building opportunities and having the ability to pursue new challenges can lead to an increased sense of control over our work life. Though we may not always have the ability to dictate what our day will look like, we can be working towards our wellbeing by exploring new and exciting opportunities within our work environment. UBC offers several ways in which to do so.
In response to feedback received in the Workplace Experiences Survey in 2011, UBC has created a Career Navigation consultancy service aimed at supporting staff in discovering and designing opportunities for growth.
Have you heard of Leave for Change? Volunteer your professional skills to help others!
You can also explore leadership while giving back to the community through the UBC Community Leadership Program.
This summer, I invite you to reflect on your working environment and to try one new thing to make yourself or your work environment healthier.
For more information on UBC’s Career Navigation services, attend a FREE workshop on July 24, 2014.
All my best,
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Robertson, P. (2013). Career guidance and public mental health. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 13:2, pp 151-164.
Schein, E. (1996) Career anchors Revisited: Implications for career Development in the 21st century. The Academy of Management Executive 10:4, pp. 80-88.