This month features Fiona Walsh from UBC’s Sauder School of Business, who was a recipient of Healthy UBC’s Healthy Workplace Initiative Program (HWIP) funding in 2014. Welcome to Thriving Campus – a new addition to our Healthy UBC Newsletter featuring, testimonials, contributions and personal experiences from UBC staff, faculty and students.
Read a short interview with Fiona below on how the HWIP fund has helped her and her department thrive at UBC.
What strategies do you use in your own life to help you thrive?
I’m a big believer in the power of exercise to help control stress. It’s one of the most important things you can do for yourself, not only in terms of stress management, but also for long-term health. I do struggle at times to fit in regular exercise, but I always recognize how much better I feel when I get myself moving. I look for activities that I find fun. I also make a habit of sitting still at least once a day for five minutes. This gives me a chance to catch my mental ‘breath’ and drain some of the tension out of my neck and shoulders. The newest ‘thrive’ habit I’ve given myself is not turning on email first thing in the morning. I’m finding that taking 15-20 minutes first to plan and think about my day has really increased my focus.
What drew you to apply for UBC’s Healthy Workplace initiative Program?
We saw an opportunity to gain knowledge about stress management in the workplace by increasing overall morale, incorporating health and fitness, increasing team building opportunities, and fostering a culture that prioritizes health and exposes staff to different opportunities at UBC and in our local community. We are doing this initiative in conjunction with the Sauder Undergraduate and Graduate Programs Offices.
What are you doing with the HWIP funding?
The funding is allocated into two categories: Nutrition and Exercise. The bulk of our activities are throughout the summer months, but we are now working on a year-round initiative. The funding is being dispersed into a variety of events, such as ‘Lunch and Learn’ workshops, cooking classes, and a wellness library with a variety of magazines and books. We also introduced a tracking board as a way for staff to gain points by engaging in a variety of activities. The tracking board is positioned in each of our three offices and includes all the participants’ names.
What results are you seeing?
Unbelievable results! Our stress management initiative has instilled a positive energy in our office.
There have been big increases in team building and a collaborative environment; we are getting to better know staff from the Undergraduate Office, the Graduate Programs Office and other units within the Faculty. There is also more interaction amongst staff and people are asking questions about health related topics and are sharing health related tips to modify their everyday lifestyle. Stress levels are way down.
Without a doubt this program has had a major positive impact on the culture at the Business Career Centre– everyone is healthier and happier. The results I’ve seen in the team far surpassed anything I expected. I’d recommend this program to any unit – it’s a game-changer!
Fiona Walsh is the Assistant Dean and Director of the Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre at UBC’s Sauder School of Business. She leads a team of 24 people who provide career development and recruitment services for Sauder students and alumni. Prior to coming to UBC nearly three years ago, she worked in sales and business development in the corporate world. In June, 2014, Fiona and her team were the recipients of our Healthy Workplace Initiative Program (HWIP) Fund.