‘The average Canadian worker spends about 60% of their waking hours at work’
(Source: Creating a Healthy Workplace Nutrition Environment, 2012).
What happens in the workplace can have a huge impact on employees’ overall health. In the spirit of October being Healthy Workplace Month, we here at Healthy UBC wanted to take this opportunity to delve into the topic of Workplace Health – and in particular focus on one area gaining more and more importance.
The Mighty Three!
First, when building a healthy workplace: what do the experts say is important, or necessary? According to Excellence Canada, anon-profit company that is dedicated to advancing organizational performance across Canada, there are three elements that make up a healthy workplace:
- Health & Lifestyle Practices;
- Physical Environment and Occupational Health & Safety; and
- a Workplace Culture and a Supportive Environment.
To be a healthy workplace is to take all these things into consideration. It’s to be a place where they are encouraged to look after their own health both at work and at home, where employees have a safe and clean work environment, and crucially where they have strong and supportive working relationships that give them a sense of control and influence over what happens to them.
The Importance of a Positive Workplace Culture and a Supportive Environment
A supportive workplace culture is the bedrock of a healthy workplace. It supports and enables the other two elements. Culture is created, reinforced, and sustained by ongoing patterns of relationships and communications that are known to have an important influence on mental and physical health. You will find an organization’s values reflected in its culture – such values as respect, diversity, quality, and teamwork.
Developing a Supportive Environment at Work: What You Can Do Today
‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ – Why not take a minute today to try some of these creative and simple acts:
- Random acts of kindness: Make it a point to not leave on Friday afternoon until you have performed an act of kindness for a co-worker. Help them with a project, grab them a cup of coffee, or buy them lunch.
- Leave them a note: Write a note of thanks to your co-worker specifically describing what they do in the workplace that makes them stand out.
- Celebrate successes: When one of your coworkers reaches a goal or a milestone, do what you can to help them celebrate! Bake a cake, decorate their workspace, or sing a song of celebration.
- Become a UBC Health Contact: Be the person in your office or unit to share healthy information for UBC employees. Get the news about the latest corporate fitness discounts, free workshops and free trainings, and spread the healthy news to your peers. Click here for more information.
- Tell your team: If a co-worker goes above and beyond, put it in writing and praise them in a group email or note!
- Support them when they’re down: Consider how you can support co-workers under stress.
- Start a peer-to-peer recognition team: If your workplace doesn’t already have one, why not approach your manager with this idea? Develop a team to recognize your co-workers. Rotate the members on an annual basis so everyone has a chance to serve.
Make It Happen
One excellent way to build a system of support, recognise achievements, and build a culture of rewarding is connect with UBC Thrive. There are four different ways that you and your group can participate:
- Become a Special Event Partner: Plan and promote a special Thrive event for students, faculty or staff, or for everyone in the UBC community
- Become a Thriving Partner: Promote your regularly scheduled event or activity as a “Thrive” initiative, host an event for a specific audience/group
- Become a Promotional Partner: Help promote Thrive at UBC by sharing information about Thrive in your unit, putting up posters or spreading the message through social media
- Become a Faculty Member Partner: Promote Thrive in the classroom or incorporate key messaging into curriculum.
Want to Know More?