By Colin Hearne on October 6, 2015
‘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?
By Miranda Massie on September 9, 2014
UBC Recreation Open House-Sept. 8-14
Join UBC Recreation for a free week of programming and open houses at all of its sport facilities. Throughout the week, there will be free classes, including yoga, martial arts, aquatic fitness, dance, pilates, cycle fit, boot camps, and more.
President’s Installation-Sept. 12
Attend the installation of Professor Arvind Gupta as the 13th President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of British Columbia. Join UBC students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community for a full day of events on the Vancouver campus.
UBC Homecoming-Sept. 13
This year’s Homecoming will feature a ton of fun activities, concluding with the big game on Saturday, Sept. 13 against the University of Calgary Dinos. Come out and show your UBC pride!
UBC is proud to welcome Vivek Shraya to UBC’s Vancouver campus on Sept 24 to screen his film, What I LOVE about being QUEER. Join a lively discussion about language, identity and being queer at UBC and in today’s society.
Main Mall Harvest Feast–Sept. 25
Share a sustainable, family style, long table dinner. White linens, tableware, glassware & candles will be set where old & new friends share in food, drink, & share stories. In collaboration between chefs from UBC & the AMS with some UBC Farm items. Purchase tickets here. View the Harvest Feast Menu
Thrive is both a mindset and a week-long series of events focused on building positive mental health for UBC students, faculty, and staff. The campus community is invited to partner in hosting an event or promoting the initiative. By partnering with Thrive, your group can contribute to this dialogue and support positive mental health at UBC. Are you a faculty member? You are invited to bring Thrive into the classroom.
The Healthy Workplace Initiatives Program (HWIP) is a fund available to UBC departments and units to support healthy activities in the workplace. The program provides start-up funds for kick starting health related, sustainable initiatives. Have a great idea but need some seed money to get it off the ground? Already running programming but want to take it to the next level? Apply for Healthy Workplace funding! New funding criteria. Deadline to apply is November 22, 2014.
UBC’s updated iPhone and Android app is available for download. Students, faculty, staff and prospective students can access up-to-date event information and news from around campus. The app can also help users find their way around using a list of locations and maps.
Hot Box Yoga-UBC Corporate Discount
UBC’s newest yoga studio, located in Westbrook Village, is offering a corporate discount to staff and faculty.
Yoga classes at International House are starting up again for the fall!
Best Catch Sustainable Seafood Festival, Steveston-Sept. 14
This free community event promotes the value of making ocean-friendly seafood choices.The Best Catch Sustainable Seafood Festival features live cooking demonstrations, food tastings, live music, and more!
Surrey Youth Fest, Sept. 20
An outdoor concert, live performances, an exhibitor’s expo and more. All geared towards youth!
Vancouver International Film Festival– Starts Sept. 25
As one of the largest film festivals in North America, the 33rd annual Vancouver International Film Festival brings Vancouver audiences some of the best films from around the globe.
Richmond Culture Days-Sept. 26-28
This year, Richmond is pleased to present the 5th annual Culture Days, a Canada-wide program featuring free arts and culture activities that showcase creativity in the community. From backstage tours to pottery demos to hands-on Chinese calligraphy workshops, there is something for all ages and interests.
Alive interactive-September Issue
Inclusion of third-party links is for community information only, and is not to be considered an endorsement of services or products
Posted in Community Health News, Events, Mental Health, Nutrition, Physical Health | Tagged alive interactive, community, corporate discounts, culture, equity, festivals, film screening, harvest feast, healthy workplace initiatives, recreation, Yoga | Leave a response
By Miranda Massie on August 6, 2014
In my editorial last month, I invited our readers to reflect on their work environment, and to try one new thing to create a healthier workplace. The University is a large entity and attempting to establish healthier environments can be a daunting task. If each individual member of our staff and faculty community tried to make one change, we could harness this momentum and the impact could be felt on a wider scale.
So, what can we do as individuals to make our working communities healthier?
In posing this question, I am reminded of a 5X15 event that I attended as part of the Indian Summer Festival in June. Five dynamic and engaging speakers are invited to each talk for 15 minutes, unscripted, on a topic of their choice. I was fortunate to hear Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, visual artist and member of the Haida Nation, speak as one of the evenings presenters. Michael recounted an old Quechan legend that made its way to Haida Gwaii called The Little Hummingbird.
Michael spoke about belonging, specifically as individuals to a larger community and how in Haida communities, people rely on individual members to “do what they can” in order to contribute to the larger whole. No matter how small or insignificant an individual may perceive their gesture to be, acknowledging that it all contributes to the betterment of the future of the group is essential.
I really appreciate this idea that in doing what we can with what we have at our disposal, we have the ability to take an active and participating role in our health at work.
An easy way to embark on this journey is through recognition. ‘Thank you’s’ are free and gratitude does not cost a thing. Best of all, rewarding the work of others through recognition has been proven to benefit one’s health.
Peer recognition has the most impact, as colleagues tend to be the people that see day–to-day work and tasks being completed. This type of public recognition is more meaningful and lasting as it fulfills two of our innate human needs: the need to belong (social) and the need to be appreciated (esteem). People who feel appreciated and valued in the workplace are more productive, generally happier and more likely to extend their gratitude to their families, social networks and communities. Showing and receiving gratitude and appreciation has been shown to release the hormone oxytocin in the body which serves to bond relationships, reduce negative emotions and relieve pain.
This month, I invite you to be generous with your ‘thank you’s’, and to show your appreciation for colleagues when you feel it is deserved. If you are looking for other ways to recognize staff and faculty at UBC, or want to find out what the University does as an organization to reward employees, visit the Staff Recognition page.
With recognition in mind, I would like to thank all of our readers who take the time to provide feedback and send their appreciation. We do this work for you and hope that it helps you move towards a healthier UBC!
All my best,
Posted in Editorial, Mental Health, Miranda Massie, Physical Health, Spot Light | Tagged appreciation, Celebrate, community involvement, culture, gratitude, Haida, health, hummingbird, indigenous, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, recognition, success, thank you, wellbeing, workplace | Leave a response