Management Career Services wins Dal’s first Healthy Workplace Award

Celebrating commitment to workplace health

- October 25, 2011

Janice MacInnis (third from left) presents the Healthy Workplace Award to Management Career Services. From left: Shelley LaMorre, Jessica MacKenzie, Ayse Dai-Gammon, Melvina Jones, Ally Howard. (Nick Pearce photo)
Janice MacInnis (third from left) presents the Healthy Workplace Award to Management Career Services. From left: Shelley LaMorre, Jessica MacKenzie, Ayse Dai-Gammon, Melvina Jones, Ally Howard. (Nick Pearce photo)

When many of us hear the word “healthy,” it conjures up images of spending three hours a day in the gym and eating food with little or no flavour. Put “healthy” together with “workplace,” and we see our cookie and cake supply disappearing before our very eyes.

The team in Management Career Services (MCS) knows there’s more to a healthy workplace than just eating right and exercising. Their efforts to incorporate several aspects of health into their daily routines have won them the first Dalhousie Healthy Workplace Award.

“We’re excited to be chosen,” says MCS Director Anna Cranston. “It’s always nice to be recognized for your efforts.”

Award-winning efforts

Ms. Cranston leads by example, and she understands the value of supporting her team when it comes to health-related ideas.

"Everyone has a responsibility to make their workplace healthy,” she says. “As a manager, I keep an open mind to any ideas brought forward and support the goals my team set themselves as much as possible.”

And this relatively small team of 12 certainly engages in a lot of activities: lunchtime walks/skating parties, healthy potlucks, recipe exchanges, physical team-building activities, community days of service and lunches that explore different cultural food, just to name a few.

How do they manage to find the time for everything? “Many of these activities really don’t take much time to plan or execute, they just need a small amount of focus,” says Ms. Cranston. “It’s important to be happy at work. Healthy activities make us feel better and we’re happier as a result.”

MCS team member Ally Howard agrees that finding time can be challenging. “If you plan ahead, it makes it much easier,” she says. “It’s easy to sit at your desk all day, so you have to step outside your comfort zone. If you can, bring a pair of sneakers to leave at your desk for short walks during the day. Give it a chance: you’ll be surprised at the reward that comes from doing a bit of exercise.”

If a little competition is what gets you motivated, go for it, says Lori Bauld, another MCS team member. “You have to make healthy activities fun,” she says. “Have a team competition or compete against one other person, and you’re even more likely to get moving.”

Celebrating Healthy Workplaces

The Healthy Workplace Award was established with the goal of celebrating the above-and-beyond efforts of Dalhousie departments like Management Career Services.

“By recognizing and sharing what departments are doing, we’re raising the awareness of what a healthy workplace looks like,” says Janice MacInnis, coordinator of organizational health at Dalhousie.

Ms. MacInnis knew that many departments were already living examples of healthy workplaces, and she wanted to have a way to not only celebrate those, but to show their examples to the rest of Dalhousie.

She brought her idea for the award to the Healthy Workplace Collaborative, a committee of faculty andstaff representatives from across campus who work together to promote health at Dalhousie. The committee developed a selection process based on six dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, intellectual, interpersonal/social, spiritual and environmental.

“The six dimensions take the whole person into account, not just the physical health,” Ms. MacInnis explains. “This approach shows lots of ways to be healthy, and how healthy can take many different forms.”

With eight submissions this year from a wide variety of departments, the process showed that many Dal units are already engaged in a healthy lifestyle. “We’re so pleased that these departments took the time to submit their applications,” says Ms. MacInnis. “Many team members were involved in the application process, which demonstrates the importance of a supportive environment.”

As the first winner, the MCS team will have their department’s name engraved on a glass trophy of an apple, symbolizing health. They’ll keep the trophy (and bragging rights) for the year, when it will be passed on to next year’s winner. They won’t be left empty-handed, however: they’ll also receive a framed certificate as a permanent reminder of their accomplishments.

If you’re wondering how your department can ramp up some healthy efforts, Ms. MacInnis offers this advice: “Find out what activities or areas your team is interested in, because people are more likely to get involved. Many activities have additional health benefits that you may not even know about.”


All comments require a name and email address. You may also choose to log-in using your preferred social network or register with Disqus, the software we use for our commenting system. Join the conversation, but keep it clean, stay on the topic and be brief. Read comments policy.

comments powered by Disqus