This past year has been a challenge for many faculty and staff, and not surprisingly wellness is one of the top issues cited, with concerns ranging from anxiety, feelings of isolation, digital fatigue and ergonomics.
To help support employees and advance its workplace effectiveness, Dalhousie has launched a new workplace wellness strategy, Work Well: Creating space for well-being [login required]. It outlines the university’s workplace wellness goals for 2021-2024 that focus on:
• responding to the issues identified in the 2019 Your Voice workplace survey as areas for improvement;
• reflecting on current and emerging topics and trends that impact workplace wellness and;
• identifying strategic initiatives for furthering the university as a healthy workplace.
This strategy is one of the first actionable initiatives within the Inclusive Excellence pillar of the Third Century Promise — the university’s strategic plan for 2021-2026 — that focuses on prioritizing wellness and respect.
“We’ve listened to employees’ concerns expressed in the 2019 Your Voice workplace survey, and more recently in the Pulse Check conducted in 2020,” says Janice MacInnis, manager of organizational health in Human Resources. “In response, we are introducing this strategy centered around the concept of ‘creating space’ to have what each person wants and needs to ensure their long-term well-being.”
Throughout the pandemic, many faculties and departments shifted their wellness initiatives to an online format, including virtual coffee breaks, exercise sessions with their colleagues and wellness workshops. Having activities moved online actually meant that more people could access them, whether they were working on campus or remotely, or based in Halifax, Truro or Saint John.
Work Well outlines immediate (3-6 months), medium-term (6-12 months) and long-term (1 -2 years) wellness recommendations, along with a set of tactics to address each of them. While the focus this fall will be on supporting employees as many transition back to campus with a mix of wellness opportunities offered, building a wellness culture at Dalhousie is the long-term goal.
Upcoming wellness initiatives and dates
“We continue to introduce wellness resources, such as the Sleep Guide, as they are identified as a need by employees,” says MacInnis. “We really want people to thrive at work, not just cope with their situations.”
In November 2021, the next Your Voice workplace survey will invite faculty and staff to share their experiences of the university as a workplace.
“We know many employees’ work environments have changed significantly and we want to support employees wherever they may be,” adds MacInnis. “As an employer, we have a shared responsibility with employees to help them find ways to achieve wellness,” adds MacInnis.
To find Dal’s wellness events, workshops and sessions, regularly visit the Employee Learning calendar and search for ‘wellness’.
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