The Healthy Workplaces Extra Mile Awards are hosted annually and are designed to recognize BC businesses that are dedicated to promoting workplace health and wellness! We recently connected with the winner of the 2017 Best Small Business Award, RESAAS (Real Estate Software As A Service), about creating a workplace culture that supports health and wellness. Speaking with Isabelle Kao, Office Administration Coordinator, and Danielle Sissons, Vice President of Operations, we had the pleasure of learning about the benefits of implementing workplace health and wellness in a small business. Read our interview with Isabelle and Danielle to discover the value of workplace wellness!

What has been the most rewarding organizational outcome of promoting workplace health and wellness?

Isabelle and Danielle: Our investment in workplace health and wellness has produced benefits that outweigh the costs of implementation. By beginning with a focus on healthy eating and physical activity we’ve seen a transformation in workplace productivity. Our employees work smarter, not harder.

How has your organization’s outlook on workplace health and wellness evolved?

Isabelle and Danielle: In November of 2016 we moved to a new office that offers employees much more natural light and a spectacular view of the city, both of which have a profoundly uplifting effect, especially in the winter months. To encourage mobility and reduce sedentary behaviour we equip every employee with laptops rather than desktops, and we offer standing desks as well. In support of healthy eating we’ve stopped purchasing chips and chocolate, opting for snacks like unsalted nuts, yogurt, and fresh fruit.

You discuss the importance of vacation and show employees how to use benefits to improve health and wellness. How have these discussions positively affected employee health and wellness?

Isabelle and Danielle: We recognize the importance of taking a break from the duties of your work, both by stepping away from your desk during lunch and by using all of your allotted vacation days. We find that when employees take time to recharge they return to their work with a renewed energy. We also encourage employees to actively take advantage of services like naturopathy, acupuncture, and massage therapy that are available through our employee assistance program. When employees are happy and healthy in life, it translates to the workplace.

How does the social atmosphere and culture of your workplace support health and wellness?

Isabelle and Danielle: We host regular team bonding events with a focus on health and wellness, and in the past we’ve engaged employees in collective spin and yoga classes. RESAAS also does an annual kickoff event that helps employees get active for a day through engaging activities such as scavenger hunts or CrossFit classes! To help reduce sedentary behaviour and build social connections with colleagues, we implemented a policy that requires employees to eat lunch away from their desk in the kitchen or lounge. Within our building employees have free access to a 24/7 fitness facility and bike storage area. We support active commuting by covering employee’s public transit fares and promoting the use of our building amenities.

What challenges have you faced in implementing workplace health and wellness?

Isabelle and Danielle: While most of our employees have an intrinsic passion for health and wellness, we try to accommodate diverse interests to offer events and initiatives that everyone will enjoy and be able to participate in. The challenge of budget is ever present, but we understand that workplace wellness is an investment, so we try to offer small solutions with big results!

As the winner of the Best Small Business Award, RESAAS is commended for enacting a range of strategies that promote workplace health and wellness. They provide an assortment of on-site healthy snacking options, use workplace policy to prevent sedentary behaviour, and engage in exciting team wellness activities that frame health promotion in a social context. We’d like to thank RESAAS for sharing their outlook on workplace health and wellness!