Could DONUT’s be the answer to Workplace Wellness?

We like to recognize businesses that go above and beyond for the wellness of their employees, and for our Business Spotlight, we connected with a local business that puts their employees in the driver seat to implement workplace wellness. Thinkific is a company transforming the way people and businesses learn, earn and grow and has proved to be a champion in providing a healthy workplace environment.

We had the privilege of meeting with Amanda, People and Culture Specialist at Thinkific to chat about their successes, challenges and share their tips around workplace wellness.

Thinkific is a company with an innovative platform that empowers users to be creative. How does Thinkific use that same innovative approach to foster a healthy workplace environment?

Amanda: We listen to all ideas and put the power in our teammates’ hands. After all, they are the drivers of change. Our first sports team started with someone saying they wanted to play dodgeball, and next thing you know, we now have 2-3 sports teams on the go at any given time. When someone is willing to take the initiative, we rally together and make it happen. At Thinkific, we have found people truly want to do things together!

We have different channels in our Slack community, like #z-wellness that encourages people to get up and move from their desks. We’ve experimented and tried different things like informal stair challenges or push up competitions, to biweekly yoga classes on Friday mornings. We don’t like to recreate the wheel, so we often look at what’s happening within the community and get involved in things like Bike to Work Week. For Mental Health Week, we posted daily facts about mental health and shared suggestions on how employees can change their thought patterns or better handle stressful situations. We had a ton of engagement from team members and got a lot of positive feedback about it.

Also, we use the Donut Slack App which randomly pairs teammates up once a month in groups of 3 and encourages them to get lunch, go for a walk or just get up and leave the office. It allows our teammates to get to know co-workers they either don’t work closely with, or don’t often interact with. DONUT also follows-up and sends reminders to confirm if they’ve met and if they haven’t, it encourages them to schedule a time for a healthy outing.

If a CEO walked up to you asking for your advice on implementing workplace wellness into their organization and you only had a few minutes to give ’em your best tip, what would it be?

Amanda: Keep it simple!

Everyone always thinks that in order for something to be successful it requires a lot of money or time. Encourage people to make small changes, focus on changing mentality and create a positive work environment. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking for help in your network or establishing a win-win partnership that doesn’t cost you. At our monthly town hall meetings, we have an “Ask Us Anything” portion. This is an opportunity for teammates to ask anything, request anything and create a transparent work environment. Last week, one of our employees voiced that they would like more training on ergonomics at work. Our Director of People and Culture reached out to her chiropractor at Revolution Health to see if they do lunch and learns, and the next week, we had Dr. Chris come in to do ergonomic training in the workplace. It’s that simple! (Bonus: Many of our teammates now use their benefits to see Dr. Chris for treatment!).

And listen to what your employees want! We rely on feedback and survey our teammates every quarter to ensure everyone’s voice is being heard. For example, we recently did a perks and benefits survey to ask our teammates what we could do to make things better. It came to light that we didn’t have enough drinking glasses, and the size of our current glasses meant multiple trips for water refills. A quick win was to order more glasses, and larger ones, to help them stay better hydrated while at work.

Do you have any success stories you would like to share? Can you please tell us about one simple thing you did to implement Workplace Wellness? Do you have a favourite workplace wellness initiative?

Amanda: We recently switched offices and went from a dingy office to a bright new office space. With this change, we decided to do a complete 180 and invest in what we were getting people to eat. We looked at the type of environment we were creating with food, what people were eating and how they were performing. In our dark, unwelcoming previous office we had frozen lunches, bagels, sugary cereals and chocolate available to staff at any time. We noticed that what people were eating was affecting how they were performing their job.

With the new office, we switched food providers, went organic, and switched out chips and junk food for fresh fruit and vegetables. Instead of pop, we invested in a snazzy water cooler for sparkling and filtered water. Our team was very excited about this addition to the kitchen and in conjunction, we also reduced our carbon footprint by eliminating water bottles and cans. We ditched frozen food and snacks for things like whole grain bread, canned tuna and yogurt.

We also implemented surprise and delight treats to reward our teammates (at random times) with their favourite sweet or salty snacks. We have found it has boosted morale and gets people excited for when it happens. We thought it was a good compromise and incentive to provide treats when people are doing really well and hitting their goals, since we otherwise only have healthy snacks and beverages available.

This has been an inexpensive way to encourage healthy eating in our workplace. We noticed changes in overall eating habits of our team and we have now created an environment that fosters workplace wellness. The feedback and requests we get from our team has also changed. For example, we used to receive requests for more kegs and pizza in the office, but there’s been a big push for health and wellness lunch and learns, fitness equipment like yoga mats and pull up bars, and a spike in the number of gym memberships we see.

Thank you, Amanda, for sharing Thinkific’s keys to success!