Thompson Rivers University

Having a “RUFF” day ?

TRU has the answer with these furry friends!

This month’s Business Spotlight focuses on an organization that uses innovation and information to inspire action. Over the years, they have shown health documentary screenings; shared health-related information online and in different communal spaces like washrooms; participated in the Small Changes Challenges and held an annual health fair for all employees. They are truly a leader in workplace wellness and you won’t want to miss out on the wellness initiatives they have shared with us below.

We had the privilege of chatting with Chelsea and Jenny from Thompson Rivers University (TRU) on how they have ensured workplace wellness is a priority, focused on mental health initiatives and their secrets to success.

“We are celebrating our 5th anniversary with this mental wellness program, says Chelsea. “After 14 years of workplace wellness programs, Therapy Thursday has been by far the most successful program”

From 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, September through April, in a very high traffic area on campus employees and students can stop by, take a break from their hectic schedule and hang out with some furry friends. This is a 100% volunteer lead therapy dog initiative that greets up to 200 individuals in a week! TRU is helping ease their communities’ day to day stress, which is made possible through their strong partnership with St. John Ambulance.

Partnership Tips from Chelsea and Jenny:
  • Have the conversation
  • Find like-minded people
  • Get out into the community
  • “It all starts with a coffee and extending the olive branch.”
  • Acknowledge that you may have limited resources and see who is willing to help. Then plan out how you are going to work together.

Interested in other ways TRU incorporates mental wellness into their workplace?

They host weekly creative mindfulness and mindful meditation sessions that are all volunteer led by a faculty member who has an interest or specialization in this area. TRU has a policy that provides employees with the opportunity to volunteer a service internally or within the community.

With over 2500 employees, TRU partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association to create Mental Health Awareness Modules 1 and 2. These 3-hour modules are geared towards managers and provide them with the tools to better handle difficult conversations, gain more knowledge about healthy minds and learn some signs and symptoms to be aware of.

Chelsea and Jenny wanted to share one last wellness initiative that can be easily implemented in any workplace:

The Brown Envelope Kindness Project

Like many workplaces, TRU has an internal-courier on campus. Chelsea noticed these brown envelopes are in constant circulation and so the Brown Envelope Kindness Project was created. Employees are encouraged to think of a colleague they would like to thank and send a kind note through the internal courier. This project has caused quite the ripple effect and TRU has noticed boosted morale and comradery among employees.

Thank you Chelsea and Jenny for sharing TRU’s Workplace Wellness programs and your secret to success: Partnerships!