How do you find UBC’s outlook on workplace health and wellness has evolved throughout the years?
Workplace wellbeing has been a long-standing priority at the University of British Columbia (UBC) with dedicated positions for workplace health promotion as early as 2003. Over the years, UBC’s efforts have evolved from being focused on health education to incorporating more systems- or settings-focused workplace health promotion efforts. This means that in addition to enhancing the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours of staff and faculty, we are also facilitating and supporting efforts to enhance the working environment and systems that exist within workplaces in order to better support health and wellbeing. In 2017, UBC Human Resources (HR) expanded its Health, Wellbeing and Benefits team to better support strategic workplace health promotion efforts, creating and successfully recruiting for two new positions: a Communications & Engagement Specialist and a Workplace Wellbeing Strategist. HR also jointly shares a Planning and Evaluation Advisor to further support this work.
HR has been an active and ongoing partner in a broader, institution-wide effort known as UBC Wellbeing (priority areas include nutrition, physical activity, mental health and resilience, and social connection). UBC Wellbeing recognizes the foundational importance of wellbeing to our success as individuals, as a university, and as a community. This cross-campus collaboration aspires to support our people to achieve their full potential in learning, teaching, research and working by making wellbeing a priority that guides our daily interactions, decisions, policy planning and program development. The work of UBC Wellbeing is guided by the Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges, which provides a shared call to action for partners, leaders and community members to make UBC a leading, wellbeing-promoting university.
The range and scope of health promotion programs and initiatives have also grown over time. Awareness and recognition of the importance of workplace wellbeing have increased among employees and leadership. As a result, interest and uptake continue to increase and momentum continues to build.