Stories from healthy workplaces

Find inspiration by hearing about businesses that have experienced the benefits of their own workplace programs.

In 2015, the Vancouver-based branch of Teekay Shipping formed a wellness committee, geared towards supporting their 200 employees in leading healthier lives at work.

Using the Canadian Cancer Society’s workplace wellness materials, Teekay focused on 4 main health topics – healthy eating, physical activity, screening and early detection and mental health – which were identified through internal survey data. Teekay was able to generate large-scale interest in their wellness program through educational sessions and a series of challenges that got their employees up and practising healthy habits.

Examples of program activities include employees tracking their average heart rate, blood pressure, weight and BMI via a health monitor station in the Teekay kitchen that connected to an online portal. They also implemented a 10,000 steps-in-a-day challenge, which helped energize employees to boost their physical activity through the power of social support.

Recently, Teekay participated in the Global Corporate Challenge where hundreds of thousands of employees from companies across the globe competed in a series of health and wellness challenges. Using the physical activity material from the Canadian Cancer Society, Teekay took home the Global Corporate Challenge trophy for “Most Active Organization” in the transportation and logistics category!

For the past few years, Thompson Rivers University (TRU) has committed to creating an environment that supports good health for both employees and students.

As champions of workplace wellness, one of the hallmarks of TRU’s program is the range of information they cover when educating about health. They provide educational kiosks and workshops that create opportunities to engage their audience and include information in newsletters, emails, social media and Bladder Chatter – educational posters hung in bathrooms across campus.

TRU offers free on-campus fitness classes, mindfulness classes, weekly therapy dog visits and onsite chronic disease screening clinics, which include breast cancer risk assessments and blood pressure readings. Another highlight is the Wellness Centre’s Brown Envelope Kindness Project where employees anonymously send kind notes to each other using brown interdepartmental envelopes. This activity has had a profoundly positive impact on employee morale.

In addition to taking home the top prize at the 2015 Canadian Cancer Society Extra Mile Awards, TRU has begun to see higher levels of productivity, boosted morale and an improved organizational reputation.

Staff at the Canadian Cancer Society “walk the talk” and lead by example through adopting healthy behaviours in the workplace. After the implementation of a wellness program in 2010, CCS committed to enhance internal workplace policies to reflect the importance of creating supportive working environments. In addition to the comprehensive employee benefits plan, CCS implemented healthy meeting guidelines, space updates that promote physical activity and healthy eating, and financial incentives for physical activity through a wellness fund. These changes were successfully communicated by gathering employee input on suggestions for improvement, presenting the rationale for healthy workplaces, and disseminating information through internal channels. Surveys to gauge employee interest in various wellness topics were used at the start of the program and at the 4-year point. The four-year follow-up survey indicated that 91% of employees were aware of the healthy workplace policies and that about half of employees had made positive health-related changes as a result.

CCS has also shown an improved wellness culture that makes healthy choices easy. The healthy meeting policy, for example, encourages meeting organizers to offer healthy food options and build in movement breaks. Staff are encouraged to conduct walking meetings, stand throughout the day, and support and recognize each other through internal communication channels. The wellness committee provides ample opportunities for healthy living by holding staff challenges, posting healthy living information regularly, and hosting employee events such as salad parties and potlucks.

CCS is committed to providing a healthy working environment and encouraging employees to make healthy choices.

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