McGill recognizes the importance of having healthy and happy employees. On that note, Human Resources did some research and developed a health and wellbeing program, modeled in part on other universities’ health and wellbeing programs.
Last October, taking its cue from Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month, the University organized a series of events aimed at raising awareness of the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. But beyond the fun – and in some cases physically demanding activities held on campus, the University believes there is a need to strike a sense of work-life balance in employees’ lives. This means offering programs and benefits to help alleviate the stress on the job and in the home. “We want to encourage employees to develop a personal action plan for improving their health and wellbeing – physical, mental and social,” says Kathleen Tobin, Manager, Benefits, in Human Resources. “Launched in January 2010, the program will grow, but already it is generating positive feedback, which is very exciting,” she added.
Most studies show that people’s experiences at work affect their self-esteem and even their relationships with family and friends. When there is a sense of balance on a personal level, people have a more positive mindset at work and they tend to be more engaged.
McGill is a learning environment; it provides access to a vast pool of experts in all imaginable fields related to mind and body. “We don’t have the financial resources that major corporations can offer their employees in health and wellbeing programs, but we are lucky to have countless experts who want to actively contribute to improving our community’s wellbeing by speaking out on these topics. This is the richness of our program,” explains Sharron Smith, Benefits Officer, who is the driving force in organizing all of the events and pull together resource information to help make this program a success.
Employees have responded enthusiastically to McGill’s program. Speakers at recent events have included high-profile medical experts such as Dr. Serge Gauthier, Director of Alzheimer’s Disease Research Unit of the McGill Centre for Studies in Aging. Last fall, he was eager to address faculty and staff on ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease through lifestyle changes. Many more experts have spoken on a wide range of related topics.
One final thought: March is nutrition month in Canada. Now is a good a time to adopt healthier eating habits and start exercising. Although a cliché, “a healthy mind in a healthy body” goes a long way toward being more physically and mentally alert.
For additional information on McGill’s health and wellbeing program, please visit: http://www.mcgill.ca/hr/employee/health-wellbeing