A Program That Helps You Feel Better, Be More Engaged and Have More Fun at Work
Michael Greenwood and Brad Gerard
When was the last time you were energized and fully engaged at work? For far too many people, that is a hard question to answer.
Increasing workload and time pressures are adding stress to our working lives and driving us to look for more efficient ways to get the work done. This has translated into a push for more digital solutions . As we spend more time on screens, we spend less time in direct contact socially interacting with each other. For many, work is becoming more isolating, uncertain and less engaging. According to research completed by the Conference Board of Canada less than 30% of employees felt fully engaged with their work..
Engagement and Productivity is Best Achieved Through a Supportive Environment that Helps Employees Deal with Stress and Keeps Them Healthy
We operate best, with the most creative energy when we connect with those around us in a supportive community (us against the world) where we have some element of control. It helps us deal with the stress we all experience in and outside of work. However, the support mechanisms that help us build the resiliency necessary to manage the stress in our lives are being eroded in the drive for digital efficiency. We are forgetting the . This is contributing to widespread rise in the stress people at all levels of an organization are experiencing with all its negative consequences.
High levels of ongoing stress not only impact people’s health (the US Centre for Disease Control estimates 80% of all illness is stress related), it also hurts our minds capacity to work productively with others. It reduces our ability to concentrate, complete quantitative analysis, learn new material, communicate effectively and work collaboratively with others. The result is a less adaptable work place in an increasingly dynamic economy.
Improve Outcomes by Shifting the Focus to Prevention
According to Statistics Canada, over 25% of the Canadian workforce complain about being severely stressed with most of this stress related to work. Employee health and productivity are being hurt. The incidence of reported anxiety, depression and physical health conditions (heart disease, diabetes etc.) continue to grow.
How do we improve the situation? Most companies recognize the importance of maintaining an engaged, healthy workforce. Employee health benefit plans are widespread. However there has not been a lot of underlying thought on how to best spend the money allocated to keep employees healthy and productive. Most employee benefit plan expenditures are focused on treating people when they become sick rather than keeping them healthy and productive.
The Most Effective Programs Draw People Together to Support Each Other:
We are starting to see the introduction of wellness programs, but most of these initiatives focus on providing low cost digital information-based solutions. This is a sound first step, but more needs to be done to have any real impact.
The workplace is a community. The better it works as a community, the more productive, healthy and engaged the workforce will become. This can be achieved by creating more opportunity for social connection, teamwork and common experience, ideally in a way that introduces an element of fun. To accomplish this goal, you need wellness initiatives that bring people together at work with a common goal, rather than simply providing individual support and information. People respond to what others are doing around them.
Consider A Wellness Program that Works:
Most wellness initiatives don’t leverage the power of community and social accountability to achieve desired change. UPnGO with ParticipACTION leverages the power of engaging communities to collectively support healthy change together over time using effective behaviour change methods (www.upngo.ca).
After extensively testing workplace wellness concepts in 22 sites across Canada, ParticipACTION worked with it’s network of doctors, physical activity experts, and participating workplaces to develop a more effective solution to the challenge of engaging employees to make positive changes in the way they live and work. The resulting program, named UPnGO, was designed to bring people together to support each other in making positive change to their lives. It focuses on building healthy keystone habits (like movement throughout the day) that impact broad areas of an employee’s health to reduce health risks, manage stress, improve sleep, increase energy levels, and enhance their ability to think and function productively at work.
Through effective leadership support and support of internal champions,UPnGOcreates an environment that introduces an element of fun where healthy habits are not only accepted but expected. Workplace culture and engagement are positively reinforced through key support mechanisms that are often missing in today’s modern workplace.
UPnGO acts as a catalyst that allows empowerment and inclusivity to grow within a workplace. The program helps employees achieve both personal and team health goals by sharing how to make healthy habits stick using practical tools and methods. This is accomplished through a platform that:
- Combines both digital tools with onsite support
- Serves as a community wellness hub
- Supports behavior change with a program developed by physical activity and health experts
- Offers a support process critical to maintaining employee participation and engagement over the long term.
ParticipACTION through its UPnGO program offers an affordable wellness solution that is worth exploring because it does much more than simply help keep employees healthy. It can help improve productivity, workplace culture, and employee engagement by strengthening the connection between movement during the workday and our brain’s cognitive function. This program creates a space for employees to tackle healthy habits together, and creates a culture where employers support the wellness of their employees everyday through fun, engaging, healthy habit- forming challenges, tools and education.
Michael Greenwood, CPA, CFP, TEP is a Partner at Pelorus Benefits. An accountant and a triathlete with a deep interest in human performance within the workplace. He brings an open mind and a practical results-oriented approach to improving workplace health and productivity.
Brad Gerard is the Program Director of UPnGO with ParticipACTION an innovative program that helps deskbound workplaces seamlessly integrate fun, rewarding, and healthy behaviour programming into the workday to help employees be at their best.