Healthy people in a healthy workplace – that’s the goal of Saskatoon Health Region’s Healthy Workplace team, and they’re asking for all employees to think about that in October, which is Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month.

Canadian workers can spend up to 60 per cent of their waking hours at work or commuting. So what happens in the workplace can significantly impact people’s overall health, noted Donna Chalifoux of Healthy Workplace team.

“Creating a healthy work environment is a shared responsibility between employee and employer,” stated Maura Davies, CEO of Saskatoon Health Region. “It takes everyone working together to create a workplace that’s positive and healthy. We all deserve to be in great, vibrant workplaces. One way we can make our workplaces better is by looking after our own health. We can also ensure that we live our values and respect the people we work with every day. Better health in our community and better health in our workplace can and needs to start with us.”

The Healthy Workplace team has been working on a large number of initiatives in October designed to encourage employees think about their own health and how to improve it, and therefore make the Region a better place to work.

For instance, free fitness sessions will be offered to interested staff at one point, and a Virtual Health Fair will be launched as well.

Saskatoon Health Region employees taking part in a Zumba class.

Employees of Saskatoon Health Region are encouraged to focus on and improve their health using programs and initiatives offered by the Region during Healthy Workplace Month in October, doing activities like taking a Zumba class offered by the Health Workplace team.

“We’ve always wanted to hold a health fair, but there are so many sites in the Region, it just hasn’t been possible,” said Chalifoux. “So we decided to hold a virtual fair that will be accessible to every employee.”

The fair will include about 30 tools, screenings, and resources to help individuals assess their health status and make improvements. Heart, mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health will be covered, and a number of smartphone applications focusing on health and lifestyle will be available through the fair as well.

Information sessions will also be held, focusing on everything from being healthy at any size, assessing your lifestyle, brain health, and mindfulness.

On October 9, keynote speaker Shelley Keyes, will lead us in some fresh thinking about how we can take responsibility and create better work environments for ourselves. Keyes will be speaking at the Rependa Auditorium at Saskatoon City Hospital, but the event will be available via Telehealth to other sites in the region.

“We really wanted to have options available for everyone in the region, so no matter where you work, you can participate in the activities in some way,” said Chalifoux.

The second annual Healthy Workplace Champion summit will also be held during October. The network of Healthy Workplace Champions was developed 18 months ago, and is made up of enthusiastic people who are champions of health and wellness in their workplaces. They talk to their colleagues about Healthy Workplace initiatives, encourage participation, and share results. Anyone interested in becoming a Healthy Workplace Champion is invited to register for the workshop. So far, there are about 100 people in the core Champion group; the goal is to have over 300.

All of the activities for Healthy Workplace Month are listed on the Healthy Workplace internal webpage. Staff can register for the events through the training system, or call the Healthy Workplace office.

If you do participate in the activities, there could be something in it for you besides improved heath. Through the Healthy Workplace Month Passport, staff will be challenged to attend or participate in as many events as possible, or do their own healthy activities, and record them in the passport.

“We’re encouraging people to participate as much as possible, record what they’re doing in their passport, and submit it,” said Chalifoux. Those who submit passports will have their names entered for a prize.

But Healthy Workplace month isn’t just about new things. It provides an opportunity for the Health Workplace team to promote the initiatives already happening, to get staff members to keep their health at the front of their minds, and to get people more involved in their own health and wellness.

Why is it so important for staff members to be healthy?

Wellness supports our ability to be resilient in the face of constant change. Improving our everyday lifestyle habits and practices is a great way to stay healthy, have more energy, handle stress, manage conflict, build collaboration and teamwork, and get better results.That culture of health means that we are better prepared to accomplish Saskatoon Health Region’s number one goal: to provide exceptional service to our clients and patients.

“We can only do that if we’re well and our workplace is well,” said Chalifoux.

And when we are able to perform our jobs well – providing exceptional care and service to patients and clients – the feeling of accomplishment we get feeds into our own sense of well-being.