Business Career Centre’s Focus on Bringing People Together

Submitted by Nicole Yeasting, Co-op Coordinator at the Business Career Centre in UBC’s Sauder School of Business

How do you engage your unit and team?

There are two main channels used to engage colleagues at the Business Career Centre – the Healthy Workplace Initiative and the Social Committee. Both complement one another nicely and share the overall objective of bringing people together.

The Healthy Workplace Initiative has had the most impact. Two years ago, we received funding from the Human Resources Healthy Workplace Initiatives Program Fund. Our objective was to demonstrate the importance of stress management within the workplace, not only as individuals at work, but also as examples for their families at home. Our team consists of 32 people including two full-time co-op students. The funding also allowed us to build deeper relationships with staff and departments across the school. Our total reach for the initiative was 72 people.

How do you bring your unit/team together?

Our initiative kicked-off in May 2014. The following plan was rolled-out and many of the activities continue today.

  • Activity Tracker: Each team member was placed on an activity tracker and we earned points for various activities throughout the week. We soon realized that that unit was very competitive and putting up tallies and stickers really motivated people to be active.
  • Lunch n’ learns: An upper-year nutritionist student from the Faculty of Food, Nutrition and Health led an hour long lunch n’ learn session about maximizing nutritional intake, understanding ingredients, and recognizing cravings and dependencies;
  • SPUD Office Boxes: We receive weekly office delivery of fresh produce and healthy snacks to generate fuel for the staff. The idea is to have healthy snacks on-hand and use the produce for smoothies or grab-and-go snacks;
  • A wellness library: We created a health and wellness library to generate conversation amongst colleagues and to encourage people to take breaks. Staff have the opportunity to donate books, establish a book-trade, and even borrow specific books from the library;
  • Magazine subscriptions: We subscribe to various magazines to enhance our Wellness Library and encourage conversation during breaks or lunches. Magazines include: Chatelaine, Canadian Living, Bon Appetit and Men’s Health;
  • Blender: We purchased a blender to encourage the use of SPUD produce to create smoothies. We also share and/or have samples of smoothies at coffee chats as a way to promote various recipes and healthy eating;
  • Potluck: Our team has a monthly salad potluck to encourage staff to take lunch breaks. It’s deemed as the easiest potluck as individuals can pull anything out of their fridge or cupboard to contribute. This has recently expanded into ‘Wrap Wednesday’ where we have burritos instead of salads.
  • “My One Thing”: On pieces of paper titled “My One Thing,” each staff member writes down their “One Thing:” a SMART goal they aim to achieve. An example would be: “I will drink five glasses of water a day for six days of the week.” We post our “My One Thing” goals around our office to encourage and motivate ourselves and each other to achieve our goals. In the end, almost everyone completes their goals and some people have even changed their habits altogether to reflect their new, healthy lifestyle.
  • “My One Thing” Wrap-up Party: Once a year we order lunch to celebrate all our hard work over the year and acknowledge those who achieve their “My One Thing”;
  • Yoga: We introduced various styles of office friendly yoga, such as: Laughter Yoga, Boardroom Yoga and Yoga at Your Desk. Yoga is an effective stress relief, and the introduction to different exercises can be incorporated both at work and at home; and
  • Onsite Chair Massages: This was a fan favourite. We brought in a professional chair masseuse for 20 minute massages.
  • Fitness Breaks: We hold daily 10 minute fitness breaks during the summer months and twice a week during the fall and winter months. Stop by any time at 2pm to join us!

Overall Goal: For employees to have a greater understanding of recognizing stress triggers and how to effectively use the knowledge gained throughout the campaign to manage stress.

Also sitting on the Social Committee, we have added a number of different activities including:

  • Volunteering with the Daffodil Campaign to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society;
  • Adding a paper cherry blossom appreciation tree to decorate the office, but also show appreciation for staff anonymously;
  • Ice cream social;
  • Family beach BBQ;
  • Vancouver Canadian’s Baseball outing; and
  • Volunteering at the Vancouver Food Bank in December

What does this mean to your unit/team?

Our two initiatives have instilled a positive energy in our office. We have developed and strengthened relationships within the Business Career Centre as well as with colleagues in other departments at UBC Sauder.

There has been a tremendous increase in team building, working in a collaborative environment and having more overall interactions amongst one another.

We are also more mindful about managing our stress and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We’ve encouraged people to take walking meetings, incorporate fruits and vegetables into their catering for events, people are taking longer routes to walk into the office, and people’s lifestyles have changed where they are incorporating exercise and eating meals that are more balanced.

Both the healthy workplace initiative and social committee activities have had a major positive impact on the culture of the Business Career Centre whereby everyone is healthier and happier. With our strong leadership team who all have a vested interest in maintaining a healthy workplace, the Business Career Centre is now generating a reputation where others would like to work with us as well and be a part of the fun, innovative and mindful culture that we have instilled!

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