Workplace Wellbeing Services provides assistance, information and support to our faculty and staff community when health-related issues impact our ability to succeed at work. This includes providing information to employees and to leaders supporting those employees who are navigating the processes of sick leave, long-term disability and accommodation.
Manager Myra Lefkowitz shared how the team relies on principles of collaboration and flexibility to arrive at practical and effective solutions. In this way, their work exemplifies the university’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.
The team approaches accommodation from a human rights perspective, balancing both the rights and responsibilities of employees and the university.
Rather than focusing on what individuals can’t do, the team seeks creative solutions so that employees are able to meet their work responsibilities. The purpose is to assess what needs to change beyond the individual so employees can continue to be successful. Examples of this may include modifying a schedule or providing assistive technology.
With this in mind, Mary Kelly, accommodation and return-to-work consultant, stressed the importance of establishing relationships of trust to offer appropriate resources that help individuals regain a sense of wellbeing.
Providing a bridge between departments and employees, Workplace Wellbeing Services keeps in touch with employees both in the workplace and when they’re away on sick leave.
When the employee is ready to return, the team works with managers, health care providers, unions, HR and the employee to develop sustainable return-to-work plans.
As the team has become more well-known, employees and managers often reach out to learn what resources are available to support either themselves, a colleague or an employee who may be struggling.
By taking a systemic approach to wellbeing, Workplace Wellbeing Services not only assists employees by providing accommodation and/or return-to-work strategies, but provides leadership in the development of resources, policies and structures that recognize the link between employee health and healthy workplaces. “A work environment that supports wellbeing keeps employees motivated and engaged,” Sevgi Pala, workplace wellbeing advisor explained.
Natalie Roach, the university’s mental health coordinator, organizes mental wellbeing efforts across campus for both employees and students. She's mindful of the need for both large scale initiatives and individual supports to help people feel authentically engaged at work, “When we feel well, we live and work well.”
Natalie creates resources to help employees support their own wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of others. Recent initiatives include a series of noontime lunch and learns for employees, as well as faculty-focused workshops on supporting student wellbeing in the classroom.
Workplace Wellbeing Services is pleased to launch a new Wellbeing at Work webpage on the Human Resources website. The new page details a number of resources designed to help employees in both their personal and professional lives. Learn how to access confidential support, find new ideas for taking a break around campus or register for a wellbeing workshop.