At Prism, we understand that supporting health and wellness is an integral part of managing a company and enabling staff to thrive. Research shows that investing in health and wellness programs leads to better employee retention, productivity and even sense of purpose. While Prism offers comprehensive extended health benefits to employees, “We knew more could be done, and at the same time wanted to provide opportunities for our staff to be part of leading new initiatives in the office,” says Sarah Smith, Prism’s Sustainability Team Leader and Director of Employee Experience.
Sparking new ideas
In 2017, several Prism staff led a ‘spark group’ to help jumpstart and pilot a few ideas towards health and wellness. With folks from different teams in the company, the group started things off by coming up with a collective understanding of what health and wellness meant. Out came the flipcharts, and in the discussion, the group gravitated towards two areas, physical health and mental health, while acknowledging this was just one way of linking things together.
The initial mappings were posted in the main hallway for others to add their thoughts and ideas, with everything from gym memberships to lunch time forest walks added to the list. The group took the ideas away and weighed them based on interest, cost, and anticipated impact. Over the year, several ideas were piloted including a weekly fresh fruit delivery, an ergonomics workshop with one-on-one ergonomics assessments, a shared standing desk, and a series of lunch and learns on topics such as managing stress with competing priorities.
But it didn’t stop there. This year, the spark group was formalized into a Health & Wellness (H + W) Committee that has continued to steward initiatives at Prism, including organizing weekly lunch-time yoga classes throughout the year, in collaboration with other companies in the building.
Learning new techniques to reduce stress
Fresh fruit and yoga aside, the new H+W committee also wanted to acknowledge that with a bustling consulting business comes the need to juggle projects and deadlines, and sometimes this is no easy feat. With the start of the year often a busy time, the committee decided to host a month-long Stress Management Challenge, kicking it off with a lunch workshop and encouraging staff to sign up and commit to trying out a stress-management technique for the month.
Challenge participants shared that having peer accountability helped with establishing a new habit. A few staff volunteered to lead activities, including lunch-time walks and meditation. For our remote employees, committing to short weekly check-ins helped increase their sense of connectedness and focus through busy weeks. The discussions around the challenge also highlighted how social connections can help with mental wellbeing, and how there is an appetite for more activities like heading to the local mountains to snowboard after work as did a few folks one evening.
What are your tips and tricks for keeping healthy and well? We’d love to hear them.