On January 29th, OneLocal was amongst thousands of Canadian companies that participated in Bell Let’s Talk Day. Each year, the Bell Let’s Talk Campaign encourages companies to help shed light on mental health, mental illness and the role it plays in the workplace.
At OneLocal, one of our core values is that we’re always improving.
To demonstrate our constant attention to improving our processes and workplace culture, we put together a roster of activities throughout the course of a week to provide tools, tips and tricks to promote wellness and increased mental health at our office. Each day, we kicked off a different activity that was focused on helping our team de-stress, enhance their focus and improve their mental and physical well-being.
Why Have a Wellness Week?
When businesses implement mental health strategies in the workplace, there is a higher likelihood that employees will demonstrate increased productivity, better decision-making, higher levels of motivation and improved employee engagement. It also cultivates a more comfortable workplace culture, where staff can feel more accepted, heard and where stronger employee relationships can flourish.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada states that improving mental health in the workplace can “boost employee satisfaction, engagement and productivity” as well as “reduce health costs, employee turnover and lost work time”.
Here’s a recap of what we did for our Wellness Week at OneLocal:
Day 1: Mindful Meditation
On the first day of our Wellness Week, we partnered up with Ebb & Flow Movement to kick the week off with a morning meditation session.
An estimated 28.4% of Canadians report surmounting high work-related stress in their daily lives. In an era where many of us experience feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with daily demands, employing practices that enhance mental and emotional health is a great way to reduce stress in the workplace. Research also suggests that there are a range of health benefits linked with meditation — particularly morning meditation. This is because the benefits of meditation are best-activated when your mind is sharpened before you are confronted with the stresses of the day.
Our team took a quick break to cleanse our minds before we started our work week — and we strongly recommend it! Many people think that meditation is a lengthy process, but this is a myth. Even taking just five to ten minutes to meditate is known to produce both long and short-term mental health benefits.
Day 2: Movement Break
On day 2 of our activities, Ebb & Flow Movement returned to the office to start the day with a quick movement break session. These exercises involved stretching and fun and easy workouts that required no activewear — just active participation and a willingness to let loose.
As 15 million Canadians spend half of their waking hours at work, the majority find little time to increase their level of daily physical activity. In today’s world, work weeks commonly consist of hours spent sitting at a desk or in meetings — oftentimes with very little room for movement. And according to the latest Health Canada Population Health Survey, those who report being inactive at work are also more likely to be inactive outside of the office as well. An overall lack of physical activity can thusly have a negative impact on businesses, with results ranging from reduced productivity, employee burnout, decreased employee satisfaction and increased stress and mental instability.
At OneLocal, we are striving to include more physical activities both in and outside of the office to increase our productivity, morale and team spirit!
Day 3: Lunch and Learn: Wellness, Health and Managing Stress
Ebb & Flow Movement joined us for one last day to lead a Lunch and Learn seminar centred around exercises that promote wellness, health and better stress management tactics. During our lunch period, we practiced a series of breathing and mindfulness exercises.
While mindfulness has been practiced for thousands of years, recent studies have shown that implementing proper mindfulness exercises into your daily routine reduces the presence of the stress hormone cortisol and reduces anxiety, stress and depression — both inside and outside of the workplace.
Day 4: Puppy De-Stress
On day 4, we decided to take an hour to wind down in the office with one of everyone’s favourite stress relievers — puppies!
Alongside some of our own furry friends that we invited, we partnered up with Redemption Paws (a Canadian-registered, non-profit charity that helps at-risk dogs find homes) to bring two of their adorable adoptables — Spruce and Cedar — over for a play session.
As a dog friendly office, we make a strong case for bringing our four-legged friends into the workplace. Studies show that petting a dog for even just a few minutes helps your body to release happy hormones such as serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin — all of which are known to reduce stress, increase our relaxation abilities and make us much happier during crunch times at work.
To learn more about how you can help Redemption Paws find homes for their lovely doggos, check out their site here.
Day 5: Salad Potluck
On the last day of our activities, we wrapped up our Wellness Week by encouraging everyone to bring a healthy salad ingredient as part of our Salad Potluck. This was a creative and collaborative way to encourage everyone in the office to eat a healthy, well-balanced lunch!
Healthy eating is key when it comes to reducing anxiety and stress, elevating mood, morale and energy and reducing any negative health risks such as poor physical performance, lower energy levels and increased risk of heart disease and forms of cancer. As such, it is imperative that workplaces encourage healthy eating habits for their employees.
The Salad Potluck was a success at OneLocal, which means we’ll definitely be scheduling another healthy lunch event as soon as possible!
Bonus: Stress Relief Box
We also made one more addition to the OneLocal office: the Stress Relief Box!
We added the Stress Relief Box to the office to encourage our team members to try taking 5 minutes to focus on a different activity to reset their mind, refocus and recharge before diving back into their work.
An Employee’s Take on Wellness Week
As someone who is familiar with mental health struggles, I think it’s fantastic that workplaces have started doing more to destigmatize mental health and make employees feel comfortable about talking about it in the workplace. In previous jobs and situations, I have experienced climates where I knew I would not be listened to if I were to have brought up my mental state, or where I did not feel comfortable discussing mental health for fear of being judged or misunderstood. Mental health struggles are often hard to detect on the exterior, which means that when people feel wrong or ashamed to talk about them, they are less likely to get the right support from their peers, colleagues and professionals.
Our Wellness Week was a great reminder that it’s okay to discuss mental health in the workplace and that it’s okay to be open about your experiences. I’m happy to be part of a company that cares about fostering an environment where mental wellness is taken seriously.
We’re #oneteam at OneLocal and we are here to support you. To learn more about what we’re doing to promote and raise awareness of mental health in the workplace, feel free to reach out to us!
To see more of what Ebb & Flow Movement (@ebbflowmovement) and Redemption Paws (@redemptionpaws) are up to, follow them on Instagram!