It is wellness month here at Sultan Lawyers. We have dedicated the month of August to ourselves, not just as a firm, but also to our employees.
Discussions about mental health and overall wellness have been taking place in workplaces in ways we have never seen before. As a result, we have launched several wellness initiatives to root ourselves in cultivating a healthy workforce. We know that having a healthy and engaged team means we must prioritize wellness in the workplace.
We recognize that mental health and wellness protection is an undertaking that needs to be addressed from all levels, and not simply through day-to-day activities and support. We hope to do with the moments of wellness we inject into each day to create pillars to support employees who are navigating larger challenges.
While we have taken up particular challenges and goals in August, we take all the opportunities we can to infuse wellness into our everyday workplace culture.
Our newest wellness focus is through our “August Wellness Challenge” currently going on in the firm. To kick off this challenge the entire firm attended a private pilates class, which is now followed by the challenge as described below.
This challenge is designed to inspire healthy lifestyle choices. It is made up of small but fun daily tasks. These tasks are focused on building momentum through small steps. The incentive to commit to a new routine becomes stronger when others are involved, particularly when a team or several co-workers encourage each other with friendly reminders (and even competition).
The challenge started on August 1, 2022, and will go on for four weeks. Four challenges are set out for each day, aiming for the employees to do as many as possible. It is always celebrated when team members complete even one of the challenges for the day.
Each day we check off which challenges we have each completed, with our challenge sheets submitted at the end of each week. For a little bit of team-wide motivation, a weekly winner is chosen and announced 9:00 AM Monday morning for the week before.
Our physical activity tasks include:
· Daily 30: 30 minutes of exercise in a way of your choosing
· Fresh exercise: A new form of exercise than what you normally do
· Plank it: A one-minute plank
· Walk it out: 10,000 steps for the day
· Yoga class: Take part in a yoga class (the firm Friday yoga counts!)
Our healthy eating tasks include:
· Fruited up: Eat three servings of fruit
· Go for H20: Drink 8 cups of water for the day
· No take-out: No eating out or take-out for the day
· Vegan Wednesday: Make vegan meal choices for the whole day
Our emotional health tasks include:
· Breathe in Breathe out: Take 3 minutes to practices a deep breathing technique
· Kindness counts: Do an act of kindness that day, specifically one that isn’t expected of you
· LOL: Find humor in your day and share it with someone else
· Sweet dreams: Get 8 hours of sleep that night
· Gratitude diary: Write something down you’re grateful for
Our personal health tasks include:
· Early 30: Wake up 30 minutes earlier and do something productive
· Step it up: Instead of the escalator or elevator, take the stairs that day
· Go for the goal: Set a goal, write it down, post it where it is visible, and aim to achieve
· Stop the buzz: No alcoholic beverage that day
· Unplug and unwind: Stop electronic device use one hour prior to bedtime
For example, Friday’s challenge calls for a yoga class, no take out, a gratitude diary entry and 10,000 steps. Team members are encouraged to focus on at least one challenge from the day.
This challenge is intended to be a fun way to inspire the team to make healthy choices in daily life through eating, physical, emotional and personal health avenues. We hope that the challenge adds to the firm’s already developing workplace wellness culture.
Dogs In the Office
Most of our team members have canine friends at home. The option of having the dogs in the workplace can alleviate stress for our team, as they are able to keep an eye on their dogs, or even allow the dogs to socialize with each other during the workday.
This is a small inclusionary step that allows our employees to have their loved pet nearby during the workday, and remove caregiving difficulties for them that may make their workday that much more difficult.
Work wellness can look so different for each person. We strive to create an environment that is welcoming, and customized to each team member and their preferences. These small touches allow our team members to feel included and considered in the overall firm space.
In our communal space we have couches, essential oil diffusers and a large kitchen for everyone to cook. Along with this, team members create comfort through plants, flowers, candy jars and personal photos. While these may seem mundane, we believe it is important to harness every opportunity for the team to uphold their individuality while at work.
This individuality is extended to tools that allow members to work in a way most comfortable to them. Some team members have standing desks, multiple monitors or large whiteboards to map out their thoughts. Others choose to work exclusively from a laptop. By providing customized solutions for each person, we hope to cultivate a space of support where employees are truly considered.
As the workweeks can be stressful, every Friday morning members of the firm get together to practice a thirty-minute virtual yoga flow with a video chosen by a rotation of team members. Whether someone is in the office or working from home, we prioritize setting aside time for a calm start to the day.
An important note is that we never require employees to participate in these sorts of activities, but rather make it clear the option is available. A consideration for wellness is always ensuring that the employee is able to operate in a way most comfortable to them in the workplace.
Lunch and Learns
While lunch and learns could certainly be understood as “work”, rather than “wellness”, the structure of our lunch and learns allows team members to be creative. We often have presentations from employees that are about topics team members are passionate about, such as pronoun use in the workplace. Expressing our viewpoints and passions in a dedicated way allows team members to feel included, valued, and heard.
Flexible Working Arrangements
Part of each of the wellness initiatives described above is that they are implemented with the idea that they can benefit team members no matter where they choose to work.
We support team members in a hybrid working model. What we find especially important is allowing the employee to have flexibility within the hybrid model and determine what working model best serves them and their work product. We have team members who choose to work from their home offices often, with others in the firm office almost daily. This flexible working model in conjunction with our wellness practices and periodic in-person team meetings allow us to maintain profound connection as a firm, while always prioritizing our employee’s wellness.
Workplace Wellness Policies
While we believe that workplace wellness should be integrated into the root systems of every workplace, it can often be beneficial for employers to implement a policy that outlines how they are choosing to support employees and their wellness. This policy can boost morale for employees, and allow the employer to cultivate a clear vision for their workplace culture.
Some steps employers may consider when considering developing this policy are:
1. Review the Company’s current wellness culture
2. Review the Company’s current relevant procedures or protocols
3. Examine the workplace in order to understand how the Policy can be implemented
4. Take time to practically assess all wellness related considerations, such as the time commitments available to employees, feasibility of remote work, and the alike.
Sultan Lawyers provides comprehensive workplace policy support to employers. This includes a full review of specific matters in the workplace and a review of all related policies and procedures. For further information and assistance, please contact the Toronto employment lawyers, Sultan Lawyers at 416-214-5111 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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