Bulletin interview with Teresa Scannell, Career and Work-Life Consultant

Healthy Workplace Month at U of T: Energize your work-life.

By Anjum Nayyar

Trying to balance your work and home life and seeking new ideas? Healthy Workplace Month is the time to take stock of your work-life and make it healthier!

As a Top 100 Employer, the University of Toronto believes in supporting staff in maintaining a positive and healthy balance between personal, work and family life.  This month, U of T’s three campuses are once again taking part in Healthy Workplace month, with a greater emphasis this year on mental health and well-being.

“Employees are interested in improving and maintaining their mental health,  they feel it’s important to protect and maintain their mental health in these times of stress and heavy workloads,” said Teresa Scannell, Organizational Development and Learning Centre consultant.   “On Oct. 14, Dr. Katy Kamkar, a psychologist from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health will provide a special session focusing on your mental health, your family’s mental health, and your colleagues’ mental health. Additionally, on Oct. 25, we will be launching a 3-part series of webinars entitled “Minding Your Mental Health and Well-Being” which will include topics such as mindfulness and optimism.”

In addition to mental health, other programs sponsored by the Organizational Development and Learning Centre focus on work-life balance, with events designed to entice staff away from their offices and feed their bodies, minds and souls. Throughout October, staff and faculty are encouraged to participate in activities including walking tours, eldercare and parenting workshops, fitness and dance classes, as well as a closing keynote on being your authentic self at work. Scannell says the program’s events are specifically designed to energize staff and faculty and to reinforce the university's commitment to creating a healthy workplace for all employees.

One of the highlights is the keynote address October 4. Patricia Katz of Optimus Consulting will talk about Rightloading™, which is a systematic way of reducing the impact of “overload and overwhelm.”  This session will help individuals manage their workload pressures more effectively.   Katz will also facilitate a more in depth practical workshop based on the principles outlined in her keynote address .

“We schedule these events to provide extra work-life support for our faculty and staff,” said Scannell.  “We have an amazing group of employees who are functioning very highly and effectively.   People at U of T work hard and are often so focused on their jobs that they hesitate to take the time to attend sessions on health and wellbeing . October is a time for us to encourage employees to pay special attention to all the services and programs we offer.