It’s Healthy Workplace Month across Canada and as one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers (2009–2017), the YMCA continues to focus on helping our employees maintain a healthy lifestyle.
At the YMCA, our staff are focused on delivering programs to support the health of individuals and families in the communities we serve. To do that effectively, we also need to focus on our own health and wellness. All staff members have access to the YMCA’s health and fitness centres, where they can work out and choose activities based on their schedule and interests, from getting on a treadmill to participating in a group fitness class.
While physical activity is an important component of health, it is only one aspect. That’s why the YMCA promotes mental and social health for its employees, and fosters environments of social inclusion and belonging. We provide awareness training to staff on mental health and wellness, which helps them understand this important component of their own health and to better support others. The core goals of this training, explains Melanie Laflamme, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Organizational Development, are to “increase awareness of the continuum of mental health and mental illness, support positive mental health in the workplace, and foster a safe, open and supportive environment for staff and community members.”
Benefits and time off at the YMCA are also connected to a holistic approach towards employee health and wellbeing. As an employer, we offer additional days on top of vacation time to help our full-time staff navigate their family and personal responsibilities. And through our Employee Assistance Program, employees can access information on topics including mental health, fitness, and healthy eating, and get referrals to professionals such as nutritionists to support their health.
Health is multi-dimensional, and there are many ways to be healthy at work. But it is important that health activities are meaningful for the individual. Heather, a YMCA volunteer, says she has personally experienced the health benefits of volunteering and says the experience has turned her life around. Volunteering is shown to have both physical and mental health benefits. Here at the YMCA, over 5,000 volunteers give their time, talents, and passions to give back to their communities.
Practicing a healthy lifestyle is a great way to get involved with others, have fun, and rise to your potential. The YMCA of Greater Toronto recognizes the significance of Healthy Workplace Month in bringing awareness to, and promoting health and wellness in our workplaces and communities.