British actor and playwright Noel Coward once said, "I have a fantastic memory: even elephants consult me." Staff at One Government Place consult a lot in their positions and decided to take the Alzheimer Society's Commitment to Brain Health seriously.
Recent research in brain health warns people of all ages to use their brains in varied ways now, in order to keep them healthy for the future. Playing challenging games aimed at targeting your mental processes helps the brain stay fit.
In January 2008, the Public Service Commission's Healthy Workplace Committee, Healthy Workplace Staff, Office of the Premier, and Treasury and Policy Board jointly organized a “Bridge Party” in support of the Alzheimer Society's campaign Heads Up for Healthier Brains.
The Atrium Lobby of One Government Place was transformed into a Bridge Club with card tables, bridge supplies and displays. Over 20 employees stretched their minds and learned to play bridge or scrabble. Seasoned players Minister David Morse, Deputy Minister Bob Fowler and PSC Commissioner Rosalind Penfound joined in. Coaches from Bridge World and seniors from Melville Gardens Assisted Living Facility mentored staff, as they explored a game that so many have heard of but never played! A healthy lunch and comradeship fueled players' brains.
It was a fun way to relax while giving the brain a gentle workout. The inter-generational aspect of the event was unique. Seniors provided staff with valuable role models and companions. The event gave the seniors a welcome change of scenery and a chance to talk with public servants about their work. Everyone called it a win-win!
Can art at work promote relaxation, creative thinking and contribute to a healthy work environment? Staff at the Department of Health's Continuing Care Office in Amherst think so.
Front-line staff came together to create positive change in their workplace after requesting that their space be more personal. They provided the ideas and once approved, helped with the transformation.
Now, uniquely painted signposts along cubicle aisles guide staff and visitors. When employees enter the two staff washrooms, they are transported to an oceanfront or a treed country scene.
The newly decorated surroundings have created smiles too. A painting in the main office area containing each employee's handprint reads “Healthy Workplace: We All Have a Hand in It.” And this Cumberland County office is living proof!
Health Promotion and Protection staff may work at Summit Place, but it isn't the waterfront location that has them going with the flow. It's their popular Yoga At Work Program.
The HPP Healthy Workplace Activities Team circulated a survey in fall 2007, to gauge employees' interests in a variety of activities. When many suggested a Yoga At Work Program, the team arranged for space in the department to hold classes, contacted the Department of Health's Healthy Workplace chair for tips on organizing yoga classes, and found an instructor who charges $5 per person for each session.
The weekly yoga sessions have been well attended over the last nine months. Held over the lunch hour, they offer employees the flexibility to attend.
Programs such as Yoga At Work, help build healthy lifestyle practices for individual employees, supporting both mental and physical health. A calming de-stressing environment in the middle of the workday helps employees become more productive and positive. It also helps build a healthy workplace culture and supportive environment by promoting work-life balance and workload management.
Through creating a permanent space within the workplace for this program, HPP has physically changed their work-world. The space is also available at all times during the day for employees who need to meditate, stretch or work-out.
HPP prides itself on promoting health in the community and Yoga At Work reminds them to live it at work as well.