It’s no secret that physical activity is an important pillar of health. Many of us spend up to a third of our day at work, so it’s important to keep moving throughout the day to promote good health and wellbeing.
Cobaw Community Health Services, located in central Victoria, is committed to creating a more active workforce to enhance health outcomes for its employees. The centre implemented a Health and Wellbeing strategy aimed at instilling healthy habits and has now attained recognition for the Achievement Program’s Physical Activity Health Priority Area. This recent Victorian Government recognition joins the list of other achievements for the health areas of Healthy Eating and Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Cobaw Community Health Services' and Wellbeing strategy included new policies and a Health and Wellbeing Committee which was the driving force in implementing healthy changes and positively engaging employees. This resulted in the workplace having a more friendly and supportive atmosphere where staff felt encouraged and enthusiastic about being more active. It was also reflected in the annual Staff Engagement Survey results with an increase in positive responses to the category of Work & Life Blend.
Initiatives over the last three years have included:
- Promoting active transport and providing shower and bike storage facilities for staff.
- Implementing staff walking groups and providing maps of local walking trails.
- Encouraging walking meetings.
- Providing bikes on-site for staff to use throughout the day.
- Introducing team building challenges with a focus on physical activity.
- Developing wellness partnerships with local fitness groups and recreational facilities such as gym memberships.
- Creating a workplace health calendar to raise awareness of health initiatives that staff can get involved in.
- Regular health communications across social media, staff newsletters and posters including upcoming events and general health and wellbeing information.
- Installation of sit-stand desks for all staff.
- Creating a community-focused culture by encouraging participation in public initiatives such as Active April and community dance movements.
A recent highlight for staff was their participation in a series of community dance workshops and a performance at the launch event for the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence. These workshops were a great opportunity for staff to keep physically active whilst supporting a movement to challenge violence against women. Following these weekly dance classes, staff have expressed interest in commencing on-site weekly dance sessions, citing improved physical and mental wellbeing as a result of participating in dance.
Cobaw Community Health Services staff member, Rhani Dean-Talbett, said, “It’s great to know staff are supported and encouraged to engage in physical activity with opportunities like walking groups and the recent community dance movement. Organisational support makes a huge difference to staff engagement and brings people together socially.”
Cobaw Community Health Services remains committed to improving the health and wellbeing of its workforce and will continue to progress in the program by completing the remaining two health areas – a wonderful effort!