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Five Bike Tips to Keep School Employee Wellness Rolling

by Matthew Mitschke Alberta Health Services | May 11 2017

For cyclists like me, spring marks the start of unadulterated bicycle bliss where every day provides another opportunity to get out and pump the pedals. Spring is an ideal time for a tune-up to keep your gears spinning and keep your brakes tight. Like any complicated machine, you will find that spring is also a good time to “tune up” your employee wellness initiatives at school. So get your bike—and your school employee wellness initiatives—rolling smoothly with these five tune-up tips.

Clean Out the Gunk

It can be easy to overlook the grime but cleanliness is the first step in a smooth ride. Little irritants that get ignored can cause a lot of damage over time. With school employee wellness, it’s not always easy to get to the grit.

Start by thinking about your team—who brings positivity and new ideas? Who has a fresh perspective? Ensure your team includes contributing, productive members and isn’t putting up any barriers. In addition, are there old practices that have come to an end and need to be “cleaned out?” Are there any shiny new ideas that you want to try? As with bikes, sometimes a good cleaning is the only step that's needed to get your school employee wellness initiative back on track.  

Pump it Up

Getting pumped up reduces resistance and improves efficiency. Like a bike tire, you might need to “pump up” your school employee wellness team. Pumped-up school employees will get rolling faster and will maintain momentum. Keep your team inflated by intentionally making time for team-building, celebration and fun.

Reduce Friction

Like bikes, school employee wellness initiatives will have their points of friction. In both cases, friction can lead to wear-and-tear or outright seizing. While causes of conflict in school employee wellness initiatives aren’t always easy to identify, the following tips might prevent you from getting stranded:

  • Ensure that everyone has a clear and meaningful role and that their roles align with personal strengths. Think about who has skills that are currently under-utilized but could add value to your initiative.
  • Make sure everyone has a shared vision for the initiative. These ideas might be just what your team needs to shake off the rust.

Get into Gear

Shifting gears is an important part of any ride because it allows you to adapt to hazards and obstacles. With school employee wellness, there will be times when you need to get into another gear. Someone leaving your committee or busy times of year like report card season might mean it’s time to “shift down” for a little while. There will also be times when you will need to “shift up,” like when a new staff wellness policy is passed or when more school employees buy-in. With school employee wellness, try tuning your processes and procedures to make shifting gears easier. What can you measure that will tell you when it's time for a change in pace? Who decides when it's time to shift gears? What reaction would you expect from staff when things change? Asking these questions could help your team adapt to changes like the pros.

Go for a Test Ride

After making any adjustments, it’s important to ensure that everything works under real conditions. Further adjustments are almost always required, so monitor the situation closely and understand when it’s time for your next school employee wellness tune-up to avoid any costly and stressful break-downs.

I hope these tune-up tips help you get those pedals pumping on your wellness initiatives and fine-tune anything that needs attention so that the remainder of your school year goes off without going flat. How do you and your team fine-tune your wellness initiatives? Comment below to inflate your fellow wellness champions with new ideas.

Matthew Mitschke

One of Alberta Health Services’ superstar health promotion coordinators, Matt works tirelessly with school jurisdictions in Edmonton to support them in their comprehensive school health journeys. A superhero with a fear of flying (what the?), Matt makes up for this in spades with his sense of adventure and the miracle that is his hair.