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Ready, Set, GO

by Shandy Reed ASEBP | August 25 2016 | 1 Comment

Most school employees in Alberta are settling into their school workplaces, gearing up for another exciting school year. As workplace wellness champions, you have a unique opportunity to help your colleagues start the year on the right foot by creatively reminding them of the health and wellness resources they have at their fingertips. 

An Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is a great example of a health-promoting resource that is often poorly understood. In many workplaces, earlier versions of employee assistance programs were focused mostly on providing short-term supports and services to those experiencing a personal or family crisis. Today, most EFAP’s offer comprehensive and proactive health programs that extend well beyond crisis support. For example, Homewood Health, ASEBP’s EFAP provider¹, offers personal support services including counselling accessible by phone, online or in person, as well as expert advice and lifestyle coaching to support staying healthy. In addition, Homewood Health offers ASEBP covered members and their dependants access to a myriad of holistic wellness resources, online interactive assessment tools and even e-courses designed to be completed at your own pace or schedule.

So now that you’ve been reminded about the value EFAP can offer your colleagues and how it can support workplace wellness, it’s time to spread the word!

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t playing, or who doesn’t know about, Pokemon GO. Why not use the popular online social game as a source of inspiration for planning your workplace wellness initiatives this fall? Here are a few ideas I’ve been mulling over for my team:

  • Create a scavenger hunt-style game to encourage your colleagues to explore your employee and family assistance program offerings. Offer staff clues to direct traffic to different places on the website or promotional program materials.
  • Pose questions and provide a template to capture answers and then motivate employees to submit their completed answer form by offering the opportunity to win a health-supporting prize.
  • Want to extend the learning (read = fun)? Once the competition is done, invite the winning team or individual to share the top three things they were surprised to learn about their EFAP offerings during an upcoming staff meeting.

Like a fondue, creative ideas are best when shared with others, so if you decide to try this or other ways to get colleagues thinking about the range of awesome supports their EFAP offers, be sure to report back about your experience and the tools you used with the rest of us in The Sandbox!

¹This program is voluntary and offered at the discretion of each school jurisdiction; be sure to check with your employer to find out who your EFAP provider is for your workplace.

Shandy Reed

With a background in social work and a masters in health promotion, “Shamu” (yes, like the whale) is a tireless advocate in the public health arena and ASEBP’s very own director of Health Strategies and Stakeholder Relations. We know that her questionable claims of being “related” to actress Claire Danes is a way of coping with her crippling fear of sharks. But it’s okay—we’re all in this together, Shamu.

Jennifer C. ASEBP | August 25 2016 9:39 AM

Great tips to raise awareness of the EFAP services, Shandy.  With the new school year starting up, teachers and other education workers will want to stay energized and emotionally healthy during the hectic month of September.  Researchihg tips to help support individuals are at their fingertips in an confidential setting with Homewood Health.  Wellness Champions can play a significant role in reminding co-workers of the resource!