A month-long series of virtual workshops and activities offered by Employee Experience & Development supports the health and well-being of Conestoga employees.
Conestoga employees have access to health and wellness supports and programming throughout the year.
“We understand the last two years have been difficult and the college has ensured continued access to employee services and opportunities for support,” said Norma McDonald-Ewing, director, Employee Experience & Development. “Whether it’s around professional development, their experience at the college or their personal health and wellness, we recognize we need to help employees do and be their best.”
Before the start of the pandemic, employee wellness sessions were delivered throughout the year, but the month-long employee wellness series was launched in March 2021 to complement those existing offerings. The series included a broad range of daily workshops delivered at various times to accommodate all employee schedules, as well as two morning meditation sessions per week. Another month-long employee wellness series was held throughout March 2022 that included 28 sessions. Employees were also invited to participate in the various virtual fitness classes delivered weekly through the college’s Athletics & Recreation team.
“What we heard from employees last year was that they were struggling when it came to caring for children or elderly parents while working from home,” said Melanie Sullivan, coordinator, Professional Development & Training. “Isolation was another issue. People were craving interaction with others. In addition to offering the workshops and experiencing the benefits of them, just getting together with others and having that connection through a group discussion and seeing someone you haven’t seen in a long time was meaningful.”
Sullivan added that the two month-long wellness series offered a diverse selection of workshops ranging from individual and family support to physical and emotional well-being and re-establishing workplace relationships. Many workshops were led by members of the college’s talented employee team which meant employees could easily connect with these leaders outside the scheduled sessions. This has enabled ongoing peer-to-peer support and connections that may not have existed otherwise.
Additional wellness workshops will be held during the college’s annual Employees for Excellence in Education (E3) conference later this spring. The week-long series of workshops is also delivered by members of the Conestoga community who volunteer to share their expertise and knowledge in various areas.
“A workshop that focuses on supporting students with mental health concerns is available throughout the year, but we really focus on it throughout the fall,” said Sullivan.
The college’s Teaching & Learning team also facilitates ongoing faculty sessions where wellness in teaching is explored. Additionally, Sullivan added that workshops specific to the college’s support staff are held later in the fall and include wellness components.
“We bring our whole selves to our workplaces and we have other responsibilities at home -- we’ve worked hard to ensure employee supports are in place,” said McDonald-Ewing. “Helping others help themselves is really a foundational principle.”
Sullivan said feedback related to the March wellness month series has been positive, with employees being appreciative of the range of sessions and the flexibility to attend at various times.
“Any wellness session that is offered by the college is in service of the employee. We care about our employees and their well-being,” said Sullivan. “If an employee has any questions about wellness sessions or has a suggestion for an offering, they should Contact Employee Experience & Development at EEXD@conestogac.on.ca.”
Conestoga students also have access to wellness supports and services. Counselling services, a medical care clinic, and self-help and peer support programs are delivered through Student Success Services.