Making Employee Wellness a Priority: Thames Valley Children’s Centre

At Prana, we love building positive, long-lasting relationships with our clients. These are the types of relationships where you grow together, form connections, and build empowering stories.

An example of these great relationships is the one we’ve developed with Thames Valley Children’s Centre (TVCC).  In September 2014, Michelle Allen, Manager – Communication, Education & Technology and a member of the Thames Valley Children’s Centre (TVCC) Wellness Committee, called Prana to teach an introductory yoga class for their team. That single class has since expanded to two lunchtime yoga classes per week.

September 2019 will our five-year anniversary with this amazing group of dedicated professionals, which we are very grateful for!

We recently asked Meghan McTavish, a member of the TVCC Wellness Committee to share TVCC’s workplace wellness vision and explain how it’s helped their employees feel welcome and happy to come to work every day.

Prana: TVCC’s value statement includes “believing people know themselves and their situations best” and an emphasis on building supportive environments, how does TVCC incorporate these key values into the workplace?

TVCC: We incorporate our values into the workplace by providing a supportive environment not only for our clients but also for all our employees. To this end, we focus on offering programs and assistance encouraging and supporting employee physical and mental health. TVCC works closely with our staff to accommodate any limitations and restrictions so staff can excel and thrive in their position.  We try to ensure each team member is respected, valued as an individual and provided with what they need to be successful.

Prana: In addition to Prana’s yoga sessions, in what ways does TVCC invest in employee wellness and why?

TVCC: We have a wellness committee made up of staff volunteers that meet monthly and plan activities that promote wellness and health.  Our wellness activities include:

  • lunchtime salad days
  • wellness challenges (step challenges, motion challenges)
  • paint lunches
  • lunchtime guided walks
  • journals with journaling ideas that are put into the weekly internal newsletter
  • lunchtime yoga  
  • lunch and learns on wellness topics such as mindfulness, meditation and self-awareness
  • an onsite massage therapist
  • book club
  • offering a group puzzle in the break room

Additionally, every October at TVCC is Healthy Workplace Month when the wellness committee organizes an entire month of activities and information aimed at promoting living a healthy lifestyle.

We also focus on adding value through our group benefits program which includes employee discounts such as gym memberships, the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (financial wellness), our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and we offer ergonomic training and consultations.

Prana: What has the impact of your investment in employee wellness been for employees and your organization?

TVCC: Offering wellness in the workplaces allows employees that have busy work and home schedules to work towards wellness goals over their lunch hour and to do so in a fun, open environment with friends and co-workers.

At the TVCC London location, there are over 200 employees working in different areas. Wellness activities are offered to everyone and these activities have shown to connect employees over a common interest while boosting positive morale amongst staff. Offering these opportunities promotes a healthy lifestyle and also allows staff to try something new.

Prana: Are there any key learnings or takeaways TVCC has discovered while implementing its wellness initiatives?

TVCC: One important take away we have learned is the importance of offering activities that can include staff in our regional offices. At TVCC, we have offices around Southwestern Ontario and it is important to be mindful of how we can incorporate and promote health and wellness at each location.  Finding an employee at each regional office with an interest in taking a lead at facilitating these activities has been very beneficial for success. Making the information easily accessible to the regional staff either by putting it in our weekly internal newsletter or on our shared computer drive as well as allowing regional staff to video conference in on “lunch and learn” activities.   

Prana: What advice would you offer to organizations who may still be hesitating about implementing wellness initiatives into their workplace?

TVCC: Wellness is important for everyone.  It is important that we take care of ourselves both physically and mentally to be the best we can be.  When it is encouraged in the workplace it helps promote positive behaviour changes both at work and home.  With the right education, skills, motivation, and social support, people change behaviours.  Our hope is that the wellness programs we offer at TVCC will help staff adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle and have a fun time doing it!

About Chantelle Diachina

Chantelle is the founder of Prana Yoga & Wellness. When she is not teaching yoga class or facilitating workshops, Chantelle relishes the time with her husband and two school-age children. She also enjoys volunteering and collaborating with the various non-profits in her community. 3 things you may not know about Chantelle: 1. Most Memorable Moment: Being saved by a random motorcyclist from California while alone and lost in Thailand 2. Biggest Pet Peeve: Hearing her children fight 3. Most Embarrassing Moment: Showing up to a potluck party on the wrong night
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