Healthy Workplace Policy

1.0 PURPOSE

The University of Guelph is committed to supporting the well-being of the whole person, providing caring campus environments that are vibrant and inclusive, open and respectful, where University members and visitors alike know they are valued, and serving others, supporting people locally and globally.  In accordance with this philosophy, the University of Guelph strives to enhance the physical and psychological health, safety and the quality of life of all faculty and staff. 

The University of Guelph believes that healthy employees help to create a healthy organization.  Greater health, safety and wellness leads to improved satisfaction and morale, which contribute to a more effective organization.  The University of Guelph knows it is crucial to recruit and retain innovative top talent, remain an employer of choice, and serve as a responsible workplace.  This means that for all employees, the University of Guelph strives to support the well-being of the whole person through a comprehensive effort that includes the following key elements of a healthy workplace: physical environment; healthy lifestyles; mental health and workplace culture; and organizational social responsibility.  The University of Guelph encourages all employees to participate in Healthy Workplace programming and initiatives and welcomes staff and faculty feedback to guide the Healthy Workplace Plan and programming.

2.0 SCOPE

This policy applies to all faculty and staff at the University of Guelph, including Guelph-Humber, Ridgetown, research stations, and approved University field sites.

3.0 DEFINITIONS

The following definitions used in this policy are from Excellence Canada’s Healthy Workplace sample policy.

Physical Environment - Physical environment refers to all health and safety factors of a workplace, such as noise levels, toxic substances, infection control practices, emergency preparedness, air quality, light levels, equipment, and design of work. This element influences workplace injuries and needs constant attention as organizations introduce new technologies, increase efficiency and effectiveness of work, while trying to remain sustainable (e.g., contain costs).

Healthy Lifestyle - Healthy lifestyle refers to the personal resources and lifestyle practices that affect physical and psychological health such as physical activity, eating habits, sleeping habits, smoking, alcohol, drug, and substance use. It also includes the means by which individuals cope with stress, the sense of control they have over their work and health, and the perception that there is support in times of distress or unhappiness. This element includes how well an organization helps employees to:

  • develop and maintain healthy lifestyle practices; 
  • drop unhealthy and risky habits; 
  • make optimal use of the health care and community services

Mental Health and Workplace Culture - A supportive workplace culture is the bedrock of a healthy workplace. It supports and enables the other three elements. Culture is created, reinforced, and sustained by ongoing patterns of relationships and communications that are known to have an important influence on psychological and physical health and safety. An organization’s values are reflected in its culture – such values include but are not limited to trust, fairness, respect, diversity, and teamwork. This element refers to psychosocial factors of a workplace that affect employee psychological health and safety such as reasonableness of deadlines, organization and design of work, opportunities to influence how tasks are done, relationship with supervisors and co-workers, quality of communications, adequacy of training and development, and the interplay of home and work responsibilities.

Organizational Social Responsibility - All workplaces exist in a community and the interrelationship between the community, the workplace, and the employee influences employee health and well-being and the health (and performance) of the organization. Organizational social responsibility speaks to ways organizations can be involved in the community and how this can improve the health and well-being of employees, their families, and other members of the community. Organizational social responsibility activities are often seen as voluntary and going above and beyond what is legislated or required, as well as those activities that address workplace aspects such as occupational health and safety, human rights, community development, environmental protection, and emergency response.

4.0 POLICY

The University of Guelph develops and maintains policies, practices and programs that contribute to a physically and psychologically safe and healthy workplace based on four Healthy Workplace elements of healthy lifestyles, physical environment, mental health and workplace culture, and corporate social responsibility, as well as the following four Guiding Principles:

i.The University of Guelph comprehensively supports the well-being of the whole person.

ii.The University of Guelph and all employees share responsibility for supporting the well-being of the whole person and providing a vibrant campus that is inclusive and respectful, where everyone is valued.

iii.The University of Guelph’s customized, evidence-based Healthy Workplace Plan harnesses the strengths, unique capacities and broad interdisciplinary knowledge of staff, faculty, and students.

iv.The University of Guelph supports serving others, supporting people locally and beyond.

5.0 IMPLEMENTATION

The University of Guelph maintains and supports the Wellness@Work Advisory Committee with a representative group of faculty and staff. The Committee has a mandate to provide strategic direction and leadership on the planning, implementation, evaluation, communication and sustainability of the University of Guelph’s Healthy Workplace Plan, to ensure that the University of Guelph is a healthy workplace for all faculty and staff.

6.0 PERIODIC REVIEW PROCESS

This policy will be formally reviewed no less than every three years by the Wellness@Work Advisory Committee.  Feedback on the policy can be provided at any time to the Advisory Committee through the Coordinator.  This feedback will be considered as part of any formal review.