The Importance of Community in the Workplace

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

With the demands of work, creating and maintaining a resilient community within the workplace can be a challenge.

people craftingThe Library’s Health, Safety, and Wellness Committee has undertaken the goal of creating a strong workplace by nurturing a sense of community. The committee is focused on this long-term commitment and is driven by questions such as, “what is it like to work here?” and “how can we make it better?” These questions were inspired in part by long-serving employees who observed that the “community” feel at work has become less apparent over the years. When we spoke with Sarah Martin, Chair of the Library’s Health and Safety Committee, she mentioned that people tend to focus on doing their work and then leaving. At times, we’ve all experienced that feeling that there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

While the importance of building community and promoting wellness in the workplace is no doubt important, it sometimes becomes nothing more than a buzzword. But not for Sarah and her likeminded coworkers. They began to focus on strategies that foster a strong sense of community. These opportunities take very little time out of ones workday and the feedback from the Library staff has been great. Some of the activities that they have implemented include a wellness week with lunch hour activities (planting, making bath bombs and yoga), a social art event and a monthly wellness walking challenge. When asked about the impact, Sarah noted that staff members have expressed that these activities provided opportunities to share their passions with their colleagues and connect with others that they would not have otherwise. By creating small ways to promote workplace wellness, the hope is that Library employees continue to experience improved wellness and job satisfaction.

When we’re healthier and happier at work, we’re more productive and more effective in supporting each other and our students.

Sarah and the rest of the Health, Safety, and Wellness Committee are passionate about continuing to find ways to build community and promote wellness within the Library. Their hope is that the importance of these practices continue to be prioritized in the Library and within the campus community. When asked about the impact on the wider community, Sarah notes that the committee is inviting individuals from outside the Library and campus community to share information about wellness and highlight other healthy lifestyle topics that would benefit others. This all-encompassing approach to wellness is supporting Library employees to achieve optimal health and wellness and making work a great place. It often only takes simple initiatives to make a large impact!

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