The BeUpstanding Team
A/Prof Genevieve Healy, Dr Ana Goode and Jennifer Burzic
Genevieve: Principal Research Fellow
Ana: Research Fellow
Jen: Research Assistant
The University of Queensland, School of Public Health, Cancer Prevention Research Centre
What are you/your organisation currently focussing on in terms of workplace health and wellbeing?
Here at The University of Queensland, we have been focussing on enhancing our BeUpstanding™ program (www.beupstanding.com.au): a free, evidence-informed online program designed to support workplace champions make sitting less and moving more the new norm in their work team. We received NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) funding for a national implementation trial and have been working closely with our amazing partners; Comcare, Safe Work Australia, Office of Industrial Relations QLD, VicHealth and Cancer Council WA/ Healthy Workplaces WA building towards a national launch in 2019.
What aspect of workplace health and wellbeing does your organisation do well in?
We are very lucky that The University of Queensland offers a lot of great health and wellbeing programs including the UQ wellness program, Bupa services (i.e., skin checks, eye exams, heart health checks), fitness passport and flu vaccinations. Our Centre practices what we research, with standing and walking meetings just a regular part of our work day, and frequent stand and stretch breaks included into our university lectures.
What’s your biggest challenge working in workplace health and wellbeing?
The biggest challenge that we hear from workplace champions is around how to keep up the momentum for change. That is, how to keep staff engaged and motivated in wellbeing and safety programs in the long term. This is something that we plan on focussing on in our research.
How does Way Ahead Workplaces add value to your organisations health and wellbeing program?
WayAhead Workplaces has allowed us to connect with health and wellbeing experts, as well as the people who run wellness programs. We have also had the opportunity to present on our latest research at several members meetings. This has been a win-win because members can benefit from participating in cutting edge research and we are able to share our findings with people in the field who can use it. Together we are advancing the evidence-base!
How do you deal with stress?
Genevieve: Running is my stress release. Currently I am particularly enjoying doing street orienteering as concentrating on where I need to go next is a great distractor!
Ana: The beach is my happy place. I try to get there at least 3 times a week.
Jen: I go for walks, take deep breaths, and meditate twice a day.
What are the key issues and considerations for people in workplace health and wellbeing roles?
People in workplace health and wellbeing roles need to keep up to date with the latest evidence and best practice, which can be tricky given how busy everyone is! That’s part of the reason we created the BeUpstanding blog, to provide a research hub where people could go to learn about the latest research around sedentary behaviour.
How do you switch off from work?
Genevieve: Umm… not easily. But beach fishing is my happy place to just “be”. And if I can be beach fishing out of internet range – well, that is even better.
Ana: I have to admit I’m not always very good at switching off but having a baby this year has forced me to prioritise!
Jen: Things that help me switch off are spending time with my family, doing fun workout classes like Pilates and barre, cooking, going to the beach, and painting.
What is your best time saving tip?
Genevieve: Develop a great support network so that you can take turns taking kids to extra-curricular activities!
Ana: Setting a ‘to do’ list and small goals to work towards helps me stay on track and not waste time.
Jen: My best time saving tip is to meal prep on a Sunday so you have healthy food options available during the week when you usually have less time to cook.
What do you think the future of work health and wellness programs look like?
The future for work health and wellness looks bright! We are seeing more and more interest and investment across all types of workplaces in programs and initiatives to help keep staff happy and healthy. We are a little biased, but we think policies relating to sitting less and moving more while at work will soon be a requirement.