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New free mobile app aims to boost workplace wellness and mental health

Thrive in the Workplace app contains a section of quick five-minute wellness exercises that users can do at work or at home for personal wellness
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Written by Samantha Pascoal, project coordinator

On Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018, the Career Education Council launched its new app Thrive in the Workplace. The app is designed to increase employee engagement and decrease absenteeism in workplaces across southern Ontario. The CEC’s goal is to encourage employees in Ontario to download the app and use it to enhance wellness and optimize wellbeing.

Free on both Android and iOS phones, the app includes five modules of training for employees, students, employee service providers, and teachers. Content is especially designed to help youth working in customer service and client care positions, who may be new to the workforce and who may not have had any other sector-specific training in workplace wellness and mental health.

The app also contains a section of quick five-minute wellness exercises that users can do at work or at home for personal wellness.

The app was created after the CEC, a small registered charity located in Guelph, ON, received a grant from the Ministry of Labour Occupational Health, Safety and Prevention Innovation Program. They were to create a program that would support employee wellness in Ontario.

Thrive in the Workplace, the project that resulted, currently gives free training through workplace wellness workshops to workplaces and schools in Southern Ontario. Since the launch of the app, the CEC has been able to provide the same training to a broader scope through the Thrive in the Workplace app.

The app’s launch was a celebrated success for the CEC after a year of app development. Throughout 2018, CEC staff worked diligently with several local businesses to create the tool.

Sarah Stewart, registered social worker and the owner of Open Minds Mental Health, was responsible for the app’s written content. Local videographers from Cameron Productions were in charge of creating the videos on wellness topics that can now be seen in the app. Last but not least, app developers from local software development firm SpeakFeel brought everything together, creating an app with a clean look and user-friendly interface.

On the day of the launch, 75 SHSM Health and Wellness students gathered at the Hanlon Convention Centre from across the Upper Grand District School Board’s region to complete quizzes, watch videos, and graze app content as they went through 3 workshops on workplace wellness. At lunch, several community partners joined in to use the app for the first time themselves.

Students and partners in attendance also got to hear from the CEC’s Executive Director, Kelly Schafer, and from the Thrive in the Workplace Project Coordinator, Samantha Pascoal, who outlined the importance of this tool for youth in 2018. According to Schafer, “This app will provide broadly accessible resources which will benefit both employers and employees by supporting workplaces in their wellness goals.”

Indeed, according to a CEC survey from early 2018 of students in Guelph, the most stressful parts of the workplace for young employees who have just began working are team dynamics and communications with co-workers and supervisors.

The CEC’s hope is that employee service providers, supervisors, and managers will use the “employer” view of the app to support the wellbeing of their young employees, and that young employees will seek help on the app when they encounter common stressful situations in their new working environment. With such a useful wellness tool ready at their fingertips, the future will hopefully look brighter for employers and employees alike.