I still remember my first day of work at Elsevier. If anyone had told me I would still be working here 27 years later, I would have laughed it off and disagreed. However, I am still a fan of the meaningful work that we do daily, our vision – and the focus on employees’ wellbeing.
One of the most fulfilling aspects of my work is the work that I do for MindLife, a program to support employees’ wellbeing. For this, we have an extensive network of close to 100 MindLife volunteers who are wellness champions throughout our global organization. They initiate, promote and participate in all employees’ wellness programs.
Working with these volunteers to provide the required tools and resources to our people continues to be one of the most valued aspects of my job.
At Elsevier, more than ever before, our leadership team and employees are aligned in striving to create a healthy work environment for everyone. We are unified in our efforts to continue to build an environment that is connected, caring, supportive and nurturing. For this reason, we all placed our employees’ health and wellbeing at the forefront of our strategic priorities.
We understand the links between work, health and wellbeing, and the role we all need to play in adopting an organizational approach to our employees’ wellbeing. Through our holistic initiatives for wellness and wellbeing, we are always striving to provide our people with a healthier workplace environment which allows them to flourish.
An example of this is what we continue to do to support employees during the pandemic. Our continued wellbeing efforts were also noticed by Glassdoor, one of the largest employees’ review sites. They documented how Elsevier Prioritizes Health, Wellbeing & Authoritative Information During COVID-19.
1. MindLife webinars
In our monthly MindLife webinars, professional wellbeing experts cover key topics to help our people with their physical and mental health. The webinars are open to all our employees.
This year, we offered all our employees 12 months of subscription-free access to Headspace. The app is designed to help reduce stress and increase focus through meditation and mindfulness exercises. It is like a gym membership for the mind, delivered directly to our employees' mobile devices or computers.
3. Virtual mindfulness sessions
There are also a twice-daily 20-minute virtual mindfulness session for all employees. The MindLife team continues to provide support to all our employees worldwide through the provision of these global mini-sessions during this “stay at home” period focussing on anxiety, resilience, wellbeing while in isolation, and the healthy management of digital technology in challenging times such as this. Added to the mix is nutrition and exercise for body and mind. Typically, these sessions are attended by over 250 employees per session.
4. Mental Health Awareness Manager Training
To empower our people further, we have an ongoing mental health awareness manager training. This enables managers to utilize the knowledge, tools, tips and other resources available to help their colleagues.
We continue to support all Elsevier colleagues and encourage them to keep taking care of themselves during this period – to take things day-by-day, focus on what they can control, and remain positive as we continue to support each other through this pandemic.
5. Health’sevier Week
The MindLife team recently held its first “Health’sevier Week” – a global virtual wellbeing event to tie in with World Mental Health Day on October 10. Employees worldwide, including members of Elsevier’s leadership team, took part October 5-9. The week featured virtual and interactive sessions on mindfulness, relaxation techniques, managing anxiety, physical and mental wellbeing, and related topics. Also included were sessions delivered by award-winning mental health experts Rob Stephenson and Dan Keeley.
Wellness at the local level
Employees sometimes form resource groups, organizing events of interest to their local colleagues. An example of this is the NYC Wellness Employee Network Group, formed late last year. With office lock-down, NYC Wellness switched to virtual programming. Monthly events were presented by employees and guest experts. They included:
- Critical Elements of Wellbeing: Coping with the Pandemic Lockdown, sponsored by Elsevier’s Engineering Solutions team.
- Flower Power Virtual Garden Tour: meandering through iconic NYC landmarks.
- Writing for Wellness: exploring creative expression.
- Bowling Tips for Healthy Eating: highlighting quick, nutritious, plant-based meals made with local ingredients. (“Bowling” is for bowls of meals easily prepared.)
- Chi Kung Flow: long-time tai chi practitioner and teacher George Chen presented basic exercises for daily practice at home or in the office. This event drew 190 attendees, compared to 35 for the monthly sessions. It was part of the North America-wide End-of-Summer Extravaganza.
- Remembering Dexter Gasque: With the recent loss of our colleague Dexter Gasque, the much loved “Mayor” of the NYC office, we brought back the Writing for Wellness workshop so employees could express their emotions about Dexter and this tumultuous year.
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