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Longueuil's municipal housing corporation attains Level 3 in the Healthy Enterprise Initiative

The Office municipal d'habitation de Longueuil has taken the path of health and well-being in the workplace, receiving the highest distinction awarded by the Healthy Enterprises Group, Level 3, this year. In total, the organization's executive management had to complete 21 steps—21 challenges—to attain this recognition.

The OMHL has the essential mission of seeing to society's proper functioning: to develop, manage and offer affordable and quality housing to low and limited-income families and individuals. It offers housing for elderly people and families, as well as low-cost and affordable public housing. In total, the OMHL oversees nearly 4,000 units and 6,000 tenants who benefit from their support. It's an enormous task for the organization and its 65 employees.
 
With support from the Healthy Enterprises Group, the organization's executive director, Mr. Sylvain Boily, initiated a process to foster a cultural shift in 2016. The goal: to implement a series of measures to improve employees’ physical and mental well-being.
 
Take action and get moving
The OMHL wholeheartedly took on the challenge. First, a committee made up of employees and members of senior management was formed. This was followed by a consultation to gather employee opinions and assess their needs. Last, a number of activities were selected.
 
With respect to “Best Management Practices for Psychological Well-Being,” one of the four areas of intervention in the process, a workshop on employee recognition and a healthy work environment was offered. Emphasis was placed on respect, courtesy and mutual support. Trainings to help employees in their interactions with tenants were also organized.
 
Without a doubt, the area of “Healthy Lifestyles and Stress Management” sparked the most interest and generated numerous ideas. Senior management now offers a range of physical activity options during the lunch hour, including yoga and Zumba classes. In addition, the OMHL increased its reimbursement of the cost of registration for physical activities. The result? From 2016 to 2018, the maximum annual reimbursement of $100 doubled to $200 per year. This incentive to get moving has paid off, with a total of 39 employees out of 65 taking advantage of the program in 2018.
 
The 7 challenges in Level 3
To reach the third and final recognition level of the Healthy Enterprise Initiative, companies must complete seven additional steps. These include developing a policy, organizing an annual data collection, creating an annual plan and producing a detailed report on the activities organized.
 
Having met all of these requirements, the OMHL adopted a clear policy on health and wellness in the workplace. In the process, management realized that “an organization's greatest asset is its staff,” and made the commitment to invest in its employees’ well-being. In addition to designating an annual budget to implement the measures, the OMHL scrupulously planned its interventions for 2019. As part of its plan, the organization planned to hold trainings on total health, promote healthy activities and create a health column in the company's newsletter.
 
Lastly, Mr. Sylvain Boily committed to setting a good example and encouraging employees to follow his lead. He committed to adopting healthy lifestyle habits, including health and wellness in management meeting agendas and participating in the activities offered by the company.
 
A win-win for everyone


It goes without saying that the Healthy Enterprise Initiative improves team spirit and a company's work environment. In addition, OMHL's management noted that the Healthy Enterprise Initiative had a positive impact not just on employees, but also on tenants who also benefit, indirectly, from an improved work environment.
 
Just as employees and tenants benefit from the approach, so do employers! Specifically, there was a significant reduction in costs related to team members’ health, increased productivity and better overall performance of work teams. The OMHL also saw its absenteeism and turnover rates decrease.
 
For the OMHL, attaining Level 3 is without a doubt a source of pride. The approach is now integrated in the company's culture, and the OMHL says that interventions are now central to the organization.
 

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