4 ways to invest in employees’ mental wellness

wellness woman sunrise

Such community events as women empowerment workshops, self-empathy classes and discussions about eating disorders are a regular occurence at Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y. However, dining employees’ work schedules often conflict with the university-sponsored get-togethers. Lori Benson, community liaison for dining services, wanted to make sure her team had a chance to participate in wellness programming, so she started creating activities just for dining employees.

“Part of my role and the goal of these events is to help build relationships and bridge gaps among staff,” Benson says. Here’s how Benson and other operators are investing in the mental health of their workforce. 

1. Health taskforces

business man heart health

To find out what kind of events employees would attend, Benson recruited a staff member from each unit to become a health and wellness ambassador. The Binghamton University Dining Services Wellness team meets to plan events and share which topics are important to employees at each location. The crew helps market the events and communicate staff schedules to maximize attendance.

2. Financial aid

finance chalkboard

Taking care of workers’ bodies, minds and spirits is part of the staff values for the residential and dining enterprises team at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif. The department’s definition of wellness includes not only goals like work-life balance, but things like financial wellness, which several studies have connected to mental health, according to a report published in Clinical Psychology Review. Stanford R&DE teams up with Stanford Federal Credit Union to offer presentations on fiscal health, including personal finance workshops, personal trust seminars and home-buying seminars.

3. On-site classes

yoga gym

Binghamton University Dining Services also taps into campus resources to sponsor free classes for its employees. Several Saturdays each month, the dining team hosts a yoga class taught by a campus instructor, and last spring, university police trained dining staff in self-defense. Additionally, members of the school’s nursing program visit dining halls to give employees blood pressure screenings and information about stress and health.

The department’s first orientation meeting of every school year now includes wellness information for the staff. A vendor fair with representatives from employee assistance, the recreation center and a local hospital attend to answer questions for employees. “It’s really hard to have meetings when we are up and running,” Benson says. “So instead of making our welcome back meeting a policy dump, we’ve found ways to take the time to promote things for them personally.”

4. Addiction services

addiction sign

This fall, Binghamton is becoming a tobacco-free campus. To assist employees through the transition, Benson became a certified tobacco cessation facilitator. She can offer employees guidance and provide resources to help staff kick the habit.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

...

FSD Resources