October is…Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month

While some people (okay, the majority of people) are already planning Halloween events, here at Iridia we are planning to celebrate Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month throughout the month of October.

These days it’s as though there is a theme day or month for everything – National Puppy Day (Mar 23), National Hot Dog Month (July), Bubble wrap Appreciation Day (Jan 31) and so on. There are fun months and there are also important ones like Healthy Workplace Month that promote awareness and taking action.

healthy workplace month

Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month

This month at Iridia, we are aligning ourselves with the goals of Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month by improving and building upon healthy lifestyle practices, workplace culture, occupational health and safety here in the office.

While we’ve already taken a number of steps to encourage healthy living such as providing fresh fruit to snack on, enacting a Fitness program and taking weekly brainstorming walks, there is always room to try new things.

As a company providing many services in the realm of healthcare, this is a great opportunity to ensure staff are living healthy and rewarding lifestyles at work and home.

Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month website provides a number of excellent resources to get started on healthy living at work. Each week of October has its own theme and focuses on a different aspect of workplace health.

 Accompanying each week are suggested activities to help you channel your inner healthy-working self.

workplace health

We’ve chosen a number of these activities and are encouraging our staff to do at least one activity a week to make positive changes at the workplace and in their personal lives. For starters, we are  revealing our activities for Weeks 1 and 2 so keep posted for our favourite activities for Week 3 and 4!

Week 1: Mental Health 

  • Compliment a Colleague: Co-workers feel great when they’re recognized for a job well done. And you’ll feel great about making them feel good
  • Play a game with co-workers: Play a game during your lunch break to exercise your mind
  • No-screen Night: Turn off the television, video games, computers, smartphones and iPods. Read a book or go for a walk with a family member, friend or neighbour.
  • Prioritize Your Resources: Priorities are always changing. Sometimes you may need to put personal and family needs first. At other times, work may take a front seat.
  • Assess Your Accomplishment: Ask yourself, “What felt meaningful today?” Feeling pride in accomplishments can make you feel happier.

Week 2: Workplace Culture 

  • 5-Minute Desk Clean Up: Take five minutes to clean up the clutter around your workstation 
  • Massage Days: Run a program that offers relaxing in-chair massages. (Already have a massage therapist come in bi-weekly!)
  • Workplace Walks: Walking and talking is a healthy pleasure on many levels and can be done all year long. (Just implemented a weekly walking and brainstorming group!)
  • Desk Stretches for a Week: Practise workstation stretching each day. Focus on performing them regularly and completely so you have more energy at the end of the day.
  • Lend Your Skills: Donate your skills to a charitable project that demonstrates community care and good corporate citizenship.

Thanks to Great-West Life for organizing this month and all of the ideas for healthy living. If you’d like more information about Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month, visit: http://healthyworkplacemonth.ca/en/

Canada’s Women’s Soccer Team Teaches us a Lesson About Teamwork

Teamwork leads to exceptional output

Employees at Iridia are not merely cogs in a larger machine. While we each have our roles and specific areas of responsibility, our company operates on the premise that we are a team that shares collectively in the wins and losses of the company (Iridia core value).


One of the most talked about events during the Games was the Canadian women’s soccer semi-final. Most commentators and spectators agreed that the Canadian women played the US team exceptionally well, but that some questionable refereeing that went against Canada led to their defeat.

After an emotional loss, the team was devastated, angry and distraught. They felt they had been robbed of a chance to go for gold because of unfair officiating.

In those first few devastating moments after the game, the media approached and some of the women, still reeling from the emotion and exertion of the game, said some things in anger and frustration that, perhaps, they shouldn’t have. The media jumped on that and the comments were spread around the world.

Talk of punitive measures from Olympic officials, including suspensions that could have significantly impacted the Bronze medal match, made this a dark day in the life of this team.

How do you get ready to compete again with the same level of intensity and passion you put forward in a game you feel you should have won? How do you deal with words you can’t get back? How do you cope with your name, your team’s name, being smeared by others? How do you rally back and find the motivation to play again in the face of what appears to be hopeless?

Canada women's soccer teamwork

I think most of us can relate on some level; we’ve said something in a weak moment we wish we could take back, lost a contract, sale, or client in a way that felt unfair, had someone say bad things about us, felt the frustration of a project or task that seemed hopeless.

The challenges of life are difficult enough when we’re facing them on our own, but when we face them as part of a team – where the group dynamics become a factor in recovering, they can be even more difficult.

Team members can get so lost in their own grief and way of coping, that they find it difficult to support one another. But therein lies the difference between a true team and one that just plays together.

The Canadian women did rally. They took responsibility for their actions, supported each other through their grief and ignored the negative media, choosing to gather support from their fans, families, and well wishers. They played with fierce intensity in a game where they were considered underdogs, and won a Bronze medal for Canada – the first Canadian soccer team in history to medal in the Games. They arrived in London with their eyes set on a medal.In spite of their setback, they accomplished that goal.

Canada Bronze Medal Soccer

The Canadian women’s soccer coach, John Herdman, said it best when asked about his team’s efforts. “They got kicked, they got up, they kicked back. What more could you have asked, and what more could you have done?

In the context of everyday life, the principles are the same. Respect for your team, pride in what you do, tenacity in the face of setbacks, and commitment to the goal provides the framework for winning in sport, work, and life.

It can’t be denied that in the case of the Canadian women’s soccer team, teamwork most definitely led to exceptional output.