UFH puts wellness at the fore
As we journey toward renewal, the University notes the importance of having a well-oiled Wellness Unit to promote and enhance the physical, social, emotional, financial, and intellectual wellness of our staff.
The Wellness Unit team operates on all three campuses, Alice, East London and Bisho and is currently working with the Independent Counselling and Advisory Services (ICAS) – a global wellness service provider – to improve the life quality of staff by giving them the necessary support.
The office is manned by Ms Mandisa Tyanti and Joe Japhta, Wellness Practitioners who both have extensive experience in employee wellness and Ms Romica Plaatjies who is a Senior Administrator at the Unit
Recently, the Unit held a Wellness Day, an interactive health screening where key body metrics and blood tests were performed. The screenings were conducted at all three campuses attended by Bonitas Health, Discovery Health, 4D Health, the Human Movement Science Department of UFH. The assessment included glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure tests; weight, height and body mass index (BMI) measurements as well as HIV tests.
Also on site, were representatives from Old Mutual and IMAS who provided pension retirement advice and information on financial products and advice on financial literacy and wellbeing.
Staff who underwent the screening were given a comprehensive report on their health and wellness.
According to Mr Japhta: “Our employees are not exempt from the challenges that we continue to grapple with as a country, this includes the financial challenges as we experience an economic recession presently. A number of them are struggling financially whilst others are still dealing with the trauma of losing loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our office aims to help them navigate those challenges by giving and sourcing the support and advice required to empower our employees."
In an effort to be more proactive and ensure a greater reach and swift response to requests for counselling services, the Unit is reaching out to qualified UFH alumni to assist with professional counselling services.
“The current challenge is with the Alice and Bisho campuses where staff requesting counselling services are required to travel to East London for sessions. We would like to end that and minimize the burden on the staff members by meeting and servicing them at their location, for their comfort. We are engaging with two identified professional counsellors and ICAS, our counselling service provider, to put this plan in motion.”
Regarding the importance of having a well-oiled wellness unit, Mr Japhta said social ills could prevent an employee from performing their role optimally. “These challenges sit in the back of our minds and eventually get to us. It is important to deal with those problems before it affects our functioning in the workplace. A happy employee is a productive employee.”
Mr Japhta took the opportunity to remind staff that their door is always open. “You do not need to sit and harbour your heavy emotions, there is help. We place huge importance on confidentiality so whatever is shared with us remains between us and the employee concerned. Confidentiality is one of the basic principles of the counselling profession and must always be adhered to by us as counsellors.”
Wellness services are available as follows:
Mondays to Fridays: East London campus
Tuesdays: Bhisho campus
Wednesdays and Thursdays: Alice campus