Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) believes in supporting staff wellness. The PRA WellStaff Committee guides the company’s wellness needs and goals. The committee has defined wellness as the ongoing process of self-reflection and striving for a healthy balance in all aspects of life. The committee was started in 2015 after PRA was awarded several workplace wellness contracts, and it was decided that the principles and practices in this work should be implemented formally within PRA. The Eight Dimensions of Wellness, which have been widely embraced in the behavioral health field, have been utilized by the committee, and by extension, Policy Research, as a wellness framework for individual staff wellness needs. More recently, WELCOA’s 7 Areas of Workplace Wellness have been identified as a wellness framework for assessing PRA’s workplace wellness strategies, organizational culture, and committee strategic planning.
The WellStaff Committee is composed of three co-chairs, a representative from the Administration area, and representatives from each of PRA’s program areas. During quarterly committee meetings, the strategic plan is reviewed, and wellness-related staff activities are discussed and planned. These include, but are not limited to, WellStaff “Brown Bags,” which are open to all PRA staff; wellness-related staff challenges; staff activities; and staff social hours. Additionally, committee meetings also include a discussion about what we as individual staff members can do to support each other’s general wellness in the workplace. Those conversations often turn into suggestions for wellness-related policy changes that can be brought to PRA Council meetings for consideration.
I was given the opportunity to participate in the WellStaff Committee in a co-chair role. It has been a valuable learning experience for me. I have learned more about and have been a more active part of PRA’s efforts to support staff wellness. Participating in the committee as a co-chair has given me the opportunity to work with other PRA staff members outside of my program area, which has led me to feel more connected to PRA as a whole. Connection is one of WELCOA’s seven areas of workplace wellness and is defined as experiencing positive and trusting relationships with others and feeling a sense of belonging, acceptance, and support. After more reflection, it also occurred to me that the experience of participating in the committee as a co-chair coincided with the spirit of a few other WELCOA areas of workplace wellness, such as safety, which WELCOA defines as knowing that you are safe from physical and psychological harm at work and feeling secure enough to take calculated risks and show vulnerability; and meaning, which WELCOA defines as feeling part of something bigger than yourself and knowing that your work matters. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the WellStaff committee and contribute to supporting workplace wellness at PRA.