Occupational wellness is defined as personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work (SAMHSA, 2015). There are numerous benefits and opportunities available at PRA that can be utilized to improve all dimensions of wellness in some way, shape, or form. This blog post will provide an overview of how I have used some of these benefits and/or opportunities to support and improve my occupational wellness.
For the past 3 years, I utilized tuition reimbursement while working toward my Master of Public Administration. Although this may be viewed more traditionally as a benefit that can be used to support intellectual wellness, it crossed over into the occupational wellness space for me. I was able to take courses that improved the skills I use every day in the workplace, as well as learn new approaches and ways of thinking around different topics that intersected with my work. I even took courses that might not have seemed directly related to work, such as “Brownfields Redevelopment and Environmental Restoration,” but that had themes that tied back to the work we do at PRA. I found it refreshing to be in a space of learning with others and to bring this learning back to my own work in a variety of ways.
Even if you do not have goals or plans to work towards a specific degree, there are endless learning opportunities that might be beneficial for improving your personal satisfaction or enrichment at work. I would encourage anyone to explore opportunities that might qualify for tuition reimbursement—and even think outside the box!
Day of Reflection
PRA’s Day of Reflection can intersect with many different dimensions of wellness, depending on how one chooses to use it. For me, I have always tried to use this day to reflect on my occupational wellness in some way. This year, I plan to use my Day of Reflection to create a 5-year plan, with a specific focus on thinking through how I can continue improving my personal satisfaction and enrichment from work throughout the next 5 years. It is a unique and useful benefit available to us at PRA, and it is specifically intended to support overall wellness.
Strategic Renewal and Flex Time
This is another benefit that could intersect with many (if not all) dimensions of wellness. For me, I intentionally use these benefits to improve occupational wellness. Whether it is going for a walk or taking the time to make a healthy lunch, I use strategic renewal (a paid mid-day break) and flex time (a flexible schedule in which the employee chooses when their workday starts and ends within a set of parameters) when I need a break in the day. It is a great opportunity to reset and come back to your workflow feeling refreshed. I notice a significant difference in my occupational wellness (as well as other dimensions of wellness) on weeks where I do not intentionally fit in strategic renewal and/or flex time.
Paid Leave Balance
Life-work integration is a major component of my occupational wellness. Feeling empowered and comfortable to use my paid leave balance (PLB) and take time off when needed has been one method that I have used to ensure I am supporting my own occupational wellness. Whether it is for a planned vacation, a fun activity, or to take a rest day if needed, I can say for certain that having PLB available to me improves my occupational wellness. Work always feels more enriching to me after taking time away.
Every year, the annual review provides an opportunity to provide feedback on your own occupational wellness. Luckily, I am comfortable discussing occupational wellness with my supervisor throughout the year during check-ins. However, the annual review provides an opportunity to go in-depth on this topic if that is something you would like to do. I find myself more intentionally thinking through my occupational wellness as my review approaches, specifically around what work has felt most meaningful to me throughout the year prior. If you have a review coming up, it might be a good time to discuss occupational wellness. If needed, work with your supervisor to strategize about how you might improve your occupational wellness in the next year.
Personal satisfaction and enrichment from work mean different things to everyone. These are just a few examples of how it is possible to use the benefits and/or opportunities available at PRA to support occupational wellness. I encourage you to take the time to think through how you might be able to support or enhance your own occupational wellness through the use of opportunities available at PRA.
If you have any questions or would like more information on any of the mentioned benefits or opportunities, please view the human resources page on the PRA Intranet or reach out to Human Resources.