Promotion of Health and Workplace Productivity Among Caregiving-Employees at Dalhousie

The following is a brief summary of a research study done by Leslie Binnington, Janice MacInnis, and Brad Meisner, with the help of the Caregiver Support Group at Dal, on caregiver health in the workplace.

Background: There is ample research on caregiver role strain and burden. The build up of daily stressors related to caregiving is known to have a negative impact on caregivers’ emotional, mental, physical, financial, and social health. In addition to these negative impacts, employed caregivers’ work performance (e.g., work productivity, employee engagement, job satisfaction, etc.) can also suffer.

Objectives: The objectives of this research study was to A: understand how caregivers’ health and work productivity may be influenced by caregiving/employee roles at Dal, and to B: explore potentially effective workplace assistance recommendations, from the employed caregiver perspective, for Dalhousie.

Participants: 11 female participants completed in-person interviews, as well as two surveys. One on health and work performance, and another on the negative/positive aspects of the caregiver experience.

Results: For objective A, the results were broken down into three broad themes: “Feeling the Crunch”, “On Vacation, But Not Really”, and “At Work, But Not Always”. “Feeling the Crunch” referred to the challenges negotiating a balance between work and caregiving roles. “On Vacation, But Not Really” referred to some participants taking time off (i.e. vacation days, etc.) to attend to caregiving responsibilities. “At Work, But Not Always” referred to being at work, but being interrupted during the workday by caregiving responsibilities or intrusive thoughts.

For objective B, the recommendations were broken down into two categories: institutional-level, and individual-level. The institutional-level recommendation was a caregiving/caregiving policy that aimed to raise awareness of the issue and decrease inconsistencies in how caregiving accommodations are handled/approved. The individual-level recommendations were: to create a structured schedule, engage in health promoting behaviours (as much as possible), acknowledge and accept one’s limitations, and focus on one’s strengths.

Conclusions: It is clear that the work and caregiving roles interact in a primarily negative and cyclical manner. Employers have much to gain by intervening and improving the situation of employed caregivers.

alive@work – Healthy Learning at Work

Have you been looking for a resource where you can learn 6 Steps to Better Communication, Popular Exercises that you Shouldn’t Do (and What to Do Instead), or 5 Heart Health Myths and Facts? Well there’s a new resource that covers those topics, among others: alive@work. alive@work offers quick reads on a number of health and wellness topics.

If you have a one or two minute break during work, check out the whole site and have a read at:

Respect Week at Dalhousie – including Pink Day


To:                 The Dalhousie University community

From:            Richard Florizone, President

Date:             September 24, 2015

Re:                Respect Week (September 28 – October 2) at Dalhousie


I’m writing to let you know about Respect Week, a new, campus-wide initiative happening at Dalhousie September 28 to October 2. Respect Week is one of the ways we continue the conversation about how to make our campus a more respectful, inclusive place where everyone feels welcome and supported.

Units and groups from across campus have been collaborating on a series of events to help foster this important conversation. Their goal? To challenge our thinking, engage with, listen to and appreciate differing perspectives and discuss how we show respect for others both on campus, and in the broader community.

As part of Respect Week, Dalhousie will hold its sixth annual Pink Day BBQ on Tuesday, September 29. Respect Week organizers will also be visiting the Sexton, Carleton and Agricultural Campuses on Pink Day with cake and apples. Students, staff and faculty are encouraged to wear pink to show their support.

  • Agricultural Campus: Pink Day – Cake and apples, Cox Institute, 10-11 a.m.
  • Carleton Campus: Pink Day – Cake and apples, Tupper Link 10-11 a.m.
  • Sexton Campus: Pink Day – Cake and apples, Alumni Lounge, 10-11 a.m.
  • Studley Campus: Pink Day BBQ and pizza, Lower Studley Quad, 12-1 p.m.

The Dalhousie Native Student Association’s sixth annual Mawio’mi will also take place during Respect Week on Wednesday, September 30. This event features traditional drummers and dancers, and honours community Elders on recognized unceded Mi’kmaq territory.

I hope you will make time to attend the Respect Week events. Dalhousie is a community where everyone has a shared responsibility for establishing and maintaing a climate of respect. We want our entire community to be inspired, think critically and consider what they can do to better support the inclusion of everyone who works and studies here. For more information and the full list of events, visit the Respect Week website.

Dal launches new Quality of Work Life survey

On Monday, April 20, faculty and staff at Dal will be invited to take part in a new survey about a wide range of aspects of work at Dal, from teaching and research to administration, and everything in between.

Called the Quality of Work Life Survey (replacing the previous biennial Workplace Survey), it will not only provide Dal’s leadership with workplace assessments but also offer faculty and staff immediate individual health profiles. Read more.

The survey will run from April 20 – May 4. If you have questions about the Quality of Work Life Survey, please visit the FAQs or send an email to

Mental Illness at Work – Erin Sutherland’s experience

This video shows Erin Sutherland, an employee of the Canadian government, talking about her experience with mental illness.  It speaks to the power of the workplace and leaves us with some of her lessons learned.