Rhodes University prioritises staff wellbeing with holistic solution

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Staff members jump for wellness at last week's launch activities
Staff members jump for wellness at last week's launch activities

By Alungile Boqwana


In collaboration with Company Wellness Solutions (CWS), Rhodes University hosted a two-day staff event last week, followed by a fun walk on Friday. The event's main goal was to educate employees about the RUWELL Employee Wellness App and how they can benefit.

Rhodes University's Learning and Development Manager, Schalk van der Merwe, said wellness-related challenges among Rhodes University staff members not only affect staff wellbeing but also impact productivity. The partnership with CWS seeks to provide a Wellness App for staff and their eight nominated beneficiaries to assist them with these challenges.

CWS Client Success Manager Carrisa Naidoo made a presentation that focused on informing the audience about the services provided by the CWS App. CWS specialises in employee assistance programmes such as fitness, health, and team building to help employees improve their overall health and wellbeing. Naidoo said that they have helped over 250 clients and assisted over 200 thousand employees with day-to-day challenges; their goal is to "increase productivity and decrease absenteeism while ensuring clients feel valued and appreciated".

The Staff Wellness Programme includes support to improve physical, social, emotional, financial and spiritual wellness. It provides a wide range of services, such as trauma counselling, legal counsel, debt counselling, online health support from dietitians and personal trainers, and much more. It offers these in various value-adds, ranging from live instant chats to a unique Mood Tracker.

The debt assistance service provides various financial wellness solutions to help employees with their finances. It includes in-person debt counselling sessions from 8 am to 8 pm Monday through Friday. It is worth noting that this is not only for those in debt but also for those interested in learning more about how to budget better. Naidoo stressed that counsellors do not provide investment advice.

Advice is offered to employees dealing with legal issues such as criminal offences, property matters, contracts, and divorce. Advisors provide unlimited legal advice and documentation to clients, reducing the stress associated with legal disputes.

Additional services include fitness and nutritional advice for staff members who want to achieve their physical goals with calorie counting and custom exercise routines.

Access to a type of meditation known as "guided energy" can help users better cope with their daily work challenges.

Journals are another feature accessible via the App, encouraging staff to write down their feelings. These entries may be referred to a counsellor to help staff better understand their feelings. All the services are available in multiple languages and cater to all demographics. All counsellors are registered with the HPCSA.

Besides downloading the App or using the web platform, staff members can access the services using the USSD function by dialling *134* 1449#. This service is available on all mobile phones that support SMS. Employees can request that an expert call them back by entering their phone numbers and selecting the category for which they require assistance. A toll-free number is also available.

"Work-related stress and healthcare issues are on the rise, and the importance of organisational wellness cannot be overstated," concluded Van Der Merwe.