PowerStream: Wellness 2015

Every year, Brian Bentz, president and CEO of PowerStream, rides his bike for the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer all the way from Toronto to Niagara Falls, Ont., over a two-day span, covering more than 200 kilometres.

“As leaders of the organization, I really want to underscore that it is really important for us to believe in the concept of health and wellness and have our staff see that we actually believe it and live it every day,” says Bentz. “We have to be living examples of it.”

PowerStream, which has 570 employees, is a Vaughan, Ont.-based energy company that serves communities immediately north of Toronto and in central Ontario.

Bentz and other senior leaders in the organization participate in many of the wellness initiatives developed by PowerStream’s wellness committee. There is a hockey team, a semi-formal soccer team, a fitness benefit program and a bicycle team.

Last year PowerStream launched an eight-week healthy eating challenge. Staff is provided with ongoing support through weekly emails, recipes, tips and shopping lists.

“It really taught them how to make healthy eating a lifestyle,” says Daniella Cogliano, organizational improvement co-ordinator.

The on-site cafeteria also partnered with the wellness committee on this initiative, offering employees a challenge-friendly breakfast and lunch option throughout the eight weeks. One promotion area for this challenge is the effect healthy eating can have for those with Type II diabetes.

“Because we’ve got a little bit of an older generation, (they) do have diabetes or they have heart issues or cholesterol issues. So this helped with that and helped encourage people to eat healthier,” says Cogliano.

Another successful initiative is the stretching program for field and office staff. PowerStream developed and distributed mouse pads with pictures of six different stretches that can be done at the office. Wellness committee members visited staff and walked them through the exercises.

Mental health has become an important factor to address and will be one of the main focus areas in the coming year, says Carrie Sally, conservation and demand management marketing co-ordinator.

“If it’s not themselves it is family members or friends. We’ve all been exposed to someone with a mental wellness issue.”

The wellness office is organizing a week focused on financial health, which will include a variety of financial planning sessions for those at different life stages. Tips and resources will also be communicated through the internal daily newsletter, the monthly wellness newsletter and a poster campaign.

The plethora of wellness options at the company has not only helped keep the workforce healthy but also happy.

“Employee engagement is exceptionally high here… above 95 per cent,” says Bentz. “We know that is because we place high priority on our staff and we know that our staff is cared for.”