AIT Celebrates National Workplace Wellbeing Day with Virtual Coffee Morning

Athlone Institute of Technology celebrated National Workplace Wellbeing Day remotely with a virtual coffee morning designed to promote staff physical and mental health amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Organised by the Institute’s HR department, the #TogetherApart coffee morning was one of a series of online activities that took place throughout the day to celebrate staff and help the campus community stay connected.

“The health and wellbeing of our employees is paramount during this difficult time and while working from home has become the new norm for most of us over the past few weeks, we are conscious that this also brings its own challenges,” said Liam Brennan, HR director at Athlone Institute of Technology.

Among the activities available to staff were a series of free online workout videos from AIT Sport. The full body dumbbell workout, which is suitable for all fitness levels, proved especially popular. In lieu of dumbbells, staff were encouraged to get creative and use water bottles.

Lisa Hanlon, co-ordinator of AIT Healthy Campus, recorded a video demonstrating a series of chair-based exercises to help staff who are working from home stay mobile and reduce the risk of muscle or joint pain.

After working out, staff were treated to some delicious recipes for homemade brown bread, chocolate eclairs and banana bread.

They were also encouraged to share pictures of their furry friends – just looking at an image of an animal can reduce stress and anxiety, resulting in improved concentration, scientists have found.

Staff also availed of free online Mindfulness classes taught by Susan Keane, a wellbeing consultant with IBEC’s KeepWell Mark. Mindfulness, as a form of meditation, has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety and promote a sense of overall wellness.

Staff also benefitted from a wellness presentation which covered everything from herbal teas to aid sleep and digestion, to essential oils, food, yoga and meditation.

“COVID-19 has presented unique challenges for each of our staff members – many of whom are balancing working from home with caring for family, friends and neighbours,” said Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, president of Athlone Institute of Technology.

“All of this can take a toll on our physical and mental health. With that said, I would like to congratulate our HR team on this wonderful initiative which has helped us stay connected, while apart, during these challenging times.”

Visit www.ait.ie/covid19 for regular, up-to-date information about AIT’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Athlone Institute of Technology is a contemporary third level institute distinguished by academic excellence in teaching, learning and research. The institute was awarded The Sunday Times ‘Institute of Technology of the Year 2020, 2018 and Runner-Up in 2017. The institute also tops Ireland’s official league table for research and was listed in U-Multirank’s ‘Top 25 Performing Universities in the World for Interdisciplinary Research’ in 2018 and 2019. For information relating to the institute’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, visit www.ait.ie. #ChooseAIT

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