LifeWorks offers an enhanced EAP experience

Life comes with lots of tricky moments. The pandemic is one all on its own, bringing stress, anxiety and even depression for some employees as we manage our work, health, family and finances.

Supporting the varying needs of employees with as many well-being options as possible is behind Western’s decision to launch access to a new platform. LifeWorks, Western’s Employee (and family) Assistance Program (EAP) provides confidential services and helps employees to navigate the challenges that we all face from time to time. These services are provided by the company Morneau Shepell.benefits.jpg

Faculty and Staff members at Western recently received emails outlining the enhanced online experience available to employees who register for access to the LifeWorks web-based or app-based platform. While many people associate EAP with clinical counselling, other professional services available include legal support, nutrition counselling, financial counselling and naturopathic consultation. The online platform gives access to articles, podcasts and toolkits for users who prefer to research and take action on their own, knowing they can reach out for support if they want it.

Family members are also supported by EAP. An employee can extend an invitation to the online services via email from their LifeWorks profile to up to five family members. Eligible family members can also access counselling services directly by calling 1-844-880-9142.

Since 2019 services have been made available to all Western employees regardless of the type of employment or contract. Support is available 24/7/365 by calling 1-844-880-9142. You can read more about the program features on the EAP webpage on the Human Resources website.

Adam Craig, Wellness Coordinator is well known across campus for organizing stretch breaks and coordinating the fitness and free activity classes offered to employees. He shared “I’m thrilled about the synergy between LifeWorks and our Living Well @ Western programming. The platform will allow us to promote internal wellness opportunities through the NewsFeed.” New features help nudge healthy behaviours, increase engagement and offer incentives to participation using wellness points that make employees eligible to be entered into contests and giveaways. Note that employees will be asked to provide consent before LifeWorks shares their points data with Western. “The features found on the platform will enrich our wellness journey and the available customizations provide a truly unique experience” said Craig.

Access to LifeWorks is by email invitation. When the LifeWorks program was relaunched during the week of March 16, new emails were sent to each employee. The email contains a unique code for registering through the app as well as a link with the embedded code for registering via web. If you haven’t received your email from LifeWorks, or if you have questions, you can request a new link from the LifeWorks login site or contact Human Resources at hrhelp@uwo.ca for assistance.

Lindsay Plaisant is the Manger of Employee Well-being at Western. Her team often encourages employees to explore the support available through EAP. “We recognize that the nature of EAP is short term and goal-directed counselling. This type of support is helpful in many situations, is certainly a great place to start, and can support learning and action to benefit overall well-being. It may not meet all needs however, and Western’s Employee Health and Well-being Consultants can provide additional guidance and support to employees who are experiencing challenges related to illness, injury, or accidents. Our goal is to support our employees to stay at work, or return to work”. Employees can find the consultant for their unit by visiting the Employee Well-being website.

Relaunch of LifeWorks

A month after Western’s January announcement that it was moving online EAP support to the LifeWorks platform, Morneau Shepell determined that human error resulted in some data being stored on a server in the EU. As this didn’t align with Western’s preference and contract, the online service was disabled and re-launched on March 16 with all data held in Canada.

“It is important to be clear that there was no data breach; it was a matter of our configuration not meeting the conditions we had agreed to and the way we had explained it to employees. Morneau Shepell was a great partner in identifying and resolving the issue” explained Cara Bourdeau, Senior HR Consultant, Total Rewards who oversees the relationship. “Transparency regarding how the data is collected, where it is stored and how it is used is very important to us at Western and to Morneau Shepell. The very foundation of an EAP program is ensuring confidence that the services being accessed by employees are fully confidential. This includes the content being viewed online."

Bourdeau further clarified, “In purchasing access to this system, Western elected to disable a number of the features that the LifeWorks online platform offers because we didn’t want personal data to be a distraction from the valuable tools. As a result, the data captured in the system generally relates to an individual’s preferences. This includes customization of content in the areas of mind, body, personal finances, relationships and work, along with tracking of habits that a user may be trying to change. I cannot stress enough that Western has no interest in individual user data nor would Morneau Shepell release individual data. Any reporting is done on an aggregated basis and only when there is a group size large enough to ensure anonymity. This reporting is shared back with the EAP Committee, which has representation from the various employee groups”.

If employees have any questions or concerns about their EAP experience they can receive support by contacting hrhelp@uwo.ca. “We sincerely hope employees will engage with the LifeWorks tools- and with each other when we launch our first well-being challenge later this spring,” said Craig.


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