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30 July 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Barend Nagel
HR Kovsie Care
The great poet Virgil once said: “The greatest wealth is health.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently listed burnout as an occupational phenomenon in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. Although not classified as a medical condition, its imprint on employees’ health status is absolute. 

The hallmark of any conducive workplace is its ability to assist employees to successfully manage stress. The Occupational Development and Employee Wellness Division at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Department of Human Resources (HR) continues to make concerted efforts to ensure the good mental and physical health of all staff members.

Solving an occupational dilemma

Burnout is characterised by feelings of energy depletion, increased mental distance from one’s job, and reduced professional efficacy. Over the past few years HR has launched various preventive programmes for support and academic staff as well as service workers.

One of these initiatives is the Power Hour sessions which are hosted at lunchtime across all campuses. These interactive platforms cover topics ranging from pain, emotional intelligence, bullying, healthy eating habits, resilience and anxiety. 

Fitness as a stress reliever

Over the years what were known as Takkie Tuesdays and Thursdays have evolved into “Take a Break & Feel the difference”. Staff members take 30-minute walks during lunchtime to boost productivity, confidence, energy levels, concentration and creativity while reducing stress symptoms and preventing lifestyle illnesses.

“Our mission is to cultivate a culture of health and wellness. We believe that when the culture is conducive it affects staff performance. The main purpose is to create an environment where people are mentally and physically well,” said Burneline Kaars, head of the wellness division.

Caring is sharing knowledge

True to its tagline “Care”, which stands for: Create, Attract, Retain, Excellence, the division works around the clock to care for staff members’ mental wellbeing. This includes referring those who need curative measures for free counselling provided by Careways.

Another way through which the division inspires employees to enrich their minds, bodies and souls is the Workout@Work programme that offers cardio exercises after office hours and the Pedometer Challenge which tracks physical movement throughout the day.

“It all boils down to being more active. It gets people to leave the office, enjoy the sun, and become more creative and energised,” says Arina Engelbrecht, Employee Wellness Specialist. 



News Archive

UFS Alumni Honours three former Students
2006-02-21

Three alumni of the University of the Free State will be awarded the prestigious Kovsie Alumni awards, presented to UFS Alumni annually, on the 10th of March at a Gala Awards Banquet. Alumni of the UFS have chosen Naka Drotské as Kovsie Alumnus for 2005. Harold Verster will receive the Kovsie Alumni Cum Laude Award and Prof Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law, will receive the Kovsie Alumni National Management Award. These prestigious accolades are awarded annually to honour alumni of the UFS for their exceptional achievements and contribution to the UFS.

Naka Drotské has been chosen as Kovsie Alumnus of the Year for the professional manner in which he led the Cheetah rugby team, which played a determining role in the team’s 2005 Currie Cup victory. The Cum Laude Award is made from time to time to any alumnus for outstanding service or achievement at local, national or international level in his/her specific career domain. Verster receives the Award for his role in the inclusion of the Vodacom Cheetahs as Super 14 team, as well as for his leadership that contributed to the success of the Cheetah rugby team in 2005. The Kovsie Alumni National Management Award for Exceptional Service to the UFS is made from time to time to an individual who has rendered exceptional service to the University. Prof Henning will receive this award for his role in the expansion and development of the Faculty of Law as academic, centre head, department head and, especially, as Dean.

Any Kovsie Alumnus is welcome to attend the Kovsie Alumni Gala Award Banquet that will be held in the Reitz Hall of the UFS Centenary complex. Matthys Roets will be the guest artist at the function and the cost of R80 per head includes a three course meal. If you are interested in attending the banquet, contact Jeannette Boshoff-Jansen at 051-401-3594 or alumni@mail.uovs.ac.za

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