Employee Assistance Program helps find proper work-life balance
March 1, 2011Tweet
Binghamton University’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), coordinated by Renee Dallimore and Heather Hubeny, is highlighting health and wellness programs and other services to be offered throughout the spring semester.
Dedicated to encouraging the work-life balance of University faculty and staff, EAP offers confidential assessment and referral counseling, and problem-solving strategies for those confronted by personal or work-related obstacles.
EAP also offers assistance to graduate students employed on campus and retirees, as well as employees’ family members.
Dallimore and Hubeny provide EAP with a strong social work background. Both coordinators are new to the program, with Hubeny in the position since March 2010, and Dallimore joining in January 2011.
“The basic philosophy is stuff happens in life, and that stuff sometimes makes work a little more challenging,” Dallimore said. “Our job is to provide resources in order to smooth things out.”
Services range from lunchtime workshops to counseling services, consultations for supervisors, in-house teambuilding exercises and a self-help lending library.
A recent program, titled “Creativity, Reflection and Change,” was geared toward helping people deal with stressful situations in times of change in the work place and at home.
“There are a lot of changes going on at the University,” Hubeny said. “We have employees asking if there are any workshops that will help them adjust to different changes and transitions.”
An upcoming program advises employees who need help providing care for an elderly family member at home. The “Caregiver Services” workshop informs employees about caretaker services available within the community. This workshop is scheduled for noon Wednesday, March 9, in UUW-325.
The most popular program last semester was “Laughter Yoga,” Hubeny said.
“We do exercises in laughter,” she said. “It’s based on research that says the act of laughing can help promote endorphins in your body.” Laughter yoga is also good for those trying to deal with stress and change, she said.
Other workshops focus on retirement planning and managing financial resources. One such program, titled “Financial Planning: A Personal Journey,” is scheduled to take place at noon Monday, March 14, in UUW-252.
Similar to the yoga workshop is the Stress Management ABCs workshop, offering meditation and relaxation techniques to relieve stress. This workshop, presented by Tracy Lord, PhD, takes place at noon Wednesday, April 6, in UUW-325.
In addition to all of the workshops offered, EAP always provides free confidential assessment counseling and referrals, where one can meet in confidence with an EAP coordinator to identify any issue he or she may have.
Dallimore and Hubeny work under the direction of Johann Fiore-Conte, director of Health and Counseling Services, and the EAP Committee. The Committee’s role is to promote the program by ensuring that constituents are aware of the support services EAP provides for University employees and their families.
The EAP also relies on the flexible nature of the workshops that make them accessible to the campus community. Many workshops are created based on referrals from employees.
“The workshops change as the needs of the campus change,” Dallimore said. “Whatever campus community members say would be beneficial, we will try to tailor the services we offer to those needs.“
Dallimore and Hubeny do a lot of the legwork to make EAP known to the thousands of employees Binghamton University has.
“A lot of our job involves going out and meeting people to tell them what EAP does,” Hubeny said.
Dallimore and Hubeny said many people tend to think EAP is just about counseling. However, the coordinators strive to help employees maintain an environmental balance on all levels. Since both Dallimore and Hubeny have master’s degrees in social work, this causes them to branch out and strengthen all other dynamics of EAP.
“As changes in the University happen, changes in EAP will respond to make sure that workers can maintain a work-life balance.” Dallimore said.
“That’s the best part about EAP, the challenge of trying to constantly meet changing needs, ”Hubeny said.