On 07 July 2017, Assistant Professor Rita Ramos, Faculty Secretary of the UP Open University (UPOU) Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS), and Chair of the UPOU Health and Wellness Committee, served as the speaker for the Research Conversation on the Flagship Program: TAYO or Team Approach and Youthful Outlook for UPOU. TAYO is UPOU’s Flagship Program that focuses on health and wellness and aims to provide and/or establish healthy work spaces for a healthier workforce.

Prof. Ramos started the talk by sharing an integral part of the TAYO program which are UPOU’s existing groups who are involved in activities such as volleyball, basketball, pilates, dance, band, bikers, and photography groups. These informal groups help with fitness, relaxation, and socialization – conditions theoretically ideal for increased work productivity.

She also gave a preview of other programs that can be included in the future such as ergonomics which can be beneficial to the UPOU employees. At the moment, TAYO’s structure is fluid and flexible for the purposes of recreation and relaxation; however, the health and wellness committee aims for the program to be more empirical and theory-driven as it progresses. Although still open for further suggestions and comments, Prof. Rita discussed possible variables to consider in determining the effectivity of the program such as measuring work productivity, fitness level, and vital signs. In an effort to address the lack of empirical data, the committee conducted an assessment survey of the health and wellness program. With 25 respondents for the initial survey, she hoped that more will participate in both the activities and assessment survey.

Prof. Rita also lightly grazed on existing studies in health and wellness such as Ammendoila et al’s (2016) inquiry on using the intervention mapping framework for designing a health and wellness program in the workplace, Macdonald and Westover’s (2011) study on decreasing employee obesity and increasing overall health, and Losina et al’s (2017) paper on the relation of physical activity and decreased work absenteeism.

To cap the talk, Prof. Rita raised two points to consider in the continuation of the health and wellness program: (1) should the program continue as unstructured/flexible or should it be structured? and (2) should the program remain voluntary or should it be obligatory? These points attracted many comments and suggestions from the participants who were mostly UPOU faculty and staff members. The session ended with the giving of a certificate of appreciation to Asst. Prof. Ramos and a salo-salo over extended conversations among the employees.