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Tips to integrate workplace wellness into everyday work
Posted on Jul 3, 2012 | Written by Katie Foster | Comments (0)
To successfully integrate healthy choices into everyday work, personalizing a workplace wellness program to a client’s culture is essential. But it doesn’t end there. Personalizing health to employees is equally critical.
In a recent Metlife study, 66% of employees said health benefits are “very important” for feelings of loyalty to their company. And the benefits employees said they want most: Health benefits personalized to their circumstances.
As the contract manager of an award-winning health management program for an energy company, personalizing health for employees is something my team does every day. Here are a few ways we do this:
- We live and breathe the work life of employees to develop programs that prevent injuries. For example, when we created a dynamic stretching program to reduce injuries among wind farm workers, we spent time—literally—following in their footsteps.
I climbed 250 feet in the air to the top of a wind turbine to understand the movements and stretching needs of their job. We then partnered with the on-site physical therapist and safety coordinators to create a 5-minute YouTube video demonstrating stretches that the company’s highly dispersed workforce of wind farm techs can view before climbing.
- We build wellness programs that fit within the employee’s work conditions. For those who are never at their desks and don’t use the Internet, we produce paper-based challenges. For others who work 7 a.m.–3 p.m. in physically taxing jobs, we provide wellness programs where healthy activities can easily be incorporated into their day.
For example, with one population like this, we did a program focused on encouraging one to two healthy swaps per day. This means if they’re at McDonald’s, get the grilled chicken sandwich versus the fried chicken sandwich. Recent research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine validates the impact that making small changes like these can have to help individuals make other healthy choices as well.
Yes, personalizing wellness programs for different populations takes more work, but it also reaps more rewards.
During the six years I’ve been with this client, I’ve seen our workplace wellness programs: reduce the percentage of employees with high risks (5 or more risks); make a positive impact on containing health care costs; and generate high employee satisfaction (90% or greater).
Have a tip you’d like to share on how to personalize workplace wellness for employees? I invite you to share your insights below.
Katie is a contract manager for HealthFitness and has been working in the corporate wellness field for six years. She previously was a personal trainer. Katie has a Master of Science in exercise physiology from Barry University.