Finding wellness at the workplace
Workplace wellness used to focus on safety: Had a business done all it can to reduce hazards and the risk of injury? In recent years, the lens has widened for many companies, taking in the overall health of the workforce.
Research and anecdotal experience have found that investing in programs and services to help workers have healthier lifestyles can have positive effects on absenteeism, productivity, insurance premiums, and workplace injuries.
“Worksite Wellness is a program of Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula that enables employers to foster goodwill, camaraderie, and wellness for their employees,” says Gene Fischer, who has coordinated the program since its inception. “Investing in the health and wellness of employees is good for companies and helps those employees have healthier, happier, and more productive lives.”
Fischer meets with employers to discuss the varying degrees of health and wellness among employees so he can tailor a wellness program to meet their specific needs, workforce, workplace, and budget. Then he coordinates a health-risk assessment and an on-site screening.
“We provide a biometric screening, with a range of tests one would do during a checkup with a doctor, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar,” Fischer says. “In reality, most people don’t get an annual checkup. I barely have time myself.
Investing in the health and wellness of employees is good for companies and helps those employees have healthier, happier, and more productive lives. — Gene Fischer, corporate accounts manager, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula Worksite Wellness program
“In about 25 minutes, we can check a person’s key health metrics and provide analysis and guidance for any recommended lifestyle changes. An employee can have this done on company time, and can potentially receive a reduction in their insurance premium. It’s a no-brainer.”
Based on the results of the screenings, Fischer’s team can schedule health-education seminars targeted to the specific health needs of the workforce. Then employees are invited to participate in exercise programs, including exercise challenges, that keep them engaged throughout the year.
“We do a healthy habits challenge,” says Fischer, “where employees can learn about health practices and how to make them habits that become part of their lifestyle. We also bring in a clinical dietitian once a month, to go over lab results and coach participants on making healthy choices for cooking and eating. We also have coaches to help people learn to manage chronic diseases like diabetes.”
Coaches identify issues, educate participants, and sometimes even send people to the doctor or the emergency department.
“We ‘rescue’ one or two people at most events,” Fischer says. “It’s often people who didn’t even realize they had an issue, like extremely elevated blood pressure or blood sugar. “Part of the success of the program, says Fischer, is that Worksite Wellness is fun, which keeps people motivated. Employees get to share their different success stories, which are both validating and encouraging.
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula’s Worksite Wellness tailors programs to meet your business’s needs. Among the services offered:
- On-site health fairs with screenings
- Personal health profiles
- Health-education classes
- Exercise and fitness challenges
- On-site speaker program
- Programs for diabetes management, weight loss, stopping smoking, cholesterol management, asthma management, and more