A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Workplace Wellness?

on March 25, 2014

Right now, I’m sitting in the “kick off” event for our latest wellness program here at my university. This particular program is focused on building activity into our daily lives and will run for the next 8 weeks, with prizes and email support. For coming to the kick off event, they passed out exercise bands:

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They’ll apparently be sending out emails with specific exercises using the bands, which should be interesting. This is the first time I’ve actually attended one of the kick-off events for the wellness programs, even though I’ve participated in prior programs (we seem to have a couple a year) online. I have to say, a lecture in a dark room with lots of little video clips doesn’t feel very “inspiring” or “energizing” to me, but I do appreciate the intent and the effort.

My employer uses fitness-oriented programs a couple of times of year to get people active. We also has a fitness center on campus (not free) and maps of campus online that show various walking trails and distances. With benefits renewal each year, we get added benefits if we complete a personal health assessment looking at things like fruit and vegetables, exercise, etc. We even have a 5K on campus next month (that I’ll be participating in) and the person giving this presentation is employed by the university solely for coordinating this kind of employee wellness outreach. Clearly, they’re trying to provide us opportunities to have a healthier lifestyle or as the presenter put it “make the healthier choice the easier choice.”

It’s not perfect. We do have to pay for the fitness center and the costs of the salad bar are atrocious in the cafeteria (seriously, twice as much for my healthy lunch if I go there than it would be for a burger and fries). Still, I appreciate the effort. This is the third university I’ve worked with in the last ten years and the first that offered this kind of programming. *To be fair, my prior employers may have offered it and I wasn’t aware of it or maybe they offer it now as this is a relatively new phenomena in the workplace.* More and more companies around the country are offering wellness programs for their employees because there have been studies suggesting that a healthier workforce is more productive and costs less from an insurance perspective.

The thing I find most interesting is some of the reactions I’ve heard from people who are less active in response to these types of programs, in which they see it as a gateway to future punishments for them for their lifestyle choices. Where is the balance between rewarding employees for healthier choices, in hopes that those rewards get more people to make these choices , and inadvertently (or intentionally) punishing those who are making other choices? I don’t know the answer but am curious about your experiences with health & wellness programs at your workplace and how they’ve been received.

PS No crazy dreams last night thank goodness! Maybe my brain is done working on whatever it was dealing with or maybe skipping caffeine after 6 o’clock helped. I’m also going to take Lauren’s advice and just get out to run even if I’m tired because a good run definitely helps me work out a lot of mental stuff! This afternoon, no matter what else comes up, I will run!

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8 responses to “Workplace Wellness?

  1. I’ve sent a few ideas to our HR group to encourage more health & fitness. I am really hoping they take my ideas to heart. A lot of people in my building sit at a desk and look at a computer most of the day and there are numerous studies that show how dangerous that can be. Some kind of activity is essential to a healthier life!

    Glad to hear the nightmares are going away. Hope your workouts go well this week! :0)

    • It felt really good to run last night!

      Hopefully they will take your ideas to heart. There are lots of things they could do that wouldn’t cost anything and would encourage a healthier workforce, especially if you guys are sedentary most of the day. I know I have to remind myself on days I have lots of desk work that I need to get up and walk around. (Speaking of which, maybe I should go for a little walk right now!!)

      On Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 6:56 PM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

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  2. leannenalani says:

    Yay that your crazy dreams are going away. Yeah, like you mentioned maybe your brain was working through something. At least it’s something you won’t have to worry about anymore.

    I get the unfairness health programs but have never experienced it. I was always a little bit jealous of my husband who’s company had an incentive program for healthy habits because I’d love something like that to keep me motivated.

    • That’s good that his company has something! I’d think more school districts would offer that kind of thing too since teachers can be such an important influence on kids. You’d think they’d want you guys to be especially healthy!

      On Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 10:27 PM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

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  3. I wish they offered programs like that at my work. I take care of my health anyway, but a lot of people don’t.
    A work program would be a great incentive.

    • Hopefully more places will start to do it! I think like lots of other things, there is going to be some work done to prove that it saves money in the long run by having a healthier work force. It comes down to the financial bottom line for a lot of companies, unfortunately.

      On Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 2:59 AM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

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  4. […] also participating in the Every Body Every Day program at work that I mentioned last week (Workplace Wellness). The purpose of the program is to plan out your activity each day, which I think is really where […]

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