Tackling Wellness a Step at a Time

When it comes to improving our health and wellness success often comes a step at a time. Small goals lead to small victories, which lead to additional, often larger victories. We build acceptance and positive results by setting and supporting achievable measures, and our progress results in greater participation and increased resolve.

There are many positive steps employers can take to encourage employees to embrace wellness efforts. It begins, however, with a commitment to try something, however minor, and to see it through. Success, it’s been said, is contagious, proving wellness and contagion can coexist, at least on paper!

Here are some examples of small steps being practiced by two Connecticut employers participating in the CBIA Healthy Connections wellness program.

Jan Wahnon is the wellness champion for The Computer Company, an IT solutions firm located in Cromwell. When it comes to health, every little bit counts, Wahnon says, and sometimes you just have to start out with the basics. Her company offered a reduced gym membership, she explains, but there wasn’t enough interest among the staff. So they looked for some wellness alternatives that were easy to introduce and support.

“Here at The Computer Company,” Wahnon says, “we have monthly company-wide meetings to talk about upcoming business, completed projects, birthdays, and company anniversaries. These meetings finish up with snacks and bagels for everyone. Since starting the wellness program, we have cut down from three birthday cakes to one a month, and have switched the sugary snacks for fruit, vegetables, yogurt, and granola. We find that after the meeting people feel better and don’t feel the need to nap at their desks.”   

The company owners, she adds, also held a wellness event tied to a monthly all-staff meeting, and brought in a guest speaker, Dr. Allie Mendelson, DC, from Talcott Family Chiropractic. “Mendelson is a nutritionist and hosts a radio program about healthy living,” cites Wahnon. “She came to our office and spoke about nutrition, holistic health and wellness. My associates and I enjoyed hearing the presentation and learned a lot from it.”

As a related story, Devon Francis, the wellness champion for Fiduciary Investment Advisors (FIA), shared wellness efforts underway at her company, which has 37 employees and is located in Windsor.

 “We have a corporate membership at a gym down the street from our office, and the more people that sign up, the less expensive it is for each member,” says Francis. “More than half of our employees are members, and about 10 people regularly go to the gym on their lunch hour or before or after work.  We even have a few employees who organized an informal group-fitness class after the regularly scheduled lunchtime class at the gym was canceled. They met with people from other companies in the area and followed the same type of format that the class sponsored by the gym followed.”  The class at the gym, she adds, was later reinstated, and remains a popular activity.

Francis’ company designated this past May as “Better Sleep and Mental Health Awareness month.”  For the last two weeks of the month, she says, they used an empty office as a “recharge room.”  “We set up yoga mats, a noise machine, a comfy chair, a foot massager, and provided magazines and fresh water with lemons and limes,” Francis recalls. “Employees could pay five dollars for a 20-minute break in the relaxation room, and we donated all of the money to tornado relief in Oklahoma.  It was a great opportunity for people to step back from the hustle and bustle of the day and take some time to relax and relieve stress.”

FIA also submits relay teams annually for The Hartford Marathon, a company tradition now in its tenth year. This year they’ll sponsor four teams of employees who will each complete a portion of the race. Twelve employees and their families are participating, and they raise funds to donate to CT Children’s Medical Center.

Editor’s Note:  Do you have a wellness practice or story you’d like to share? Contact Michelle Molyneux at michelle.molyneux@cbia.com.

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If you’re not enjoying the benefits of a wellness program at your company, join CBIA Healthy Connections at your company’s next renewal. It’s free as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!