Manufacturing a Healthier Workplace

If you’re a small employer, raising awareness about health, wellness and fitness typically isn’t a full-time job, and likely isn’t on the top of your priority list. Most business owners agree that staff and individual health and wellness are important goals, but achieving those goals takes time, work, and commitment. Many companies get there slowly, and understand that wellness is a marathon, not a sprint.

Pinto Manufacturing in Glastonbury, Connecticut, is a machine shop specializing in aerospace parts. This 12-person company joined CBIA Health Connections three years ago. Owner Bob Pinto named Joseph Marino, his office manager, their wellness champion. It was a good fit for Marino, who was already interested in improving his health, stayed active, and saw his new role as additional incentive as well as an opportunity to help his co-workers. But he was realistic, and knew things weren’t going to change overnight.

“Becoming the wellness champion worked for me, because I already was focused on health, and this gave me an extra boost,” Marino recalls. “I encouraged our guys to complete their online assessments, and started placing articles and printed copies of CBIA Healthy Connections in the break room. Several of us looked into gyms and different kinds of fitness classes. I never was a ‘gym guy,’ so I’m taking boxing classes with another Pinto employee, another guy is learning rock climbing, and others go to gyms. Some of us tried fitness ‘boot camps,’ then settled into whatever venue we liked best.  Fitness is personal, and people are motivated for their own reasons, and on their own timetables.”

The Amazon gift card, which is sent to everyone who completes the program’s online health assessment, was a useful “carrot,” Marino says, and a commitment from the boss helps keep wellness an ongoing topic of conversation. “Bob is very supportive, and we’ve talked many times about how staying active keeps the blood flowing, so to speak, and helps us all remain focused and healthier, which is good individually and for the Company. We promote the fitness message as possible,” Marino adds. “When the weather’s good, we now see guys outside walking during breaks and at lunchtime.”

Brian Pinto is the company sales manager. He acknowledges that having a formal effort, even though it’s loosely structured, is producing positive results, and that people are thinking about their health and taking steps that weren’t in place before the CBIA Healthy Connections wellness program was initiated. His father, Bob Pinto, agrees.

“I’m almost 70, and have always been focused on maintaining my health,” Pinto explains. I go to the gym as often as possible, lift weights, and walk two miles three or four times a week. I had set a personal goal of achieving 50 pushups every morning, which I’ve now reached, and lost 16 pounds. We spoke with our entire staff when we got started, and I know many of them are now more active. When people are inactive, they get sick and can get hurt more easily, so there’s a business incentive, as well. But ultimately, success is self-determined, and starts with awareness. It’s mostly about trying to make something happen and ensuring it’s part of the larger conversations regarding quality, safety and productivity.”

Marino reflects that they still enjoy doughnuts at some team meetings, but that people understand that wellness is a long-term strategy, and there’s room for compromise. “When I started this assignment, I posted a ‘wellness champion’ sign on my desk, and took some good-natured ribbing for it,” Marino remembers. “But over time we’re definitely seeing changes, whether it’s small things like people snacking on apples instead of chips, or getting outside to walk during breaks. It’s a good bonding experience and a smart decision personally, as well as for the business.”  

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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!