My job at the health department consists of me (one registered dietitian), about 50 social workers, 4 nurses, 3 psychologists, and a few other support staff. If you could shadow me for a day you’d quickly see that it’s not the healthiest environment.
My coworkers love helping our clients but are burnt out and always on the run. In the course of a week I may see 10 total people who pack their lunch. I see a majority of folks get their breakfast and lunch from the vending machine which consists of processed, refined food (if you can call it that) along with a pop to wash it down. Many meetings are rarely without doughnuts, cakes, sweets, and/or sugary beverages. On a positive note, after being there a few months I learned that there is a great desire to pursue good health despite so many poor choices. I was being asked multiple questions each day about nutrition. The questions often get tossed in with business talk: “Hey Jess, this consumer’s diet got changed from ground to pureed. Can you do an in-service for their staff? By the way- I heard Dr. Oz talk about [enter magic formula here]. What do you think?”
I talked to my supervisor about this and got approval to start my own worksite wellness initiative. It began with weekly newsletters that addressed basic nutrition topics like hydration, artificial sweeteners, easy & healthy breakfasts, nutritious recipes, etc. This actually spurred on additional attention because I didn’t just have the folks working in my close proximity asking questions; I now had the whole department stopping by my cubicle! I decided to try out a 4-week wellness challenge in light of March being National Nutrition Month. It had an awesome turnout and people were drinking more water, eating more fruit/vegetables, and moving more. My new supervisor even told me that before she actually met me she was led to my blog through the link I include in my weekly nutrition letters. She read my “About Me” section and ended up buying a copy of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover AND she downloaded my homemade Budgeting Spreadsheet so she could start taking control of her finances! I love making an impact like this!
While everyone enjoyed pursuing better health, they may not have realized how many additional benefits lie behind their actions. From a physical standpoint- quality nutrition directly affects the brain and helps us to be more productive, enhances our mood, and helps us to think more clearly. Ever feel stumped trying to come up with an idea? Go for a short walk to the water cooler to stretch your legs and your brain will thank you for the fresh source of oxygen. From a financial standpoint, it’s estimated that companies can expect a $3 return in savings for every $1 invested in worksite wellness due to that increased productivity. If obesity is estimated to cost US companies $13 billion per year and employees tend to be motivated by incentives, don’t you think it’s worth it to invest a few bucks for the sake of our health?
Do you have a worksite wellness initiative at your company? I’d love to hear what that looks like in your comments.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.