Employee fitness contributes to overall wellness

Controversy erupted in Hartford last week when gym equipment for employees to exercise was installed in a lunchroom. This step toward improving the health and fitness of city employees sparked outrage among several city council members.

Many companies and municipalities have been instituting health and wellness programs in an effort to control skyrocketing health costs. Results have shown that any investment in fitness yields benefits including decreased absenteeism, reduced medical costs and better morale.

In challenging economic times, wellness and other forms of preventive care should be viewed as a necessity rather than a luxury.

Several local employers, both large and small, provide a variety of opportunities aimed at keeping their work force healthy. Programs include smoking cessation and stress management, along with onsite fitness centers and discounted gym memberships.

The Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics provides multiple programs for employees.

“Maintaining and staffing an onsite fitness center is only part of our comprehensive health and wellness strategy,” said Alvin Ayers, Director of Health, Wellness and Disability Benefits.

Since 1985, EB has had a fully equipped fitness center open 24/7 and staffed by fitness specialists. Approximately 700 employees regularly utilize the facility that includes cardio and resistance equipment. Other programs include yoga, aerobics and nutrition. EB’s proactive commitment to health has paid off in morale and fitness of the workforce according to Ayers.

Dime Savings Bank provides a fitness facility at its main branch in Norwich but faces the challenge of involving employees at other branches in wellness programs.

“Dime provides discounted local gym memberships for all employees, as well as sponsoring competitive fitness challenges among the various branches,” reports Cheryl Calderado, Senior Vice President for Administration at Dime.

Frequently used fitness equipment is always a good investment, especially in tough economic times. If your company has a fitness center or unique approach to wellness, contact me at aalessi@wwbh.org.

1 comment:

Carl R. Mailhot, PT said...

There are many companies that are making significant efforts to enhance their employee health and reduce risk of injury through health, wellness and safety programs. These efforts and the commitment for long term benefits to assist employees reach a higher level of health and wellness have become part of the companies mission.One such program is run by Northeast Utilities and has been embraced by local CL&P and Yankee Gas divisions here in the eastern CT. Pre-shift stretching programs, health and wellness education and safety awareness programs are part of the ongoing commitment by N.U. to make sure team members are taking steps to improve and maintain their health and abilities to perform their jobs safely and keep them attentive to preforming those steps necessary to leave work in good health and promote healthy habits at home as well. ECRC-Physical Therapy has been providing leadership and assistance with this effort by leading pre shift exercise programs, educating team members and providing work site assessments for the Plainfield and Danielson offices of CL&P and Yankee Gas starting in Oct 2007. Team members have access to the on-site Physical Therapist to consult on appropriate exercises and activities to promote strength and flexibility in performing job tasks, work site ergonomics, assessment of symptoms that may affect performance of work tasks and serve as a resource on health and wellness issues.