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Aug . 2017

How To Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle in the Workplace

  • by Julie Ferguson
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  • with 0 Comment
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  • in Uncategorized

Want to encourage a healthy lifestyle in your workplace? Be the change you want to see. Leadership is key. Here are wellness management tips to foster success.

schooll of fish with a lead fish as a metaphor to encourage a healthy lifestyle

If you want to encourage a a healthy lifestyle in your organization, it takes building a culture of wellness. And we can’t overemphasize the importance of management commitment to wellness program success: without the active endorsement and involvement of senior leaders, any wellness initiative will produce mediocre results at best.

Imagine any other key goal or initiative your organization might have: Opening a new plant, introducing a new product, boosting sales by 5% … collectively, your organization would rally to meet the goal. Your vision would be shared and resources allocated; your leadership team would know the goal and would understand the roles and responsibilities associated with reaching the goal. Managers would convey the goal to their teams and rally/motivate team members to work to the goal. You would track progress to achieving the goal.

Working to encourage a healthy lifestyle among your employees and an organizational culture of health, safety and wellness is no different. The management leadership team should:

  • Provide the leadership, vision and inspiration. How does health, wellness & safety tie into to your organizational mission, and why it is important value for your organization
  • Include health, safety & wellness in the core value statement
  • Allocate the budget and resources to support the wellness program
  • Create conditions and policies that will foster success
  • Health, safety & wellness goals should be a written part of the annual goals and a part of any annual and organization-wide meetings
  • Metrics should be in place to track progress to goals
  • Progress should be reported in annual organizational performance statistics
  • Recognition and reward programs should be in place
  • Managers and supervisors should understand their roles and responsibilities, and be trained in any wellness benefits and programs
  • Model the behavior by walking the talk

Workplace policies that encourage healthy lifestyles, a supportive environment that provides opportunities to practice and reinforce healthy behaviors, a safe working environment free of workplace hazards, and a strong employee leadership network to manage the program. Creating and implementing these types of policies and environmental supports in the organization necessarily requires leadership from senior managers and strong cross-functional collaboration outside of the traditional structures for workplace health, safety, and wellness.”  Source: Model Wellness Guide, Massachusetts Department of Public

Supervisors and managers are the front line connection to the work force and should be champions, facilitors and leaders of the wellness program. They should be trained and given the tools for successfully helping their teams to achieve success.

  • Understand the benefit and become conversant in promoting it
  • Be thoroughly aware of available wellness resources, schedules, events and promos
  • Start meetings with brief health, wellness & safety themes
  • Build in/encourage short wellness breaks for standing, stretching, office walk-abouts, etc.
  • Participate in the program. Show up. Walk the talk.
  • Model healthy behaviors by holding walking meetings, sharing stress management tips, having healthy snacks at meetings
  • Talk it up. Watch for appropriate opportunities to make referrals to the wellness program

For more tips on how management can encourage a healthy lifestyle in your organization, see our tools & resources in our Wellness Program Insights series.

Aug . 2017

7 Reasons You Should Shop Local Farmers Markets During Growing Season

  • by Julie Ferguson
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  • with 0 Comment
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  • in Nutrition and Diet

Shopping at local farmers markets can offer a healthy nutrition boost to your diet while also supporting your local community. Plus, they are fun!

fruits and vegetables at a farmers market

There are few joys in summer greater than snacking on just-picked berries or biting into a farm-fresh juicy tomato or ear of corn. And the perfect way to enjoy all that the season has to offer in nutritional goodness is to make it a habit to visit your local Farmers Markets during the growing season. Eating a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits can help you lower your risk for heart disease and some types of cancer, maintain or reach a healthy weight and keep your body strong and active. But there are many other benefits too. Here are seven reasons why you should shop local Farmers Markets during growing season:

1. The fruits and vegetables are very fresh! You can’t get any fresher than farm to table produce. Most of the fruits and vegetables sold at Farmers Markets were picked that day, or within a day or two. Contrast that with supermarket fruits and veggies that are shipped cross country, or shipped from other countries. It’s estimated that the average American meal travels 1500 miles to get from farm to table. (source)

2. The produce is at peak flavor and nutrition.
The fresher the produce, the better the taste. Plus, just-picked produce contains maximum nutrients and vitamins. To transport fruit and vegetables over long distances, they are often picked unripe and then gassed to “ripen” it after transport. (source)

3. It’s a good way to up your fruit and veggie intake. Nutritionists suggest that a healthy diet should include five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, but this is a case where more is better. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Eating fruits and vegetables adds nutrients to diets, reduces the risk for heart disease, stroke, and some cancers, and helps manage body weight when consumed in place of more energy-dense foods.”

4. You have access to expert produce advice. Growers are experts in the fruits and vegetables that they grow. Most are glad to share expert tips on storage and preparation of their fare. You might even get a few expert tips for planting your next season’s garden!

5. Pricing is comparable and often lower to the chain stores.
There’s a frequent assumption that produce from farmers markets is more expensive than from a big grocery store shopping but studies show this is generally a myth. (source) Seasonality and location may affect pricing – smaller Farmers Markets tend to be cheaper than big ones. And even when produce does cost a little more, see #1 and #2.

6. Supporting your local community. Growers are small local businesses and job creators, so supporting local farms offers tax and job benefits to your local community. Plus, American farmers get 15.6 cents per dollar spent in the grocery, but farmers markets allow the grower to earn more of the food dollar – most of which they reinvest locally. (Source)

7. It’s a green thing to do. Supporting local farms keeps them viable and preserves natural green space in your community. Buying more food locally also takes much less of an environmental toll: food that is transported over long distances requires fuel consumption and related environmental costs.

Here are two sources to find Farmers Markets near you: Local Harvest Farmers Markets and the National Farmers Market Directory.

Here are some tips for making the most of your local Farmers Market shopping day:

  • Know what’s in season.
  • Comparison shop. Browse through all tables and stalls before buying to compare variety, quality and price.
  • Bring cash in small bills and your own tote bags.
  • Go early in the day for the widest and freshest selection.
  • Go late in the day for bargains.
  • Talk to the buyers – tap into their expertise.
  • Bring your kids. It’s fun and exposing kids to fresh foods at a young age can start a lifelong healthy habit.
  • If you’d like to combine healthy, local produce with a bit of exercise, why not visit a local Pick Your Own Farm?

Bonus tip: If you are a Member of ESI Total Care Wellness, you can call a certified nutrition coach for one-to-one nutrition planning to incorporate more fruit and vegetables in your diet!

Aug . 2017

Ramp Up Participation in Your Corporate Wellness Program

  • by Julie Ferguson
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  • with 0 Comment
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  • in program management, Tools

There are many reasons why corporate wellness programs fail to generate the employee engagement that employers hope for: the program may be poorly designed, incentives may be misaligned or sometimes, there simply isn’t enough buy-in....Read More

Jul . 2017

9 Reasons Why Employee Wellness Programs Fail

  • by Julie Ferguson
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  • with 0 Comment
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  • in Research

So you introduced a wellness benefit and are disappointed with the results. Maybe our coaches and counselors can help: we asked them to tell us why employee wellness programs fail. Here's what they said: 1. Insufficient....Read More

Jul . 2017

How Nutrition Coaching Can Increase Productivity and Employee Satisfaction

  • by Julie Ferguson
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  • with 0 Comment
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  • in Nutrition and Diet

Nutrition coaching can bolster employee productivity. When employees eat right and feel healthy, they are more energetic and less susceptible to illness. Let's face it - most people don't know the ins and outs of good nutrition.....Read More

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