Workplace Wellness Works

by UnityPoint Health – Peoria

Wellness is a great way to impact the health of your employees… and attract top talent.

For years, questions have abounded regarding the necessity and effectiveness of workplace wellness programs in attracting new employees, retaining current employees, and whether or not they would even participate. A recent Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health article answered the question this way: “It depends.”

The Impact of Self-Care
More than 50 percent of large employers offer some kind of workplace wellness programming. While success is dependent upon far too many variables to discuss here, it might sound something like this: “I feel very fortunate to work for an institution that is proactive in helping me manage my health, and even rewards me for taking care of myself,” says Rae Lynn Williams, Assistant Manager, CPPM, UP Rheumatology/MD VIP at UnityPoint Health – Peoria. “I believe a healthier workforce creates better patient satisfaction.”

Some workplace wellness programs work and some don’t. It’s that simple. Still, promoting wellness is a great way to impact the health of your employees, volunteers and their families, and for those who do participate, the benefits are indisputable. They often see reductions in risk factors such as smoking and obesity, as well as an increase in exercise, changes in nutrition, better eating habits and a greater interest in health education.

“Being able to use an on-site wellness center is an important work-life balance, emphasizing self-care,” adds Tony Schierbeck, Vice President of Community Accounts and Government Relations. “It is beneficial for me to have knowledgeable staff to answer questions or tailor a fitness program to help meet my individual needs. OnPoint for Health offers a variety of programs, such as group fitness, to help me keep on track with my personal goals.”

Achieving Your Goals
OnPoint for Health is an interactive online resource to assist UnityPoint employees in achieving their wellness goals. It provides a broad range of programs and resources to help guide participants and offer a multitude of opportunities and incentives. We believe it is our responsibility to promote and model a healthy lifestyle in both the workplace and the community.

“I like to think I live a healthy lifestyle, but OnPoint for Health shows me areas I can always improve on,” says Matthew Hwang, RN. “It also gives me that extra push to run an extra mile, set up a well overdue doctor's appointment, and even floss! These programs should be common to all hospitals, and I'm glad we have them.”

UnityPoint is fortunate to have comprehensive fitness centers on both campuses, a pool at the Methodist campus, an outdoor fitness trail on the Proctor campus, and extensive fitness and health education classes at each location. Understandably, smaller businesses may not be in a position to provide such facilities, yet creative, inexpensive programs do exist—and we can help.

The Wellness Center at Methodist provides many health and fitness classes and programs that are open to the public. Small businesses may find it a benefit to make these opportunities available to their employees. WellPower is one such program. Over the course of 12 weeks, it safely and effectively guides participants on their weight loss journey by including all aspects of weight management: nutrition, fitness, self-exploration and mind-body connection.

Investing in Employees
Some businesses that have integrated employee wellness programs into their culture have reported increased productivity, reduced absences, reduced accidents, fewer turnovers and an improved ability to attract top talent. In addition, there are some reports of medical expenses growing more slowly, as well as financial benefits and improvements in employee health indicators. Is this true of all businesses that provide employee wellness programs and resources? No… it depends.

However, we believe it is incumbent upon us—not only as a business, but especially because of our business—to advocate for healthy lifestyles and reductions in detrimental risk factors. Today, the best and brightest employees are looking for a home, not just a job. Providing them an opportunity to work—and work out—is a pretty nice employee benefit, and one with mutual benefits. While arguments fly about in the discussion of wellness programs, employee retention is a growing concern for all businesses. In our experience, investing in employees encourages employees to stay. Wellness is one such investment. iBi

For more information about WellPower, or to discuss other employee wellness opportunities, contact Michelle Williams, Manager, Employee Health and Wellness, UnityPoint Health – Peoria at michelle.williams@unitypoint.org or call (309) 672-4963.

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