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One small step for employees, one giant leap toward wellness

Posted by Natalie Spindle on Apr 4, 2017 04:17 PM

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If you want to build dependable employees, improve their morale, and challenge their competitive spirit, a wellness program could be just the ticket.

To balance the stress of ever-present deadlines and production demands, we set out to create a company wellness program that would help employees stay healthy, centered and calm throughout the year. With the support of the Brunet-García partners, Christy Schell, our human resource and compliance manager, is leading the company in structuring a robust and fulfilling wellness program for staff in Jacksonville, Tampa, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. I sat down with Christy to learn more about the motivation behind the Brunet-García wellness program.

For starters, why is it important for companies to invest in a wellness program?

Wellness programs further the idea that our company truly wants to invest in how each person feels when they come to work and go home at the end of the day. They help with retention too, because who wouldn't want to stick around a company that supports your physical well-being in addition to your professional goals? Here at Brunet-García, we want to be living proof of our mission to make meaningful change in the lives of others.

Keeping employees healthy benefits all of us by reducing health costs related to chronic illness and reducing the likelihood of sick days. By investing in stipends for gym memberships, running clubs, or fitness classes, Brunet-García is building a more dependable work force. I also feel that friendly competition helps to boost morale and connects employees that might not typically work together on a day-to-day basis.  It’s nice to have to support of your peers as you work toward meeting a new fitness goal or trying a new activity.

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What is Brunet-García doing for their employees?

Brunet-García is offering several unique components to our wellness program. It started 12 years ago with a partnership with local trainers Michael Walker and Chris DeRoo at Cross Training San Marco. Employees in our Jacksonville office have long had access lunchtime cross train class within walking distance from our main office. In November, 2016, we engaged in a corporate partnership with the YMCA to offer gym memberships to employees and their families through our membership subsidy program, this also includes an alternate stipend for those who wanted to continue with a gym they already enjoy going to in the area. We have a walk/run program, which includes financial subsidies for a 5K walk/run event each quarter. Seven employees recently took advantage of this and completed the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, Florida. Additionally, we created a wellness committee, a voluntary group of staff members, to come up with fun quarterly fitness challenges and activities to interest employees and keep things fresh.

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What does your first wellness challenge of 2017 look like?

We enlisted staff at all office locations to join a steps challenge to see who could get the most steps during the first quarter of the year. Once participants signed up, they received a Fitbit fitness tracker or they could upgrade a personal Fitbit device. We established the Brunet-García group on Fitbit.com, so that we could all see our progress and spy on the competition during the past few months. Our winner by a landslide was our controller, Thrude Legg, who walked more than 600,000 steps! Our team walked a combined total of more than eight million steps during this challenge.

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Any advice for businesses looking to kick off a wellness program?

Businesses really do not need to invest a lot of time and resources to create a good wellness program. Start by developing some basic goals for the program, communicate to your employee base, and get them engaged. Simple things like instituting walking meetings, utilizing standing desks, and creating fun employee challenges can help foster a healthy work environment. Also, consider setting up rewards programs; incentives can be inexpensive and encourage participation. Be sure to get buy in from your leadership team and involve co-workers in the planning process. We are fortunate that the partners of Brunet-García already had a great foundation laid to build up such a great wellness program! All of our team has been very receptive to the ideas we come up with in our wellness committee and its been a great morale booster for all employees.