February 2013

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work up the ladder Healthy Habits Promoting wellness can be simple and quick! Here, Lafler shares a few ways you can make your workplace a healthy oasis A Well Workplace Get fit together: Start by chatting with employees and gauging interest. For example, if everyone likes yoga, consider a lunchtime yoga class in the office. If the company can���t afford to foot the bill, employees might be willing to chip in for the ease of having it in office. By Meagan Parrish Sit prettier: Being plopped in front of computers all day can wreak havoc on any body. So consider bringing in an expert to do a training session on ergonomics���the sessions can be designed to teach employees how to sit properly, and lift heavy objects safely, which can help prevent fatigue and injury. Workplace wellness is a buzz-worthy topic that has spread like fire through the business world. ���Most companies in Madison���if they���re not doing wellness, they���re at least talking about it,��� explains Debra Lafler, who teaches wellness management through UW Extension and is a wellness coordinator at Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin. Yet, many companies still don���t know where to start. And if you���re in a small business, getting a wellness program up and running is no small accomplishment. But no matter how many resources your company has, Lafler says promoting health in the workplace doesn���t have to be complicated. And getting the right plan in motion is all about taking the right first steps. What are the main components of a robust wellness program? The Wellness Council of America has outlined seven benchmarks to creating a successful program. This strategy starts with capturing CEO support, creating teams, and collecting data about what would be the most effective health initiatives for your company, then creating those outcomes and evaluating results. How beneficial can this be to a company���s bottom line? Studies have shown that in companies with well-designed plans, the cost-benefit ratio can be as high as a $3 return for every $1 investment. These studies look at health care costs, absenteeism rates, disabilities, time-off costs and more. Then there���s employee engagement with the company. Recruitment and retention rates also have been tied to robust workplace wellness programs. Why don���t more companies start wellness programs? I think they feel like they don���t have time or money. It���s hard for companies to trust that that return is coming, especially when you need someone to manage it. But it can be totally doable with the right direction and support. 32 BRAVA Magazine February 2013 Make hand sanitizer readily available: It���s fast, it���s cheap, and in the midst of flu season everyone will appreciate how this small gesture can go a long way in keeping nasty illnesses at bay. Eat smarter: Work is often where we indulge in sweets or have parties, so be mindful of the food you���re bringing in or ordering. Remember, if you can you order healthier options it helps keep everyone���s energy up. Make work a resource for better health: Bring in health workers to do screenings or risk assessments of important illnesses to keep health on everyone���s mind. And go through health care plans with employees to make sure they understand all of their benefits���discounts to gyms and compensation for lifestyle changes are sometimes included in their plans. Photo by Sarah Maughan From mega corporations to small businesses, Debra Lafler helps turn the goal of workplace wellness into a daily reality

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