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Kaiser Leads The Way With Simple In-House Strategies

Posted Feb 17 2011 12:00am
In the past, we’ve listed numerous strategies for employers to encourage healthy behaviors in the workplace, but, as we see every day, it can be a real challenge to turn words into actions. We recognize the difficulties that arise when implementing employee wellness programs, so it’s great to see prestigious, health-oriented companies like Kaiser Permanente paving the way for workplace wellness with their easily replicable, in-house plan.

A comprehensive wellness program is typically the best way to engage a workforce and motivate employees to lead healthier lives. At the same time, however, seemingly small shifts during the workday can result in a surprisingly large effect on overall employee health. Kaiser’s thinking goes: Since employees spend most of their time at work and an average of 5.5 hours per week in meetings, what better place to influence people’s behaviors than at work and during meetings? For example, just a few minutes of physical activity can increase worker satisfaction and maximize productivity in the workplace.

Physical activity does not mean strenuous exercise is compulsory. In fact, Kaiser physician, Preston Maring, recommends workers stand up and take a 5-minute stretch break mid-way through daily meetings to increase blood flow and keep the mind sharp - zero sweating required. Additionally, he has advocated for healthier food trays in all meeting rooms (featuring yogurt and fiber-rich snacks instead of donuts and pastries), and actively encouraged individual use of the free online tool Kaiser offers its employees to help them keep track of health-related behaviors. Kaiser has embraced these simple yet effective strategies to build and maintain a culture of health at work . When you talk the talk, it’s important to walk the walk and companies like Kaiser help keep the rest of us on track.
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