The Supportive Workplace
Nicole Lehr | Scrubs Magazine
August 23, 2010
As the end to summertime draws near, I find myself dreading the impending cold weather and shorter daylight hours. The combination of the two usually results in a decreased drive to exercise on days that I work because my routine of running post workday in daylight that extends to 9pm is interrupted by chilly temperatures and sunsets prior to 6pm. Kindly enough, my workplace has instituted some options just to appease my complaints with Mother Nature (okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a tad) that encourage us outdoor-loving folk to keep in shape in the winter months.
Children’s introduced the Strong For Life initiative about two years ago with catchy t-shirts that read “Strong Enough (front) To Care Enough (back).” Nobody knew at first exactly what to expect from this brand new get fit through work campaign. Details were released over the course of several months that led to a nationally-recognized and widely-embraced initiative offered for employees as a way to get in shape with options to subsequently chart your progress.
Comprehensive health screenings are offered at various times throughout the year that include weight checks, blood pressure readings, cholesterol and glucose screenings, BMI calculations and an overall assessment of nutritional status with opportunities for questions to be answered by screening personnel. Everyone was encouraged to set up a Strong For Life profile that allows you to track your screenings and measurements, answer a questionnaire that creates recommendations on what lifestyle changes to make based on areas that make you high-risk for certain preventable conditions and diseases.
The site also encourages daily involvement with options such as calorie counting, healthy recipes and an exercise log. As an incentive, employees receive a discount of $10/month on our health insurance if we update our profile on a yearly basis.
Another concept that has been widely accepted and promoted throughout the workplace is the pedometer. Every employee (clinical and non-clinical) was awarded a pedometer to wear on their shoe that automatically updates the amount of steps you take to your online profile. I found this to be extremely amusing to see how many miles I work on a busy day shift and found myself taking the stairs more and the long way to my car just to get in those extra few steps. The hospital even went so far as to tap in to our competitive natures by making each department compete against one another to see who could tread the most steps. The pedometers even work at home and upload the data upon return to work so exercising at home is encouraged as well.
Children’s has offered discounted weight watchers memberships with weekly meetings held at the hospital campuses, encouraging camaraderie amongst co-workers that are weighing in next to you. A major overhaul of the cafeteria was recently completed with now healthier food options including fresh fruit all day and a huge salad bar. There are also opportunities for buying weekly baskets of farm-fresh produce set up through Children’s.