More Than 200 Attend Worksite Wellness Summit In Bismarck

More than 200 attendees learned more about fostering healthier workplaces during Worksite Wellness Summit West in Bismarck on Tuesday, May 3.

The summit included interactive presentations, a vendor fair, workplace success stories and expert panels and is spearheaded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota’s Wellness team and statewide Worksite Wellness coordinator Pete Seljevold.

Vendor Fair
Attendees of the Worksite Wellness Summit West in Bismarck on Tuesday, May 4, test out ergonomic office equipment at the vendor fair.

Keynote speaker Tonya Vyhlidal, director of WorkWell and the Nebraska Safety Council, focused on the difference between health and overall wellbeing.

“Employers need to focus on the overall wellbeing of employees, which is multidimensional and all encompassing,” Vyhlidal said.

She went on to add that there are several factors that make up overall wellbeing:
Obesity, diabetes and inactivity continue to rise across the country, and workplaces that produce high levels of stress have a direct correlation with obesity.

Attendees gather in the main conference area at Worksite Wellness Summit West on Tuesday, May 4, in Bismarck.

Sedentary work has increased in the workplace and now accounts for 43 percent of all U.S. jobs. Plus, sedentary adults pay $1,500 more per year in health care costs than physically active adults.

An obese adult who is physically active is less risky than an adult with “normal” weight who is not physically active.

“We are also dealing with expanded work hours,” Vyhlidal said. “The average work week was 40 hours in 1976, and today it is more than 50 hours per week on average. A lot of this is due to the virtual workplace we live in today, where we are checking our email beyond the typical work hours and rarely ‘unplug.’”

Vyhlidal also added that 40 percent of job turnover is related to stress, and stress and sleep deprivation has a large impact on our ability to make decisions.

Dr. Jo
Dr. JoAnne Owens-Nauslar walks around the room during her keynote talk about adding physical activity into the workplace.

Move to improve
Another speaker, Dr. JoAnne Owens-Nauslar (also known as “Dr. Jo”), president and chief administrative officer of Fitness is Living, focused on bringing energy to the workplace.

“Our human resources are our most valuable resources,” Owens-Nauslar said. “Employers need to make sure employees feel valued.”

One solution to creating a workplace where employees feel valued is “engineer physical activity into our lives,” she said. “Move to improve.”

Owens-Nausler added in her presentation that not every situation can be controlled, but how people react to those situations can be improved by moving, focusing on personal energy and how they approach each and every day.

The event also included a panel discussion with three North Dakota organizations that have implemented successful worksite wellness programs: Spectrum Aeromed, Bismarck Public Schools and Bobcat/Doosan.

More information about our North Dakota Worksite Wellness program and future summits and conferences can be found here.

Lonna Whiting is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.