A Little Inspiration Leads To Healthier Workplaces

It’s an understatement to say we spend a good deal of our waking hours at work. If you’re a full-time wage earner, you spend nearly 2,100 hours per year at your workplace, not including overtime or your commute.

What you may find at work
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for a typical North Dakota worksite of 25 employees, you will find:

  • 16 are overweight or obese
  • 13 have two or more risk factors for heart disease
  • 7 have high cholesterol
  • 6 binge drink
  • 5 smoke
  • 4 have high blood pressure
  • 4 get no leisure-time activity

In North Dakota alone, businesses spend $550 million in medical costs that could be avoided if employees altered their lifestyles.

Workplaces can influence wellness
Initiatives like the BCBSND Worksite Wellness program can have a profound effect on employee health. Since 2010, we’ve provided resources and guidance to organizations so they can address specific health issues found in their workplaces.

Worksite wellness programs are often grassroots efforts, championed by a few individuals who believe in the power of better health and well-being.

Such efforts not only improve the bottom line for the workplace, but have an impact on health care utilization, too. Everyone wins—healthier employees, more productive workplaces and less burden on the North Dakota health care system.

Eventide employees are ‘owning’ wellness

One company that’s joined the worksite wellness movement is Eventide Senior Living Communities.

With four locations in North Dakota and two in Minnesota, Eventide empowers older adults to thrive through the care it provides. But providing that care is demanding work; it tends to be stressful and draining. 

Janelle Klinke came to Eventide having seen firsthand the benefits of a worksite wellness program. Her previous employer had a full-fledged wellness department. While she knew Eventide didn’t have the budget to hire a wellness professional, she hoped she could round up some grassroots interest for an employee wellness program. And she did.

In 2012, Janelle discovered the BCBSND Worksite Wellness Summit and attended along with a few co-workers. They left inspired. “We realized, okay, you don’t need to have a perfect wellness program; you just need to start doing something.”

They also attended BCBSND Gearing Up training, an intensive session in which organizations work through details necessary to begin a successful worksite wellness program.

These wellness enthusiasts brought their plan back to Eventide with a commitment to keep it going.

Janelle’s advice to others: “Don’t make your wellness program so big that your core team can’t handle it on top of their ‘normal’ jobs. You can evolve your program over time, but you have to get started.”

Evolve they did. As Janelle says, “Healthy is who we are. Wellness is a part of everything we do.” Today, their program includes:

  • A redesigned mother’s room
  • A fitness center, made possible through a grant
  • A gradual switch to healthy vending options
  • Healthier menu choices at the grill
  • Bringing a farmers market onsite
  • Mini wellness events and an annual wellness fair
  • Take Ten wellness breaks

Mutual inspiration
Eventide began their robust worksite wellness program with a flame that was fanned by BCBSND. But it’s what they did with the information that inspires us to push beyond what you’d typically expect from an insurance company and pave the way for a healthier state.

Watch a video about one of Eventide’s wellness initiatives, Take Ten.