Virgin HealthMiles, the Stop Obesity Alliance and the Institute for Health & Productivity Management Offer Tips to Help Businesses Create Healthier Workplaces

Organizations Promote Workplace Wellness as Part of June's National Employee Wellness Month

Framingham, Massachusetts, UNITED STATES


BOSTON, MA and WASHINGTON, DC and SCOTTSDALE, AZ--(Marketwire - June 10, 2010) - In tandem with June's National Employee Wellness Month, Virgin HealthMiles, the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance and the Institute for Health and Productivity Management have developed a collection of wellness resources and tools designed to help employers and employees create healthier workplaces. The collection of resources (featured at www.nationalemployeewellnessmonth.com) includes easy-to-implement workplace wellness program ideas, case studies of corporate and employee wellness innovators, whitepapers about wellness-related issues, and more. 

Creating Workplace Wellness Programs that Work
While many companies offer some sort of wellness program, according to a recent study from Business Finance magazine, two-thirds of these programs fail because employees are not engaged or adequately motivated. The National Employee Wellness Month website offers numerous ideas that have successfully motivated employees to participate in wellness programs and achieve meaningful results.

For instance, Memphis-based First Horizon National Corporation, a leading financial services company recognized as one of the nation's best employers by AARP and Working Mother magazines, offers an activity-based program to its 5,500 employees across dispersed locations. The program's measurement and accountability enables the company to incentivize employees with up to $500 per year for reaching key activity and health milestones. The company also hosts a national walk day, sponsors employees' participation in philanthropic events such as Race for the Cure, and offers motivational guest speaker and nutrition programs to teach employees how good nutrition complements physical activity as part of the wellness equation. First Horizon's program now boasts a 42 percent participation rate, significantly higher than single-digit industry standards.

New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System encourages employees who have enjoyed wellness successes to share their stories with colleagues. Ochsner's Beatriz Maldonado created a presentation, "146 Pounds Lost and Counting: Lessons from My Weight Loss Journey" for Ochsner's "Hello Health" seminar series. Nearly 600 employees attended her speech in person or by teleconference.

Additional Tips to Create Healthier Workplaces

  • Ask employees to submit wellness stories; recognize employees who have persevered and succeeded in improving their health
  • Hold "healthy brown bag lunches" with guest speakers on fitness, nutrition and healthy living
  • Organize lunchtime walking groups
  • Institute a "walk and talk" program where small meetings are held while walking
  • Hang maps detailing paths around the office conducive for walking during lunch breaks; add distances (and calories burned from those distances), or share sites like www.mapmywalk.com so employees can easily track how far they're walking
  •  Allow employees to wear sneakers/running shoes during work for the month (encourage management to do the same)
  • Promote National Employee Wellness month in paycheck inserts; ask employees to place those inserts in their work areas to remind them to get active
  • Encourage employees to pack healthy snacks from home as an alternative to vending machines
  • Bring in scales, blood pressure monitors and other measurement tools for employees to benchmark their health and progress
  • Create a "farthest spot" daily award for the employee who parks farthest from the building
  • Create a 1-week challenge asking employees to take the stairs vs. the elevator
  • Hang signs by the elevator reminding employees it's National Employee Wellness Month; encourage them to take the stairs instead

About National Employee Wellness Month
June's second annual National Employee Wellness Month is designed to help raise public awareness about the benefits of workplace wellness and how prevention in the workplace can help to improve health and combat our nation's rising healthcare costs. More than 80 U.S. companies and over 20,000 of their employees are participating in this important workplace wellness initiative. National Employee Wellness Month is sponsored by Virgin HealthMiles, in partnership with the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance and the Institute for Health & Productivity Management.

About Virgin HealthMiles, the STOP Obesity Alliance and IHPM
Virgin HealthMiles (www.virginhealthmiles.com) is an industry leading provider of employee health and activity programs that pay people to get active. Its award-winning, Pay-for-Prevention™ approach, based on physical activity and healthy lifestyle change, attracts an average of 40% of employees who participate in the program regularly, which helps organizations reduce medical costs and improve employee productivity and satisfaction.

The Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance (www.stopobesityalliance.org) is a collaboration of consumer, provider, government, labor, business, health insurers and quality-of-care organizations united to drive innovative and practical strategies that combat obesity. The Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance receives funding from its sponsors, sanofi-aventis U.S. LLC., founding sponsor, and Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc., supporting sponsor.

The Institute for Health & Productivity Management (www.ihpm.org) is a global research and development enterprise devoted to establishing the value of health in the workplace as a human capital investment that improves business performance. IHPM holds conferences around the world, conducts Academies, publishes a quarterly magazine and a peer-reviewed journal, and conducts field projects -- including several on obesity and related cardio-metabolic health risks. It works with all the stakeholders -- employers and their employees, health service providers, health plans, pharmaceutical manufacturers and governments -- to advance health and productivity management as a strategy for economic competitiveness. 

Contact Information:

MEDIA CONTACT:
Kathy Wilson
Tier One Partners
781-652-0499