By Carol Morrison, Manager of Outreach Programs and Services
Hello, I’m Carol Morrison and I run BWC’s Workplace Wellness Grant Program (WWGP). My own experience trying to lead a healthier lifestyle through workplace wellness activities prepared me to participate on a team to develop the WWGP.
Here is some of what I experienced in my workplace wellness journey. BWC’s Division of Safety & Hygiene relocated from the William Green Building in downtown
Columbus, Ohio to Pickerington, Ohio in the summer of 1995. I knew that I would miss the downtown location on many levels, with the exception of the traffic and the parking. For me, the downtown location provided an abundance of restaurant choices all within walking distance, which gave me ample opportunity to not only get out from behind my desk, but to get my 10,000 steps in.
Fast forward a few years at the Pickerington facility. Unfortunately, only a handful of restaurant choices are within safe walking distance. So instead of having an end goal of getting my steps in by walking to restaurants, the end goal became just to walk so we would walk the neighborhoods surrounding the facility. Several of my colleagues decided to map out the steps and miles in the neighborhoods.
The next wellness activity I was introduced to was yoga. We were very fortunate to have a certified yoga instructor on staff who offered 30-45 minute yoga sessions during our lunch. This type of activity helped me relieve stress from the day and continue on rejuvenated.
Over the years we found that friendly competitions in walking and things like WII bowling got people up and moving. This not only promoted interest in wellness activities but built camaraderie among different departments.
For me, the common thread among all of the above activities was that I felt I was doing something good for myself. But that was not enough. I was not purposely addressing health risks identified through completing a biometric screening, nor was I attempting to modify behaviors as a result of a health risk appraisal, which constitutes a comprehensive wellness program.
Eventually the state initiated a wellness program. For the last 5 years I have participated in our “Take Charge, Live Well” workplace wellness program, participating not only in activities but also completing the yearly health risk appraisal and biometric screening. This has taught me that the screening, which includes measurement of physical characteristics like height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure and a blood draw that tells you your cholesterol and sugar levels is necessary to choose wellness activities. Same holds true with the health risk appraisal, which assesses behaviors that impact your health. All this had changed the way I live my life. I joined a gym, I eat healthier, and I still count my steps.
My wellness journey let me see the overall impact wellness activities have on employees, and helped me be able to join a team to create and run BWC’s WWGP. The program gives the gift of wellness to employees across the state whose employers realize the benefits of a wellness program to their employees and their business.
For more information on the grant program, click here. https://www.bwc.ohio.gov/employer/programs/safety/WellnessGrants.asp
If you are an employee, and your employer offers a wellness program, my question for you is are you participating? Are you fully engaged in the program? Or are you doing enough just to feel good?
If you are an employer, are you offering a Workplace Wellness program for your employees? If not, why not?