Building a Culture of Health in the Workplace

One of the most important elements of a worksite wellness program is building a healthy internal environment. Working adults spend more waking hours at work than anywhere else; it only makes sense that work is seen as the place to foster healthy habits.

That’s why we’re proud to promote our Wellness Lives Here Health Champion program. This year, three companies who received our Healthy Worksite Designation build health in the workplace every day—literally, in their role as manufacturers, and figuratively, as Health Champion designees.

Tocci employees with their raised garden.

Tocci Building Corporation, with 45 employees in Woburn, MA, grows vegetables and herbs in their raised bed garden. “This helps get employees outdoors, reduces stress and promotes healthy eating,” said Tammi Gott, Chairwoman of Tocci’s Wellness Committee. “Wellness is valued at Tocci.”

In addition, Tocci employees participate in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, in which Tocci picks up portions of seasonal vegetables at a local farm and distributes them to participating employees. “Our company newsletter has recipes that feature the weekly CSA’s vegetables,” said Gott. “The recipes also come with shopping lists to help busy people who don’t have much time to go grocery shopping.”

Gray Construction, a Lexington, KY-based company with 400 employees, has implemented a Healthy Market, which includes fresh food items such as fruit, yogurt, salads, soups, sandwiches and healthy drink alternatives. “We removed the traditional vending machines several years ago,” said Susan Brewer. “We encourage people to visit the Healthy Market for healthy food/drink options and offer fresh fruit and nuts for free.”

Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, is the largest industrial employer in Virginia and the largest shipbuilding company in the United States with approximately 20,000 current employees. At NNS, onsite healthcare professionals provide an array of services to employees including guidance to healthy eating selections.

Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Gabrielle Willis leads a cooking demo for NNS employees in honor of National Nutrition Month. Photo credit: Matt Hildreth

“We have a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) on staff who works with employees on nutrition and healthy eating,” said Amy Iveson, Corporate Manager for Health and Wellness Strategy. “Our onsite family health center also has certified diabetes educators (CDEs) who provide diabetes education and support.”

Newport News Shipbuilding also uses food trucks to support a healthier eating environment. “The food trucks that service the shipyard are all required to have a ‘healthy choice’ option under 600 calories available on the menu every day,” said Iveson.

In addition to nutrition, these companies have built physical activity into the way of life at their workplaces.

Midday onsite workouts have become part of the culture at Tocci. Their Woburn office has a gym with various workout equipment, and utilizes their training room for group fitness classes. “We offer workout classes three times a week”, said Gott. “Our Unleashed Fitness, resistance training, and yoga classes aim to keep our employees healthy, active, and stress-free.” These classes help cultivate our values of wellness and nutrition, as employees have created their own workout initiatives, including Tuesday Running Club, Zumba Friday, and outdoor walking meetings.

Gray employees work out at a pit stop of the GrayMazing Race.

Gray has constructed some competition into their healthy worksite culture. “We have the GrayMazing Race, which consists of teams of two competing in a scavenger hunt throughout downtown Lexington,” said Brewer. “This three-mile route requires teams to complete a physical challenge at each location in order to receive their clue to get to the next stop.”

All three of these companies have shown a commitment to wellness by weaving nutrition and physical activity into the fabric of their culture. Interested in getting your workplace involved? Learn how we can help your company build a healthy work culture by visiting wellnessliveshere.org.

Corporate Recognition – Thank you to our national sponsor, Sun Life Financial, one of the largest group benefits providers, serving more than 60,000 employers in workplaces across the country. Sun Life is committed to the fight against diabetes with the goal of creating a healthier workforce and empowering people to protect what they love most in their lives.

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