April 11, 2017    

Working on Wellness Newsletter

Assessing the Health and Safety 
Needs and Interests of Employees  

Once you have secured management  buy-in  for your worksite wellness initiative, it's time to get to know your employee health risks, safety needs, and wellness preferences. Which health risks are most prevalent? What activities and health topics are of interest to employees? The information gathered during this assessment step will help to ensure that the wellness initiative is beneficial to both the employees and the employer. The key is to tailor your initiative to the diverse needs and interests of your workforce. One size does not fit all - engage your employees in this process to determine which health and safety topics are of importance and interest. 

Tips for Success:
  1. Assess the health needs and interests of employees. Administer an Employee Needs and Interest Survey to evaluate the wellness interests and health risks of employees. The information gathered is instrumental in making changes to the workplace. In addition, this survey helps to give employees a sense of ownership and involvement in the decision-making process.                                                              
  2. Assess the work environment. Evaluate the health culture and conduct an environmental scan of the workplace and the working conditions. This will help you understand the physical factors at or near the worksite that support or hinder employee health and safety. During this process, be sure to inventory and evaluate existing programs and policies that are relevant to safety, health, and well-being.                                                                                                                             
  3. Understand your employee population. Assess the demographics and worker characteristics of your employee population. Look at key variables including age, gender, raceethnicity, training, education, income level, and cultural background. In addition, look at the various job functions and the nature of the work being performed to help understand the influences of physical work conditions on health.                                                                                                                             
  4. Promote employee participation and engagement. Engage all workers, including those involved with daily operations as well as supervisory, in identifying safety and health issues. This will help ensure that employees feel involved in the worksite wellness initiative instead of being just recipients of services. This creates a shared commitment to creating a work environment that values and promotes worker health, safety and well-being.                                                             
  5. Control hazards and exposures. Controlling exposures to chemical hazards and toxic substances is fundamental method of protecting workers. The goal is to know what work activities may pose a risk in your workplace to understand the nature of the harm that could be caused by the hazards and exposures. 
The Healthy Workplaces Toolbox: Toolbox Highlight
To help you begin the process of assessing your organization's employees and environment, Working on Wellness  offers   a number of tools and resources available to you. 


Collecting the right type of data at regular intervals allows decision-makers to identify, track, and monitor importantranging from employee health status to productivity. The Data Sources Table was created to help you and other decision-makers think through how to capture appropriate data to build and frame your wellness efforts.

The number of employees who work away from the office, in remote or home- based offices, continues to grow. You may need to plan a wellness initiative that extends beyond your physical workplace. The Wellness Program Considerations for Remote Employees guidance document helps you think specifically about your remote workers and how to incorporate ways to make them feel included and valued.
Participant Highlight- Lynn Economic Opportunity, Inc. 

Lynn Economic Opportunity, Inc. (LEO) is a community action agency based in Lynn, Massachusetts. With   120 employees, LEO works to alleviate the immediate impact of poverty, while providing pathways to financial stability for individuals  and  families, and the strength of the greater community of Lynn and its surrounding towns.    
LEO joined   Working on Wellness   in March 2016. With the help of the   Working on Wellness   team, LEO used the Working on Wellness Needs and Interests Survey to identify   the  most important  issues for  their employees. To engage their staff in completing their survey, LEO found  collaborating with   department supervisors to be effective.  Supervisors made time blocks throughout the day for staff to complete the survey.  M ost of their employees work in childcare centers  and indicated that they didn't have regular   access to  computer . These time blocks   helped   supervisors   ensur e   that   staff were  able to  complet e  the survey,  but   still  maintain  necessary  student- teacher   ratios . This  thoughtful planning ,  coupled with  efforts to communicate the importance  of  the Needs and Interest Survey via email and bulletin board postings, allowed  LEO to achieve a survey completion rate of 76%.   
With th e   data from this  survey , LEO's wellness committee  created a plan  to focus their wellness programming and policies:    
Support employees in increasing their amount of daily physical activity.    
  1. By September 2016, 50 percent of employees will engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity 3 days per week.                                                                                  
  2. By October 2016, institute 2 education/awareness strategies that encourage physical activity by employees.                                                                                           
  3. By October 2016, implement at least 1 policy that fosters physical activity.  

The LEO f.i.t (Focus. Inspire. Transform) initiative is using the Working on Wellness comprehensive approach including educational information, opportunities to change their behaviors, and policy and environmental supports to enable employees to make healthy choices.    

The first of LEO   f.i.t's   programming includes starting an employee step challenge , providing physical activity educational trainings at staff meetings, and reimbursing employees for their exercise facility membership.    
Through their wellness initiative, LEO hopes to create a positive workplace where all staff support each other's commitment to comprehensive wellness. By doing  so,  their workplace will have a healthy, happy  team that will  foster  a culture of  teamwork and   collaborat ion   to  provide the best programs to their clients.

Working on Wellness Expert Series 
Free hour-long worksite wellness focused webinars 


Wednesday, April 19, 2017
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST
Led by: Jeff Cole, 
Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets 
Friday, April 28, 2017
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST 
Led By: Kathryn Brodowski MD, MPH, Christina Peretti, MS, Greater Boston Food Bank & Loreto O'Connor, MPH, RD, LDN, Harbor Health Services Inc.
Well Building Standard: Creating Healthy Spaces 
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
11:00 am - 12:00 pm EST 
Led By: Jessica Cooper, WELL AP, WELL Faculty, LEED AP, & Melanie Koch, MSPH, Delos Solutions

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
10:00 am - 11:00 am EST 
Led By: Stuart Quan, MD, Harvard Medical School & Claire Caruso PhD, RN, FAAN, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Health Equity: Promoting Health Equity for All
Thursday, May 18, 2017
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EST 
Led By: Mo Barbosa, Health Resources in Action 

WorkWell Massachusetts Awards Program
WorkWell Massachusetts Awards Program recognizes Massachusetts employers for their exemplary work in worksite health promotion.

WorkWell MA Awards Program will be open for applications from 
April 1, 2017 - May 15, 2017 

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