August 17, 2017    

Working on Wellness Newsletter

Become a Change Agent for Health: The Value of Community Partnerships

Worksite wellness initiatives can impact the health, safety and productivity of employees and the organization at large. Being a change agent for health means thinking beyond your worksite and partnering with others in the community. This brings about additional opportunities for health and wellbeing that are not typically available at the worksite and helps increase the visibility of your organization in your community. This can also help with costs and availability of resources by pooling resources and ideas with other community organizations. 

Establishing policies, programs, and practices within the workplace that focus on advancing the safety, health and wellbeing of the workforce is helpful for individuals, their families, communities, employers and the economy as a whole.  Take advantage of the various resources that are available in your community. Examples of community resources include hospitals, health centers, Visiting Nurse Associations, health departments, YMCA's, non-profit organizations, higher education establishments, and other neighborhood coalitions, social groups and associations. These resources fall into three buckets:
  • Individuals: City health officials, health specialists, or other leaders in your community that could provide you with specific support due to their expertise related to your health and safety interventions. (e.g., Registered Dietitian)
  • Organizations and institutions: Provide a specific service or support for your wellness initiative. (e.g., community center offering adult sports league)
  • Physical resources: Existing spaces and resources like parks or trails that your organization could take advantage of. (e.g., Farmers Market or walking path)  
When brainstorming potential community partners be sure to think about resources that will support your organization's current wellness goals and objectives as well as those that may benefit the community or your organization in the future. Incentives for building a healthy community include:
  • Raise employee productivity by improving the health and well-being of current and future workforces
  • Increase your organization's brand recognition
  • Improve community relations with community partners
  • Increase buying power of the organization
Look for a common problem, a shared vision, or a desired outcome. Embrace the power of community... be a catalyst for collaboration... partner for a healthy workforce!
Looking for inspiration? Learn how participating organizations have implemented sustainable strategies to improve the health and well-being of employees and the community. In addition, browse the expert webinar series archive for a list of worksite wellness experts and recorded webinars. 

Participant Highlight - Town of Stoughton 

The Town of Stoughton is a Massachusetts residential community of 27,000 located halfway between Boston and Providence. The municipality has about 1,200 employees devoted to meeting the needs of Stoughton residents.

Through Working on Wellness, the Town of Stoughton used the Program Development Cycle  to form its wellness infrastructure including an executive sponsor, wellness champion and committee. It then assessed the needs and interests of its employees and developed a strategic plan focused on its priorities of weight management and physical activity.
In the Community Partnerships step, Stoughton used the community scan tool to define its community and to identify new partners and resources. The scan also helped the town think strategically about expanding on existing relationships to accomplish its objectives.
A new partnership was formed with the town's health insurance provider to promote weight management. The insurance provider offered biometric and obesity screenings to all town employees regardless of insurance plan choice.  It also subsidized discounts on the evidence-based DASH for Health Program. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is an eating plan that helps people lose weight and lower blood pressure by making better food choices. One hundred and fifty employees signed up for this program.
Another new partnership was formed with a healthcare and physician group. Through this collaboration the town gained expertise in analyzing its insurance claims and recognized the need for diabetes prevention among its employee population. The town was invited by the healthcare and physician group to join a regional wellness collaborative dedicated to building healthy businesses and communities in Southeastern MA.
Upon learning about a Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Employer Diabetes Prevention Program Pilot, the town turned to a long-standing and trusted partner - Old Colony YMCA. The Y (also a Working on Wellness participant) supports Stoughton's physical activity goals with special employee and family memberships, and free access to its indoor walking track. The Y also offers a Diabetes Prevention Program. Knowing Diabetes Prevention was a need among its employees, Stoughton applied for and was selected to participate in the pilot. Today, the town is using the Y's Diabetes Prevention Program for its eligible employees. 

Congratulations to Boston Business Journal's Healthiest Employers

Working on Wellness Participants Beacon Communities and Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan Recognized as Boston Business Journal's Healthiest Employers 2017
BBJ's Healthiest Employers event at Community Rowing, Inc. in Boston

Congratulations to Beacon Communities for placing third and Boston Medical Center Healthnet Plan for placing fifth in the midsize employers category! They were among 24 companies in Massachusetts selected based on their answers to 75 scored questions in the following categories:
  • Leadership Commitment
  • Foundational Component
  • Strategic Planning
  • Marketing & Communications
  • Programming & Intervention
  • Reporting & Analysis
Our Working on Wellness participants joined fellow winners for a celebration at Community Rowing Inc. in Boston on August 3rd. Companies enjoyed team-rowing activities on the Charles River and an outdoors awards ceremony.
Beacon Communitie s a privately owned real estate firm that develops, acquires, invests in, and manages a wide range of multi-family housing. Their portfolio includes affordable housing, market rate housing, and mixed income housing. With a mission of Living Well by Design, Beacon Communities builds healthy and vibrant communities, all smoke free. Through Working on Wellness, Beacon identified two key priorities for its wellbeing initiative - weight management and access to healthy foods. The organization developed an educational Be Well newsletter, offered weight management seminars, and contracted with a registered dietitian to help employees achieve healthy weight goals. Team building through fitness challenges also contributed to helping employees change behavior.
Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan is a non-profit managed care organization committed to providing the highest quality healthcare coverage to underserved populations. Through Working on Wellness, BMC HealthNet Plan identified weight management and ergonomics as key program priorities based on its employee needs and interests survey. Their wellness plan focused on policies, environmental supports, and programs to help employees achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and to reduce ergonomic risks and musculoskeletal disorders. Healthy weight programs, team fitness activities, and ergonomically designed workstations also contributed to employee productivity.
Congratulations! We are proud of you!

New Research

From the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

This study discusses how businesses are developing strategies to demonstrate a commitment to health and wellness.

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