Creating successful corporate wellness programs & the importance of repetition

It’s common sense that healthy employees work harder, are more focused, are happy and positive, take less days off, are sick less often, and have less chronic illnesses. Often times, when I’m discussing corporate wellness with companies in Denver who are implementing wellness & fitness plans, they often say to me things like “We offer a few lunch & learns annually, a seminar, and perhaps a yearly fitness challenge, sometimes we set up some talks about nutrition and eating well.”  I think that is a GREAT start, however, corporate wellness is like any other important topic that we learn; it needs to be covered frequently and through multiple channels in order to have a lasting impact and to change behaviors.  Common questions that come up when discussing corporate fitness and wellness is ROI are:  “What is the ROI of us paying for & providing our employees with fitness and wellness options?  Are we going to get back from our employees in work, focus, less days off, etc., more than the dollars and time we put into providing these resources and education?” The answer is YES, but only if you do it correctly.  So then of course, the question is “What does doing it correctly mean?”  So let’s take some time to discuss exactly that; how does a company provide corporate wellness, fitness, & nutrition in a way that works and allows the company to see the greatest bang for their buck?
Many people that know me well might be very surprised when I say one of the most important things I learned in life was repetition. When I was in the Army, many of the things we learned were taught repetitively.  Since we weren’t actively at war when I first enlisted, it was a variety of tasks like first aid, emergency response, shooting our weapons..  things that you wouldn’t be doing every day during normal active duty, but that would be not only necessary, but could mean the difference between life and death in a combat zone.   Now, as a person who’s constantly busy and moving, let me tell you, even thinking about doing anything repetitively feels like torture.    I’m a visionary, forest through the trees, you know, THAT kind of person.  So needless to say, I thought of these upcoming trainings while I was in the Army as pure punishment, but like any good soldier, I did them (as if I had a choice).  What I realized after I got out of the Army is that those repetitive trainings taught me very well.  Like the time when I saw a little girl get hit by a car.  I was out of my vehicle before the other car even stopped.  I took care of the little girl, calmed her down, helped her distraught family that was walking with her when she got hit by the car, and was able to give an informative and lengthy description to the emergency response crew and explain how she got hit on her side and could have potential internal bleeding that wouldn’t have been diagnosed if I hadn’t witnessed the event.  One of my friends that was traveling in the car said “wow, I would want you by me any time there was an emergency”.  That response and the way I handled it came from my repetitive emergency response training in the Army.  The lesson: anything in life that we want to incorporate to have a lasting value, meaning we are able to take those skills, or values, or behaviors, and utilize them in our day-to-day life, needs to be repetitively ingrained into our lifestyle, our psyche and our daily intentions.
But as we all know, it’s easy to get caught up in the hubbub of daily life.  The kids need to get picked up and ran to their next event, dinner needs to be made, baths need to be taken, homework needs to be finished, the dog needs to be walked, grocery shopping needs to happen, to even THINK about a bike ride after work would be AWESOME if we can fit it in!  So you can see, with all of this on the mind of the average employee, it’s easy to push wellness into the back recesses of our mind.
So what’s the answer?  An ongoing, multi-faceted health and wellness program on the corporate front that is geared to ingrain health and wellness in an environment where employees spend a lot of their time, at work!  And wellness can mean many things (that’s the topic of the next blog though).  Employees spend 50% of their awake hours during the week at work, so it make sense that wellness in the corporate setting can be the platform that leads to creating a lasting foundation in transforming and/or maintaining change in employees overall wellness & health, but like any other important learned behavior, it needs to happen on an ongoing basis.   posted: September 23, 2014 - Complete Fitness, LLC - Blog
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