Chamber Announces 2007 Workplace Wellness AwardsThursday, November 1, 2007
(The Horizon Foundation) --
In fall 2005, the Howard County Chamber of
Commerce and The Horizon Foundation joined to
create the Workplace Wellness awards program, a
recognition program that honors Howard County
employers for sponsoring practices that help
their employees improve their physical health,
reduce stress, address emotional and family
concerns and protect their health and safety on
the job. The awards are open to any employer
with an office in Howard
Businesses can compete in two categories: Small Business (25 employees or less) or Large Business (26 or more employees). Applications are judged on a number of factors but employee participation and creativity have been the hallmarks of the winning programs.
It is not enough to put wellness programs in place. Employees need to see the value of participating in the programs and making the lifestyle changes that will improve their lives overall and in the long term translate to increased productivity.
Everyone is bombarded with information about what they can do to create a healthier life. Effective wellness programs help employees take the necessary steps in a supportive and often fun manner.
Small Business Award
This year, Jolles Insurance captured the Small Business Workplace Wellness Award with a program that not only engaged its employees but also neighboring businesses and the community. Its Health and Wellness Day and 5k Run/Walk at Centennial Park drew more than 500 attendees.
Quarterly "Walk at Lunch" days engage other businesses in its office park. "No Sin in This Tin" gift baskets encourage its employees and clients to engage in healthy eating habits. Gift certificates for walking shoes were given to employees to encourage walking as a stress buster.
Brian and Lisa Jolles, co-owners of Jolles Insurance, lead by example by participating in adult exercise groups six mornings a week. Three of the six days, they run a boot camp style exercise group as a free service for clients, neighbors and friends. Wellness has become a 24/7 goal for Jolles Insurance.
Large Business Award
The 2007 Large Business Workplace Wellness Award was won by Baltimore Aircoil. In a large company, it can be difficult to personalize a wellness program enough to engage all employees and reach them on a personal level. Baltimore Aircoil hired a wellness coach to achieve this goal. Nearly 90% of all employees consulted with the coach to discuss a variety of concerns tied to their own personal wellness.
Regular screenings for blood pressure and Body Mass Index are also available on-site. A "Biggest Loser" program for 12 weeks and Lunch and Learn programs support employees. Cash incentives were given to employees and their spouses to participate in health screenings and health risk assessments.
Additionally, the Annual BAC Health Fair at Baltimore Aircoil draws a high level of employee participation. The on-site fitness gym makes it convenient for employees to exercise, or they can choose discounted fitness club memberships nationwide.
Both businesses were honored for their wellness programs at the Workplace Wellness Luncheon on Oct. 31 at the Columbia Sheraton. Mark Everest, president of Occupational Athletics Inc., shared his "Gameplan for Aging, Your Four Quarters for Life" program for wellness with attendees.
For information about the Workplace Wellness Awards Program, contact Anne Darr at the Chamber at 410-730-4111 or email@example.com.