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Wealth of Health: Lawley Insurance

Learning to laugh and handle pressure during stressful situations is important on the job and off, say wellness coordinators at Lawley Insurance.
 
During Laugh Academy, staff members of the Buffalo-based insurance and benefits firm learn how to lighten up in the face of stress.
 
"We try to create a healthy work environment for all our employees," says Cheryl Byrne, human resources manager. "The Laugh Academy helps everyone find a healthy balance of physical, social and emotional well-being."
 
Lawley employs 311 people at multiple sites. The Rochester office, known as Lawley Andolina Verdi LLC, has 44 staff members.
 
Every month, the 20 members of Lawley’s wellness program committee meet via videoconference to brainstorm, she says. One of the ideas they came up with is Tasty Tuesdays; staff can try healthy snacks representing different food groups. Another is Walking Works; the challenge encourages everyone to log at least 10,000 daily steps, measured by a pedometer.
 
Anecdotal feedback suggests that popular on-site chair massages help reduce stress. Another stress buster: the company’s Target Zero program. Employees were challenged to watch the calories and remain active during the holidays, a stressful time of year for many, with a goal of gaining zero pounds. Nearly 120 staffers participated.
 
"Everyone weighed in privately, and the program went very well," Byrne says.
 
Lawley offers programs on high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, the importance of completing medical screening tests, ways to lower body mass index and strategies for handling tobacco and alcohol addictions. Discounts are offered at a range of fitness centers near employees’ homes.
 
Overall engagement increased from 165 participants in 2010 to 259 in 2011. In 2011, 57 percent of staff members took part in a health screening program, while 55 percent took the walking challenge and 51 percent took part in a nutrition awareness program.
 
"LawleyStrong aims to increase engagement to beyond 80 percent in 2012,"Byrne says. "We will continue to react annually to assessments and customize our programs accordingly. We hope to engage more spouses."
 
6/8/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email [email protected].

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