Imagine starting the workday with a steaming hot bowl of delicious oatmeal, compliments of your employer.
Of Sentry Group’s 435 local employees, roughly 75 participate in the "Oatmeal Challenge" every October with the goal of reducing their cholesterol levels, says Maureen Dempsey-Frazer, benefits manager.
Cholesterol levels are checked at the start and finish of the monthlong program. Employees have been delighted with the results: Several have reported decreased cholesterol levels, while others have maintained their levels. A lucky winner walks away with an oatmeal-themed prize basket.
The program is one of dozens planned by a three-member wellness committee, Dempsey-Frazer says.
"Our main driver, an important part of our corporate culture, is to focus on employees and enable them to be the happiest and healthiest individuals that they can be," she says. "We provide the tools to help them achieve positive results."
The company reaps benefits too; healthy and happy employees are present and productive, "a fact that resonates favorably with our corporate medical costs," she notes.
The company’s fitness center includes a cardio room, weight room, aerobics room, racquetball court, full-size swimming pool, spa and sauna. On-site classes are led by certified instructors in Zumba, yoga, spinning and water aerobics.
Use of the center is free to employees and family members. Thirty percent of employees work out in the gym or pool at least three times a week. On Saturdays, employees’ children can have birthday parties in the pool.
Within six months of the start of the in-house Weight Watchers program, participants shed a collective 600 pounds.
Participation in Sentry Group’s Healthy Combinations Wellness Program can yield a $200 flex credit toward medical premiums.
Enthusiasm for the company’s wellness offerings is strong and growing, Dempsey-Frazer says. In 2011, 180 employees participated in at least one wellness program, up from 150 participants in 2006.
"We are trying to make it as easy as possible for employees to live healthy lives," she says. "The mission of our wellness program is to establish a work environment that promotes healthy lifestyles, decreases the risk of disease and enhances the quality of life."
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