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Wealth of Health: Verizon Wireless

Everything is abloom at the Calkins Road location of Verizon Wireless Inc., thanks to the company’s gardening club.
 
The club is a wellness offering at the telecommunications provider. Thirteen of the 1,100 local employees-some with greener thumbs than others-have created a flower garden on the Henrietta campus, says Sarah Morgan, health and wellness coordinator.
 
"They got a little plot of land at the front of the building, maybe 20 feet by 20 feet, started digging and planting, and now we have a beautiful garden," Morgan says.
 
The display is eye-pleasing, and the activity of watering and weeding promotes physical and emotional health and team-building, she adds.
 
Wellness permeates Verizon Wireless. Employees flock to the on-site fitness center, a 2,500-square-foot facility loaded with exercise equipment. Staff members pay only $15 a year for an unlimited membership. Features include personal training sessions, nutrition counseling and fitness classes, such as Pilates, yoga, boot camp, abs training and judo. It is open and staffed weekdays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 
Lunch-and-learn sessions also are a big hit with staffers. Recent topics have included goal setting, combating heart disease, ergonomics, restful sleep and family fitness.
 
When the crew gets hungry, an on-site cafe delivers tasty and healthy items such as quinoa and bean salad, cottage cheese and yogurt. Every week, the cafe’s chef manager dishes up healthy entrees and provides tasting samples. Staff members celebrated NFL Football Fridays over lunch by viewing football movies while sampling healthy tailgate recipes provided by the health and wellness center staff.
 
Verizon on the Go is a popular walking and running club meant to promote fitness during the workday and after hours. Participants clock their running and walking distances, and prizes are awarded for reaching goals.
 
These initiatives-and many more-are working, Morgan reports. Productive units of blood gleaned from a quarterly drive climbed from 52 during 2009 to 247 in 2011. Participation in health and wellness center activities rose from 30 percent of all employees in 2009 to 36 percent in 2011.
 
Striving for a healthy lifestyle permeates the culture at Verizon. "It’s not all about weight loss. It’s about getting up and moving throughout the day," Morgan says. "Our goal is to keep wellness activities fun and creative."

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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