Health Happens in the Workplace

BARRY WARNER

teps Challenge Poster at Active International (L) Elysa Gonzalez, Angela Chiaino - HR Director, Melanie Schefchik - Rockland County Wellness Worksite Coordinator

The majority of adults In America spend more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else, making it a prime venue for promoting healthful habits. For many workers, the encouragement of wellness can lead to better physical health, greater job satisfaction, and a more positive mental outlook.

In Rockland County many businesses are making employee heath a priority by constructing walking trails and small fitness rooms with the help of grant funds from the Rockland County Department of Health.

“The health department has established partnerships with 20 small and mid-sized Rockland County employers with a combined total of 4,800 employees,” said Melani Schefchik, the Rockland County Department of Heatlh Worksite Wellness Coordinator. “I am working with certified wellness program managers from the human resources departments of companies such as ‘Caribbean Food delights’ and ‘Active International’ to develop strategies and sustainable activities for their employees.”

Wellness motivator and human resources director Sabrina Hosang from “Caribbean Food Delights” in Tappan said, “An onsite fitness area with mini-grant funds was created in a large room with treadmills, elliptical machines and a stationary bicycle plus Zumba DVD’s were loaded on a large TV screen for group exercise.”

“During the last 3 months, I have been using the gym and walking trail. I lost 18 pounds and my back feels better,” said Clever, who works at the restaurant.

At “Active international,” human resources director and incentives motivator Angela Chiaino said, the company has established a one mile walking path around the building and encourages its staff to take physical activity breaks.

Caribbean Food Delights employees using the elliptical machine and stationary bicycle behind a screen in the fitness area

“We’ve offered a series of 6-week walking and fitness challenges, using pedometers to keep a score of steps with results displayed and awarded prizes each week plus over 100 employees from 5 floors participated,” said Chiaino.

The fitness challenges are part of a larger incentive program, where employees can receive up to $200 per year for their involvement in a series of health-oriented activities.

“I enjoy being competitive in the walking challenge for my department. I now park my car further away from the building for extra steps and the program got me on the treadmill back home,” said Elysa, an employee. “I am on the Wellness Committee and I am eating healthier food, such as chickpeas.”

Incentives keep highly-motivated personnel involved by providing positive reinforcement for good behaviors and ongoing participation. Company sponsored workplace wellness programs at ‘Caribbean Food Delights’ and ‘Active International’ each send clear messages to employees that management values their well-being.

For more information contact Melanie Shefchik, Rockland County Worksite Wellness Program Coordinator at (845) 364-3786.