Vermont Workplace Wellness

Vermont Governor Promotes Workplace Wellness

Vermont recently held its annual Worksite Wellness conference, where Governor Phil Scott, Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, and others led a program encouraging the uptake of focusing on wellness in the workplace.

VTDigger.org reports that “This year’s conference theme, ‘Wellness Without Borders’ reflects the connection health and wellness have in all aspects of our lives.” Said Dr. Levine: “Worksite wellness programs are integral to improving the health and wellbeing of Vermonters.”

Vermont addresses workplace wellness in a number of ways, including a site dedicated to the topic: “For much of the week, most Vermonters spend more than one third of their day at their workplace. The programs, policies and environment at their worksite significantly influence employees’ health. With support and resources from the Health Department, worksites can take steps to improve employee health, leading to financial benefits, reduced health care costs, and a more productive and engaged workforce.”

Among the state’s proposed actions:

  • Form a team: “Find people on your staff who can spearhead wellness initiatives and gain leadership support.”
  •  Assess your worksite: “Find any gaps in existing health-related policies and programs. Take stock of the needs and interests of your employees.”
  • Identify strategies: “Review the Six Core Outcomes for healthy worksites to decide which strategies you can implement at your worksite over the next 6-12 months. Develop an implementation plan that includes a timeline and methods of communicating new programs or policies to your employees.”
  • Implement: “Put your plan into action. Sometimes it can take 6-12 months to implement a wellness strategy, so be prepared to make adjustments or change course as necessary along the way.”
  • Evaluate: “Evaluate your wellness strategy by measuring employee participation and satisfaction. Think about doing a before-and-after survey to see if your wellness strategy met employee expectations.”

Said Dr. Levine: “A majority of Vermonters spend half their waking hours on the job, which means that employers are key players in helping create a comprehensive approach to health. We know that environments that promote physical activity, healthy food choices and tobacco cessation help to reduce chronic disease factors and support the mental and emotional health of employees.”

VTDigger.org adds: “Dr. Levine said the record number of conferees speaks to how employers understand that policies to help improve employee health also lead to financial benefits, reduced health care costs and absenteeism, and a more productive and engaged workforce.”