Believing that a healthy workforce will reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and decrease health care costs, many Milwaukee employers are working to change their employees' behavior and beliefs toward living a healthier lifestyle.
Employer members of Well City Milwaukee, a workplace wellness focused coalition of local employers, led by the City of Milwaukee, the Greater Milwaukee Committee and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, have implemented programs ranging from lunch hour walking groups to holiday weight management programs to preventative health workshops, which have already produced positive results and favorable feedback among employees.
Here's a sample of a few local wellness initiatives that can serve as models and inspiration for us all:
Medical College of Wisconsin - With winter well underway, everyone is looking for ways to stay healthy and fit, especially over the holiday season. While it may be too cold to brave the outdoors, MCW has developed a "Step By Step" campaign to help employees fit walking into their daily exercise routine - without even having to leave work. Over 1,200 employees walk through heated underground tunnels connecting campus buildings during their lunch hours. In the first two weeks alone, participants walked more than 55 million steps, which equates to a collective 28,000 miles.
M&I Bank - More than 1,500 employees weigh in every Monday morning in an effort to avoid holiday weight gain. Participants receive encouragement for making healthy food choices, fitting in exercise to prevent holiday weight gain and managing time, sleep and stress. The goal is to gain less than two pounds, stay the same or lose weight during this holiday season.
These programs are just a few of the many important things happening in Milwaukee to help encourage workplace wellness and work towards a broader goal of creating a more vibrant and productive workforce. For more information about Well City Milwaukee or becoming an employer member, please visit www.wellcitymilwaukee.org.
Janet McMahon is the executive director of Well City Milwaukee, an initiative of the Wellness Councils of America, which challenges local businesses to work together toward building healthier communities, starting in the workplace.