SANTA ROSA -- The leadership at Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park Oral Surgery initially began its wellness plan with an often-cited goal by employers: to reduce employee absenteeism.  But an even better outcome emerged, they said -- productivity among its 20 employees increased significantly.

The oral surgery practice, which was founded in 1950, is run by Drs. Jack Tolin, Leonard Tyko, Tony Chu and Christopher Daniel, all of whom are board certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

"In making a conscious effort to raise health awareness for our organization, we have realized a benefit greater than simply reducing sickness," said Toni Bonelli, office manager of the practice. "The increase in morale, teamwork and attitude has impacted all our daily lives in a positive way. We are huge advocates for wellness programs within our community."

Since implementing its wellness efforts, the practice has seen its absenteeism drop to nearly zero, according to Ms. Bonelli. That's significant given that absenteeism has a greater impact on smaller employers such as the oral surgery practice, because there is a much smaller pool of employees to rely upon and cover the absence.

Employee participation on wellness programs at Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park Oral Surgery is regularly approximately 80 percent.

In addition to achieving its goal of reduced absenteeism, the practice has seen significant progress on the productivity front, Ms. Bonelli said.

"A much greater advantage has been realized with the increased productivity and teamwork we now have," she said, adding that employees often exercise together. That has an impact on overall morale, she added.

"The intangible differences such as positive attitudes, increased energy levels and better teamwork provide us a great advantage.From a managerial perspective, the biggest success has been the disappearance of the asymptomatic 'working sick'  -- those employees that exhibit lethargy, depression and negativity every day," Ms. Bonelli said.

The practice specializes in wisdom tooth extraction, dental implants, bone grafting, general anesthesia and IV sedation, facial trauma, oral pathology and other areas.