Healthiest Companies in North Bay in 2014

The Journal's 2014 Healthiest Companies in the North Bay will be honored at the Nov. 18 Health Care Industry Conference.Alvarado Street BakeryBurr Pilger MayerCoddingEPIC Insurance Brokers & ConsultantsExchange BankGhilotti Bros.Heffernan Insurance Brokers--North BayKaiser Permanente--Marin and SonomaKeysight TechnologiesKirby ConstructionLEMO USAPacific Union CollegePetaluma Health Care DistrictPetaluma Health CenterRedwood Empire Schools' Insurance GroupSt. Joseph Health--Sonoma and Napa countiesSutter Pacific Medical FoundationW. Bradley ElectricWorkrite ErgonomicsAlvarado Street BakeryFirst-time winner'Wellness is a state of mind built into our culture'

PETALUMA -- Workers at Alvarado Street Bakery believe in their company's mission statement and incorporate its principles into their daily lives. It says:

"Through our worker cooperative, we will use whole grain and organic ingredients wherever possible to support sustainable agricultural practices and healthy living."

According to plant environmentalist Michelle Zimmerman, "Our guiding beliefs include striving to create a healthy work environment that emphasizes humanistic values and positive working conditions. This is who we are and what we do."

The bakery is an employee owned business where staff members educate themselves with information about what "healthy" means to be in a position to help staff members gain self-worth and to care for each other.

Results of the company's wellness program have been impressive. In the last 12 months participation has increased from 40 percent to 66 percent. Two life-long smokers have quit, and several people have gone from being couch potatoes to competing in local races like the Santa Rosa Marathon and the Clo the Cow Half Marathon and 5K.

More of Alvarado's people are going to gyms and practicing a level of fitness above what their heavy physical labor jobs require.

"Preventive health care is one of our top usage categories. Illnesses are being caught earlier allowing for better management. People are getting up and moving around," said Ms. Zimmerman. "We're increasing our overall level of activity, counting more steps, improving food choices and becoming a more fit group of people."

For over 30 years Alvarado Street Bakery has been a leader in producing healthy, organic whole grain breads, and now sees itself as one of the healthiest companies in Northern California.Burt Pilger Mayer, Inc.Three-time winnerProviding tools employees need to take care of their own health

SANTA ROSA -- "In a profession where people spend many hours each day sitting indoors, it is important to give employees tools and access to information they need to take care of their own health," said Ted Grafe, partner and North Bay business development and marketing manager for Burr Pilger Mayer, the largest California-based CPA firm with six Bay Area locations.

He said healthy employees are more engaged, more productive and miss less time from work.

"Our job as a responsible employer is to provide the mechanisms employees need to maintain and improve their health and lifestyles," Mr. Grafe said.

Some 35 percent of the firm's 400 employees (including 50 in Santa Rosa and St. Helena) regularly participate in the BPM wellness program.

Several employees have lost weight and have maintained their weight loss. Since launching the wellness program, food for company meetings and events is healthier, and many more employees are aware of small changes they can make to improve their health.

Medical insurance premiums did not increase last year because of BPM's year over year biometric numbers.

The firm also received a $50,000 wellness credit from Aetna, the company's new health care provider for 2014. This credit was given because BPM has a wellness program in place and has been able show through biometric results that the firm's risk factors have improved.

BPM Wellness is the only benefits program to see a monetary return on its investment, according to Mr. Grafe.Codding InvestmentsTwo-time winnerWellness programs help attract and retain top-tier talent

ROHNERT PARK -- Workplace wellness is very important at Codding. Our employees are considered family and the firm's most treasured assets," said Tina Montgomery, property and marketing manager. We believe our wellness program has" also helped us retain and attract top-level talent."

The culture is based on close working relationships established by company founder, Hugh Codding, which has been the cornerstone of the firm since its inception in 1947.

Codding's wellness committee promotes workforce wellness with education and events for its 47 employees and their families. This empowers the staff to not just feel great about being part of the enterprise, but to do great things personally and professionally.

The list of wellness program components is comprehensive. The company offers yoga, ancient Ayurvedia diet guidance based on body characteristics, and Lunch-n-Learn sessions about Healthy Eating 101, oral health, good and bad fats, and organics vs. non-organic foods.

There are Mud Runs at Shone Farms, 5K runs, first aid and CPR classes, and walks for the American Heart Association's Go Red program, a Day of Caring as well as financial health and stress reduction classes.

The firm's employees are also actively involved with the Pecoraro fitness program at Sonoma Mountain Village.

"We've also sponsored a Fun Summer Lawn Series outdoors with food trucks and lawn darts and other games for employees," Ms. Montgomery said. "All this is in addition to company picnics, Halloween, Easter egg hunts and holiday events to improve morale and stimulate employee engagement (which averages 80 percent). In addition, we will begin our annual fitness challenge in January."

The company's robust workplace wellness programs have improved worker performance as a whole by fostering more cohesive team spirit leading to higher productivity as employees work together to achieve company goals.

Managers and employees have experienced improved communication at all levels, with a commensurate increase in morale.

"We are evaluating the impact of our wellness program on medical claims," Ms. Montgomery said. "We are also working with the CDC in Atlanta on a program designed to measure results, in addition to our own biometric and cholesterol health screenings."EPIC Insurance Brokers & ConsultantsTwo-time winnerPromoting a healthful lifestyle leads to balance at work, home

PETALUMA -- EPIC believes that by promoting a healthy lifestyle leads to a balanced life for its employees at work as well as at home.

"If we can change even one staff member's lifestyle for the better, more healthier one, then it's all worth it," according to Tammy Thomas, client services manager at EPIC's Northern California office.

EPIC found that its employees are healthier, more productive, more energized, less depressed and more optimistic than the national average as a result of its wellness program.

The company offers employees several of fitness challenges throughout the year as a way to inspire them to get up from their desks and easy chairs at home and become physically active.

One program sets a goal of 25,000 steps per week, and another has workers take a simulated trek through the Himalayas based on actual steps taken.

Many employees take part in the biometrics assessment program. Others report losing weight, and still others have seen reductions in their blood pressure and cholesterol numbers.

"EPIC has realized a reduction in its yearly insurance premiums, and some carriers have awarded us bonus amounts to reinforce our wellness initiatives," said Mary Smith, executive vice president for human resources.

"Since starting our wellness program across the U.S. in 2009, we have witnessed a number of employees making life-saving changes in their health and work/life balance."

More than 61 percent of EPIC's employees regularly participate in the firm's wellness program.

In addition to improving productivity, reducing employee health risks, lowering worker's compensation and disability costs, EPIC strives to create a happier and healthier work environment for its workers through an emphasis on workforce wellness.Exchange BankThree-time winner'Every Body Benefits' from increased motivation

SANTA ROSA -- "One of Exchange Bank's core values is teamwork. We are known as people who care about our customers, company, communities and one another," said Beth Huang, compensation and benefits manager in the human resources department.

"Investing in employee health is a priority. When we take steps to improve staff health, they are better able to focus their energy and resources at work and in local communities where our customers live."

Exchange Bank conducted a survey of worker attitudes toward the firm's Every Body Benefits program.

"They told us they love the motivation stimulated by our exercise competitions. We discovered that onsite health screenings and flu shots are highly valued," She said.

While employee participation is 15 percent across all programs, during competitions the total increases to 75 percent.

Exchange Bank found that its employees' concerns were in line with what its Kaiser Permanente partner sees as being among the biggest health priorities.

"This let us know we were on the right track. We responded by introducing creative programs, such as a six-week, on-site mindfulness and stress management seminar at two locations that included yoga, qigong, guided meditation and relaxation exercises," Ms. Huang said.

"We are also involved in the Ceres project focusing on healthy, organic healing foods, and participate in the Relay for Life, and walks at lunchtime."

Based on other employee feedback, the bank continues to add programs like the Thrive Across America exercise competition, health club subsidies and weight loss perks.

Exchange Bank has seen better utilization of its medical plans as a result of employee engagement in its wellness initiatives, which are now an integral part of the EB culture.

"Variety is important. When we offered an Eat Good Food and Veggies competition, some employees eventually lost interest. So we continue to modify our approach with new programs and incentives to keep it interesting," said Laurie Zaret, SVP of human resources.

"For example, with markets no longer providing free bags, we started giving large, insulated zipper top freezer bags as prize incentives for wellness program participation -- and everyone loved it."Ghilotti Bros., Inc.Four-time winner90 percent participation in the firm's wellness programs

SAN RAFAEL -- "We all want to be happy and productive workers," said Rachel Hazlett, marketing and office manager with Ghilotti Brothers.

"Wellness is crucial for human happiness, as well as to enable everyone to perform to the best of their ability. Some of my coworkers have experienced dramatic weight loss as a result of our company's emphasis on reducing health risks and improving productivity."

She uses her lunch break to do cross fit training exercises at a nearby gym, which she says helps stimulate her energy level and improve afternoon productivity.

As one of the leading construction companies in the Bay Area, Ghilotti Bros., Inc. has established a permanent presence as a premiere general engineering contractor with projects spanning numerous county lines.

GBI takes wellness seriously, because workers doing what can be strenuous physical activity outside have to stay fit and build endurance to do their jobs. Some 90 percent of company employees participate in the firm's wellness programs.

"Workplace wellness is important to our company because we want employees to know we care about their wellbeing," said Human Resources Representative Aixa Santos.

The company promotes walking a cycling to work and conducts on-site health promotion programs and group wellness activities organized by the firm's wellness committee.

"We see each other as members of a large family, so all aspects of their lives are important to us."

She said employees take healthy choices to heart when making decisions on how much exercise they should have and what they should eat.

"We have also seen them take tips we share with them on ways they can make their lives healthier and better, Ms. Santos said.Heffernan Insurance BrokersFirst-time winnerCreating a positive environment and improving employee morale

PETALUMA -- Improving employee wellness also improves morale and teambuilding while also creating a more positive environment that can be a key differentiator when attracting and recruiting new employees, according to Rene Sprague, executive assistant for commercial lines with Heffernan Insurance Brokers of the North Bay.

"Healthy employees are positive and motivated and are great teammates. Being part of our three days a week lunchtime boot camp has become part of our routine and has helped us become closer together as members of our firm," she said.

"It bonds people when everyone adheres to the same goals. We all enjoy seeing the positive changes and improvements our wellness program has produced in each other."

Since starting the instructor-led boot camp many success stories have been reported about the changes that occurred in changing employees from sedentary individuals to those who regularly exercise.

Many have taken it to the next level by participating in half marathons, achieving significant weight loss and demonstrating a greater ability to keep up with their active kids -- while also feeling more connected to other staff members.

"It has certainly changed the kinds of food that we serve at employee functions. Now we get more requests for low fat dishes, lots of fruit, veggies and water," Ms. Sprague said. "One of our team members lost approximately 40 pounds, and another has been able to stop smoking."

From 75 percent to 80 percent of Heffernan's employees take part in one or more wellness programs offered by the company.Kaiser Permanente--Marin/Sonoma AreaFour-time winnerEmployees feel supported and inspired to lead healthful lives

MARIN and SONOMA COUNTIES -- "We believe that being a healthy company means having employees who feel supported and inspired to lead a healthy life," said Public Affairs Director Carl Campbell.

The "Live Well Be Well" employee wellness program leverages Kaiser Permanente's clinical excellence, unique integrated care and health promotion expertise to provide more than 250 on-site programs and online services to motivate and engage employees to make healthier lifestyle choices.

The program includes physical fitness activities and walking/running programs as well as yoga, nutrition, weight loss and cooking classes.

Employees can also attend mindfulness and meditation sessions, and take advantage of emotional health, financial health and community volunteering opportunities for workers.

The Kaiser wellness program includes everything from preventive screenings to wellness coaches.

Participation in Live Well Be Well activities continues to grow with 75 percent of employees taking part, and also through the expansion of new services that attract additional employees.

Kaiser Permanente integrated flu vaccinations into the program, successfully increasing employee vaccination rates.

The company continues to offer its "Eat Your Colors" campaign with cooking demonstrations and recipe contests. Health preventions "A La Carte" took programs to the people with presentations at department levels.

"Meatless Mondays were a hit with the staff in San Rafael, and the Biggest Winner 12-week weight loss program in Santa Rosa resulted in 6.4 to 7.0 pounds per person lost, and body mass index [BMI] decreases of 1.21 to 1.37," Mr. Campbell said. "Live Well Be Well is not just about our employees' physical wellness, but their total wellbeing. Recently we began offering seminars on financial wellness including budgeting, retirement planning and social security."Keysight Technologies, Inc.Four-time winnerProviding worksite resources to improve fitness, reduce stress

SANTA ROSA -- The wellness program at Keysight Technologies in Santa Rosa offers employees facilities and resources to improve fitness, manage stress and learn how to make healthier choices.

"Our facilities include a self-care station, a fully equipped gym, wellness studio, athletic field, Mother's Room, and a walking trail with exercise stations," said Jeff Weber, Sonoma County public affairs and communication manager.

"We also offer 17 free fitness classes each week -- most are usually full -- as well as small group and personal training sessions."

The wellness studio has many uses, including classes, dancing, stretching, and meditation activities by groups and individuals.

Keysight promotes healthy lifestyle choices through health fairs, partnerships with food services in cooperation with business unit managers, human resources and environmental, as well as health and safety business departments.

Services are coordinated by full time certified fitness professionals who also manage the company's ergonomics program for a more integrated approach to employee wellness.

Nurses and dieticians are also available for phone consultations. Every component of Keysight's Wellness Program is offered free to employees to encourage maximum participation -- currently involving 75 percent of all personnel.

Demand for space in the employee garden has meant expanding the program from raised beds to plots on the adjacent hillside.

The employee garden, the inclusion on site-grown food in cafeteria dishes, an employee produce exchange and community supported agriculture delivery are helping employees eat better at work and at home.

Employee exposure to second-hand smoke has greatly diminished since Keysight reduced the number of designated smoking areas from 25 to three.

The American Heart Association recently recognized Keysight with its Fit-Friendly Worksite Award. One company employee received their Lifestyle Change Award as a result of incorporating Keysight fitness/wellness offerings into his lifestyle.Kirby Construction CompanyFirst-time winnerFocusing on healthful snacks at work as well as in the field

SANTA ROSA -- With an emphasis on offering gym memberships and emphasizing nutritious foods, both in the office and in the field, Kirby Construction Company employees are enjoying healthier lifestyles.

"Our company president, Richard Kirby, believes in adhering to a vegan diet, and office events as well as field safety meetings feature healthy snacks," said Tanya Sedgewick, bookkeeper and a health advocate who takes classes at a local gym with her co-workers.

Once a week, someone goes to Whole Foods Market to stock the Kirby kitchen with good things to eat.

Gym memberships are 100 percent company-paid, and many of the firm's nine office workers and 32 field personnel take advantage of it.

Employees take bike rides at lunch, or enjoy outdoor walks, and there is a flex schedule policy to encourage exercise.

"We also conducted a Biggest Loser weigh-in challenge with a nice reward of a sponsored trip for the winner," Ms. Sedgewick said.

"It started when one employee who was overweight, not feeling very good, and with high cholesterol, wanted to change his life. He went from a 2X shirt size to a medium after participating in the challenge."

Kirby also supports the Light the Night campaign and is a sponsor of the Maria Carrillo High School bicycle team.

The company's informal Wellness Committee is always on the lookout for new ways to expand the program.

"Healthy company team members convey positive attitudes toward our clients and other employees," said Kashy Ghazzagh, marketing manager. "We've found that workers with healthier lifestyles don't call in sick as often, stay fit and build better immune systems to guard against disease. At the end of the day, those who stay healthy also reduce their risk of on-the- job injuries and work loss. In a nutshell, happy employees make for a happy work environment."LEMO USA, Inc.Four-time winnerHealth programs help employees make better lifestyle choices

ROHNERT PARK -- Workplace wellness is very important at LEMO for several reasons. First, employees learn about health and tips enabling them to live healthier. They also learn how to reduce stress and make better choices.

"From the company's perspective, these programs help to improve employee moral and loyalty while also helping to keep our health insurance costs down," said General Manager Dean Pohwala.

LEMO offers fresh fruit on Mondays and has a healthy snack machine. There are blood pressure monitors on site along with wholesome lunches for employees.

"When recruiting new hires we talk to them abut our health and wellness program as one of our benefits," said Human Resources Manager Debbie Raike.

The company also organizes volleyball tournaments, basketball games and table tennis matches.

"Our employees like to share cooking ideas and exercise together. We have challenges that help our people strive for excellence. Our health and wellness slogan is Stay Connected With Your Health," Ms. Raike said.

The biggest result from LEMO's program can be seen in terms of improved health for employees and their families as well as major, positive lifestyle changes.

One employee lost over 100 pounds. Several others stopped smoking. An employee who was borderline diabetic is no longer at risk, and another has lowered his blood pressure and cholesterol significantly.

Every year LEMO brings in a professional to conduct skin cancer screenings -- and once found someone with the condition that fortunately was detected early.

LEMO also hosts an annual health fair along with financial counseling, earthquake preparedness, water conservation, lifeline and REACH presentations for employees.Pacific Union CollegeThree-time winnerPhysical activity leads to better sleep, positive outlook, fewer risks

ANGWIN -- The administration of Pacific Union College not only values the work skills of its faculty and staff, but their wellbeing, health and vitality as well.

"As employees of a Christian liberal arts college, we work in a faith community that acknowledges God's creative wisdom in weaving each person into a seamless package of mind, body and spirit," said Cambria Wheeler, director of college relations.

Since implementing the campus wellness program, PUC has seen overall health risk factors decrease from 1.7 to 1.5 per employee, and the number of employees with four or more risk factors has declined by 30 percent.

At the same time, the college has experienced a 13 percent increase in the number of employees who are physically active at least 20 minutes a day, four or five times a week.

Furthermore, 13 percent of employees reported getting more sleep, 21 percent said they have a more positive outlook, and 46 percent have eliminated at least one nutrition risk factor -- with additional benefits associated with lower blood pressures, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar levels.

Some 13 percent have lost from 5-7 pounds, six percent have lost 10-19 pounds, and 3 percent lost more than 20 pounds.

"We are proud to report that 96 percent of PUC's employees enrolled in the wellness program have an overall wellness score in the 'excellent' or 'doing well' categories," Ms. Wheeler added.Petaluma Health Care DistrictFirst-time winnerWellness increases team building and camaraderie among employees

PETALUMA -- Employees of the Petaluma Health Care District are committed to the mission of improving the health and wellbeing of all residents -- and they know that this mission begins with them.

"Our employees want to lead by example and share their knowledge and health strategies with their families, friends, clients and community," said Suzanne Cochrane, board clerk, executive assistant to the CEO, and head of the Petaluma Health Care District wellness committee.

"Our team also believes that good health extends beyond the numbers on a scale, and that our work environment is critical to our total health. By striving to make our office a hub of workplace wellness by sharing recipes, recommending exercise programs, providing support for physical and emotional successes and struggles, and by creating opportunities for team-building, our employees are more productive, energized, creative and inspired."

She said this, in turn, allows them to more effectively meet the needs of the health care district's residents, and makes Southern Sonoma County a great place to live, work and play.

Results have been tremendous. The Wellness Committee has been instrumental in the program's success.

Employees report feeling better prepared to make healthy food choices. They're getting more exercise and participating in more activities.

One employee made huge strides in her health, tripling her weekly physical activity and losing over 31 total body inches. She said, "Our employee wellness program inspired me to be healthy."

Employees receive flu vaccinations on site, get CPR training and certification, receive healthy living tips, and are offered support when they have personal and professional, concerns.

Staff members take advantage of flexible schedules to work out, spend time with their families and participate in community events.

"More importantly, we offer employees an opportunity to share their thoughts and provide feedback on how we can continue to make our office a hub of wellness and good health," Ms. Cochrane said.Petaluma Health CenterTwo-time winnerEmployee health is a key factor in organizational sustainability

PETALUMA -- The management of Petaluma Health Center believes the health of its employees is directly related to the sustainability of the organization.

"As a health care organization it is important for our employees to live healthier lives in order to role-model wellness for our patients, said Luke Entrup, director of the wellness and innovation program.

"We engaged external organizations and vendors to help us foster healthy living among our employees, because we believe investing in employee health has a significant ROI in terms of improved job satisfaction, reduced absenteeism, turnover and burnout, as well as better health outcomes for our staff."

The center's leadership team and wellness director continue to expand the array of wellness services in order to have a higher engagement rate across the organization.

Over the last few years the Petaluma Health Center has enhanced several key components of its wellness program that have yielded significant results.

Nearly one-third of staff members attend fitness classes, including yoga, Zumba, tai chi, body toning and dance. The center has partnered with Petaluma Bounty Farm to provide an on-site farm stand for patients and employees. This stand, combined with an on-site demonstration garden, has improved access to affordable, fresh and organic produce for employees.

The center recently hosted an employee wellness fair offering free biometric screenings from St. Joseph Health where staff members were also able to obtain information about other wellness services from 16 vendors.

The organization has seen a definite increase in the number of employees attending Lunch-n-Learn sessions.

"Employee wellness is core to our mission, as is our mission to improve the health of all people living in Southern Sonoma County," Mr. Entrup said.

"We believe our staff is much more comfortable when it comes to encouraging healthy living for our patients because of the opportunities they have to practice what they teach."Redwood Empire Schools Insurance Group (RESIG)Three-time winnerCreating a wellness room as a more peaceful place for employees

WINDSOR -- RESIG provides an environment that promotes health while also increasing morale and the wellbeing of employees, in the words of Executive Director Rose R. Burcina.

"In line with improving our work environment, RESIG is in the process of improving our Wellness Room to create a more peaceful place for our workers."

From 50 to 100 percent of the staff participate, depending on the activity.

RESIG continues to raise the bar by increasing funding for wellness program activities and to promote healthy eating habits.

"By expanding our wellness programs, we continually strive to demonstrate by example that work-life balance is important for our employees, their families and the 40 school districts we serve," Ms. Burcina added.

In addition to creating a healthy work environment, RESIG's program goes well beyond the office.

Employees participate in local walks (i.e., American Heart Association, Leukemia, and the Lymphoma Society, etc.) as well as engage in monthly wellness themes, such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Heart month). Staff members are also involved in Live Healthy Sonoma County, extending their efforts throughout various communities.

The company consistently sees steady increases in participation at events and within the RESIG wellness committee.

With a certified health coach on staff, the firm offers lunch-n-learn sessions such as How to Read Food Labels, and the ergonomics program has been expanded to improve employee workstations and minimize injuries.

Other activities include Humor and Stress Relief Days, and "on-demand" Wii Fit.

"Planning for our wellness activities has become more focused and deliberate, resulting in higher expectations and better outcomes for our employees -- which we feel is a key measure of the program's success," Ms. Burcina.St. Joseph Health--Sonoma CountyFour-time winner'Each year our program shows positive health improvements'

SANTA ROSA -- St. Joseph Health sees itself as a role model for other businesses who turn to it for expertise in helping to promote their own employees' wellbeing. Internal goals include increasing employee engagement and retention by supporting staff wellness.

Health coaching is available at no cost to support tobacco/smoking cessation and other health risk reduction lifestyle behavior objectives.

The on-site learning center in Santa Rosa provides classes aimed at healthy eating and fitness, yoga and Pilates at discounted rates.

"We encourage fitness center memberships and attendance with built-in utilization incentives," said Maracie Wilson, director of wellness and health improvement. "Throughout the North Bay we offer a HealthMiles pedometer program to help employees track physical activities and fitness goals. In return, they receive awards bearing cash value commensurate with their increased and measured physical progress."

Each month the St. Joseph Health Workforce Wellness initiative publishes colorful posters in English and Spanish focusing on different health-related topics (preventing skin cancer, maintaining a safe exercise routine, tips for healthy menus on the go, etc.). These posters appear throughout St. Joseph hospitals and are also offered to local businesses.

In 2013-2014, a partnership with Live Healthy America was launched creating friendly competition with incentives among internal teams striving to increase physical activity, improve nutrition and enhance lifestyles.

Various fund raising walks are supported annually to promote community health, such as Heart Walk, Light the Night Walk, and Walk to End Alzheimer's, etc.

Live Healthy teams are rallied to increase their steps and mileage to gain an advantage over others in these fitness challenges.

"It is common to see workers taking the stairs instead of elevators or walking in groups instead of taking cars so they can log their steps," Ms. Wilson said.

"Sixty-five years after we began serving the North Bay St. Joseph continues to uphold its mission: Improving the health and quality of life of people in the communities we serve."

St. Joseph's campuses are tobacco free and cafeterias offer healthy (and vegetarian) food options. There are dedicated areas for quiet reflection and meditation available during the workday as employee retreats.

Each year this program has generated positive health improvements along with reductions in sick care expenses for avoidable chronic illnesses.Sutter Pacific Medical FoundationThree-time winnerWith a goal to amplify a culture of health and wellness

SANTA ROSA -- As a large health care organization, it is important to walk-the-talk as much as possible for patients and members of the community. As such, Sutter Pacific also sees itself as a community health role model.

"When patients come to our care centers, we want them to feel and experience health from our staff and providers," said Regional Manager Susie Laurenson Shipley.

"At the same time, we want our staff and providers to understand that their health and wellness is a priority -- just as it is for our patients."

Sutter Pacific Worksite Wellness goals include supporting employees to make healthy lifestyle choices through education, activities and peer support.

The medical foundation also looks at health from a holistic perspective. The Worksite Wellness program is steered through a committee led by Sutter's Institute for Health & Healing within its integrative medicine department.

"We have many testimonials and statistics that demonstrate the efficacy and positive results of our efforts," Ms. Shipley said.

For example, over 50 employees increased the number of steps they take each day by over 100 percent during a three-month Spring Step Challenge.

One staffer wrote: "There has been a huge change going on in my department and they are really living up to this challenge."

Another employee said: "This challenge has definitely helped me become healthier. When this challenge is over, I plan to keep practicing making healthier choices."

Employees are watching Sutter Pacific's You Tube videos on stress management exercises and practicing with their department colleagues.

"We know our efforts to amplify a culture of health will continue to produce results. We also know that addressing employee wellness from a broad perspective, and with a deep understanding of health and healing, will support a committed and inspired team to lead the next evolution of health care," she said.W. Bradley Electric, Inc.Four-time winnerMaking fitness a priority improves job satisfaction and cuts sick days

NOVATO -- "When employees work hard and also have family responsibilities after hours, wellness can easily be forgotten or given less priority," according to Daryl Morris, marketing and business development associate with W. Bradley Electric Company. "This is why we place strong emphasis on promoting employee health and provide both tools and encouragement to make wellness the lifestyle of choice at work as well as at home."

This philosophy has paid off in terms of fewer sick days for employees, greater job satisfaction, increased weight loss among those participating in pound shedding challenges, and lower stress levels across the company among 50 percent of WBE's 140 employees who are involved.

The range of wellness committee programs at WBE includes yoga classes, Lunch-n-Learn sessions by the Diabetes Association, background briefings by the Aids Walk staff, and speakers discussing mental health, to mention a few topics.

The company has an on-site gym complete with free weights, elliptical and treadmill workout machines. There is a health snack program in place, and everyone has access to an off-site nurse by phone that can provide advice and counsel on health and wellness-related issues.

WBE offers flu shots to employees and brings in a massage therapist each year to help the staff unwind while at work.

"Fitness can be fun as well as personally rewarding, especially if it is associated with competitions," Mr. Morris said. "With this in view, we like to sponsor horseshoe and ping pong tournaments and weight loss challenges that pit groups and individuals against each other or just to beat a predetermined goal. At the end of the day, these competitive activities have a way of increasing participation leading to improvements in employee health."Workrite ErgonomicsFirst-time winnerA focus on wellness helps redefine culture and improve morale

PETALUMA -- As an internationally recognized leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of innovative ergonomic products and office equipment for the workplace, Workrite Ergonomics provides its customers with tools to create comfortable, healthy work environments.

"Workplace wellness is the cornerstone of our products," according to Human Resources Specialist Melissa Morelli. "As such, implementing a fully-funded unanimously supported comprehensive wellness program was a natural extension of our business."

At Workrite, all employees are provided with adjustable height workstations and other ergonomic accessories.

"However, we have moved wellness beyond providing ergonomic equipment. This program is important to each Senior Leadership Team member, specifically the president. Our goal is to reward every employee with a wellness bonus in 2015 based on their 2014 wellness efforts," Ms. Morelli said.

The program's mission statement summarizes the importance of these investments.

"The mission of the Workrite Wellness Program is to inspire, create and maintain a workplace and environment that supports and encourages healthy lifestyles by our team members."

Worksite launched its wellness program in July 2014. Because the program is new, the company has enough time and experience to quantify and track specific results, but employee participation has exceeded expectations.

"The culture shift is noticeable and employees love it. From late night after work ping-pong games to our October walking competition between departments and company-paid biometric screenings, employees are getting engaged," said Ms. Morelli.

The program has inspired employees to use their health insurance for preventative care -- which is a major company focus. At the same time, healthier food and beverage choices are being made, employees are walking more at breaks and, most importantly, coworkers are talking about all elements of health.

"We look forward to tracking specific results during the first full year of our program. We know there will be some amazing success stories," she said.

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