Folks who work at Avera Health Plans talk the talk to clients, but now they are walking the walk at lunch and on breaks too. Nancy Naeve Brown has more on how employees are living healthier thanks in part to My 365.
Every morning, at every Avera location system wide, employees meet for the daily line up which is a 10 minute discussion followed by a prayer. At the Avera Health Plans office in Sioux Falls they wrap it up by stretching out. It's led by Debbie Lancto. Debbie was hired to be a wellness champion, a new position at Avera Health Plans.
Debbie says, "It is important. You want to have healthy employees because you are going to get more out of employees and who doesn't want to feel better, wake up energized and read to go for the day?"
Life style changes started about a year ago when some employees changed out their desk chairs for stability balls to work on their core strength.
Debra Muller Chief Administrative Officer at Avera Health Plans says, "Three to four months later a manager asked I'd like the company to start a weight loss program here at the site. It won't cost the company any money they just wanted time on their breaks and lunch hour and a room."
At every cubicle you'll find the essentials on everyone's desk; a computer, phone, a stapler, but you'll now also find tennis shoes under a lot of the desks here too.
Debra says, "A year later those 20 employees have lost a total of 500 pounds."
Support Specialist Joyce Wermerson has lost the most: 50 pounds since last July 2010. She feels as good as she looks.
Joyce says, "Absolutely. I do feel like I have more energy. An extra boost in my step and I have the stamina to get through the day. I walk every chance I get. Even if it's cold and rainy or snowy outside, I will walk around inside the building."
Avera Health Plans has also rolled out a new online health and wellness tool called My 365 for Avera employees and Avera Health Plans customers.
Debra says, "The fact is we are a health company and we needed to start walking the talk. The talk is personal health and wellness and we have to be responsible for our own health that's where the"my" part of My 365 comes in and it has to part of our lives 24/7 365 days a year."
The folks at Avera Health Plans are proving a healthy employee is a productive employee and that makes for happy employers.
My 365 also includes a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) to help you figure out what you should work on to help improve your health and well being and suggestions on how to do that.