The Richards Group with Dr Levine. Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist photos.
Wellness Conference focuses on resiliency in times of change
Vermont Business Magazine Seventy-two Vermont employers received the Governor’s Excellence in Worksite Wellness Award at the annual Worksite Wellness Conference, held this week at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. The awards recognize Vermont employers for activities, programs and policies to help employees improve their health.
Most Vermonters spend more than one third of their day at work. Research has shown that an environment promoting employee wellness in the workplace, actively supported by policies and programs, can have a significant influence on employees’ health and well-being. These practices also yield benefits for employers, such as a positive workplace culture attractive to prospective employees, improved employee morale, and reduced absenteeism and health care costs.
The Worksite Wellness Conference brings together Vermont business owners, human resources professionals and wellness experts from across Vermont to exchange ideas and best practices for promoting healthy workplaces. This years’ conference – the first held in person since 2019 – was themed “Cultivating Wellness and Resilience During Times of Change.” The event featured a panel discussion, workshops and a keynote address by Vanessa Santos Eugenio, Development and Diversity manager for the City of Burlington and executive director of We All Rise Yoga and Meditation. The conference is presented by the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and the Department of Health.
Presenting the awards, Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD thanked participants for their partnership in promoting health and wellness. dr Levine acknowledged the challenges employers and employees have faced as a result of the pandemic and called on employers to continue to contribute to efforts to ensure resilience in the workplace.
“These past two and a half years have required us all to navigate and adapt to new challenges in a host of areas,” Dr. Levine said. “Our state’s recovery and revitalization include addressing our ‘health debt’ – the accumulation of negative health behaviors during the pandemic that will increase and prolong the effect of chronic diseases for years to come. We not only need people to improve their lifestyle choices at home, but to also support wellness in our workplaces.”
The Department of Health provides supports and guidance for businesses looking to implement wellness policies. Some key things employers can do include setting family-friendly policies such as being a Breastfeeding-Friendly Employer, fostering employee tobacco use cessation, providing opportunities for physical activity and stress reduction during the day, and increasing access to healthy food choices at the workplace.
To learn more about worksite wellness initiatives for employees and businesses, and find sample strategies and policy templates, visit healthvermont.gov/3-4-50/businesses and healthvermont.gov/worksite-wellness.
Your Local Health Office also offers support for employee wellness initiatives. Find your local office at healthvermont.gov/local.
List of 2022 Governor’s Excellence in Worksite Wellness Awards:
Albert Bridge School
ASIC North, Inc.
Aspire Living & Learning, Inc.
Ben & Jerry’s
Berlin Elementary School
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont
Caledonia Central Supervisory Union
Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity
Chittenden Solid Waste District
Chroma Technology Corp
City of Burlington/HR
Community Care Network
Cooperative Insurance Companies
Engelberth Construction, Inc.
Franklin County Home Health Agency
Gifford Health Care, Inc.
Grace Cottage Hospital
Grand Isle Supervisory Union
Hartland Elementary School
Heritage Family Credit Union
Hickok & Boardman HR Intelligence
Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group
Injury & Health Management Solutions Inc.
Jericho Elementary School
King Arthur Baking Co
Lamoille County Mental Health Services
Lamoille Health Partners
Maple Run Unified School District
Mount Mansfield Unified Union School District
Mt Ascutney Hospital
MVP Health Care
North Country Hospital
North Country Federal Credit Union
Northeast Kingdom Community Action
Northeast Kingdom Human Services
Northfield Savings Bank
Northwestern Counseling & Support Services, Inc.
ReArch Company, Inc.
State of Vermont
The Richards Group
The University of Vermont Medical Center
The Vermont Country Store
Town of Brattleboro
United Counseling Service
University of Vermont
Vermont Electric Co-op
Vermont Federal Credit Union
Vermont Information Processing, Inc.
Vermont Mutual Insurance Company
Vermont Precision Tools
Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust
Vermont Student Assistance Corp
VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region
Waitsfield Elementary School
Washington County Mental Health Services