September 26, 2008
Working out -- on the job
Perhaps you've seen the national news stories on companies providing wellness coaches to help workers improve their health through dietaty changes, exercise, and time management skills. Then there are the Walkstations that have been cropping up around the country -- workstations that allow employees to hop on a treadmill while typing on their computer or attending a confernce call.
But an employer doesn't need a fancy life coach or $4,000 piece of office equipment to help its workers enjoy a healthier, more balanced workweek. In June, King County government was named one of the 54 best employers to work for in the Puget Sound area, in part due to its innovative Health Reform Initiative. In fact, earlier this year, King County Executive Ron Sims received a national award for his employee healthcare offerings.
Employees who enroll in what King County calls its voluntary wellness program receive lower out-of-pocket healthcare costs. The county has been quick to recognize that the healthier its employees, the less chronic disease its workforce will experience, and consequently, have to cough up the cash to pay for.
In addition to offering gym discounts, onsite exercise centers, and loads of online information about diet and exercise, the county offers such perks as onsite Weight Watchers meetings (so much easier to attend when they're right down the hall!). And graciously, lunchtime meetings are discouraged; instead, exercise and fresh air are recommended.
Of course, King County is not alone in its desire to help workers improve their health. If you, too, work for an organization that's taken extra steps to help you get healthy, I'd love to hear about it. The more unique your company's programs, the better.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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