A work site wellness program is designed to support employee health and encourage positive lifestyle behaviors such as increased physical activity, healthy eating, reduced tobacco exposure and reduced stress. A healthy, motivated employee is vitally important to a workplace as a whole and has a significant impact on an employer’s bottom line. A work site wellness program can help employers manage the cost of health care, benefits and insurance by providing a positive ROI. The annual return on investment for work site wellness programs is three-six dollars saved for every One dollar spent after about two to five years.
In 2017, Benton County collaborated with Stearns and Sherburne Counties to offer workplace wellness opportunities. Tri Wellness at Work is the tri-county initiative intended to engage companies in planning, assessing, and implementing a workplace wellness program. Each county has five employers participating. Benton County has a group of diverse employers ranging from assisted living to manufacturing with the potential of reaching almost 1,200 employees. This is in addition to the six work sites that Benton County worked with in the previous year, reaching nearly 2,500 additional employees.
Tobacco Free County Grounds
On August 16, Benton County Commissioners passed a Tobacco-Free Grounds Personnel Policy that will go into effect June 1, 2017. The policy change was brought forth by the employee wellness program, the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership and Crave the Change of CentraCare Health. This new policy will protect staff from secondhand smoke exposure, and promote a tobacco-free lifestyle by prohibiting tobacco use on county properties. Members of the community are asked to support their culture of health by also refraining from tobacco use while visiting county properties.
Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace
In recognition of the well documented health advantages of breastfeeding for infants and mothers, many of the participating employers have been working on breastfeeding support programs for mothers returning to work. Benton County, being one of them, has been recently recognized as a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace by the Minnesota Department of Health.
With 11 partner sites, Work site Wellness activities reached 3,444 employees.