Archived Story

Calling all workplace health nuts

Published 6:00pm Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mower Refreshed will honor business focused on fitness

Mower Refreshed is taking another step to promote a healthy workforce.

Leaders in the grassroots health initiative launched two years ago are seeking nominations for the first Refreshed Business of the Year award, which will be presented at the annual Austin Area Chamber of Commerce banquet in February. The award will recognize businesses that are taking simple steps to help employees form healthy lifestyles.

“It might be something as simple as giving your employees an extra 15-minute break every day specifically to fast walk,” Mower Refreshed Coordinator Sandy Anderson said.

The award was inspired by the “best practices” — or steps businesses are taking to promote wellness — that Mower Refreshed leaders have discovered in the community. The award is being sponsored by the “workforce wellness” goal group of Mower Refreshed, which focuses on discovering ways to increase productivity, reduce absenteeism and better manage healthcare costs.

Anderson said she hopes the award will expand in coming years, so awards can also be given for businesses in each of the small towns.

Anderson said many of the techniques to promote a healthy workforce can be simple and cheap, from allowing extra lunch time for a workout to providing fruit and water instead of candy and pop machines.

“You don’t have to have a huge expensive wellness program,” Anderson said.

Another simple practice Anderson suggested was for businesses to take part in Wellness Wednesdays, where managers can urge employees to focus on a healthy activity like snacking on healthy foods or parking farther away to walk into the office.

“That’s not going to cost them anything, but it does change the culture on that day,” she said.

Anderson said the hope is the award and healthy practices will lead other individuals and businesses to implement similar programs at other businesses.

“That can inspire other businesses to take the next step and promote wellness,” she said.

Nomination forms for Refreshed Business of the Year are available at the chamber website, www.austincoc.com. Submissions can be emailed to connect@mowerrefreshed.org. The nomination deadline is Jan. 18.


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