Manage your health at work

6:10 PM, Sep. 28, 2013  |  Comments
Derek Bell
Derek Bell
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Choosing the best methods to optimize your wellness and care at work is critical in today's economy. With higher production demands and less workers to meet those, health and happiness at work are the foundations of your company's success. Figuring out the best ways to enhance health and wellness at work are also some of the most challenging.

To promote success with work site health and wellness programs, the Central Wisconsin Worksite Wellness Network, or CWWWN, brings together employers and wellness professionals to share their experiences and encourage best practices in work site wellness. Each quarter, the CWWWN gathers to share, learn and grow health care and wellness at work, as well as highlight a local host company's wellness initiatives. This quarter, the CWWWN visited the NewPage Mill in Stevens Point.

Donna Dewitt, Human Resources Manager at NewPage, was grateful for the chance to share the company's wellness promotion experiences and the value of the network meetings.

"The Network provides a forum to hear from others in the community on techniques they are using to encourage and motivate employees to take better care of themselves. NewPage understands the importance of keeping our employees safe and healthy, and how it can positively affect the bottom line," Dewitt said.

Other NewPage presenters delivering the Stevens Point Mill message were John Reichert, mill manager; Ingrid Burkhardt, human resources generalist; and Shane Frostman, safety advocate.

As with most employers, choosing the right program is a daunting task, made easier by implementing multiple points of contact for wellness programs and services. At NewPage, Dewitt explained their programs include opportunities for educating employees on the benefits of physical activity and better nutrition choices. As well, NewPage utilizes annual health risk assessments as an opportunity for employees to assess their health and initiate a health coaching program to manage certain conditions or diseases. Upon completion of the program, employees earn both a reward of better health and additional dollars deposited in their health reimbursement or savings account. NewPage also utilizes community resources to expose employees to various fitness challenges and offerings in the community, which helps employees take their wellness from work to home.

What we know is that unhealthy lifestyles can be costly to organizations and employees. The best wellness programs follow a similar path NewPage has been working toward - providing multiple and varied opportunities in a comprehensive way that benefits the employees, their families and their work. And, as NewPage has discovered, a strong wellness program is a venture worth undertaking due to the impact it can have on employees taking ownership of their health because they have the tools to feel empowered to do so.

This is the real achievement for work site wellness programs, building lifestyle skills to manage health. This was echoed by LuAnn Fowler, nurse practitioner for Ministry Medical Group Occupational Medicine, who provided her experiences as an on-site provider at companies across central Wisconsin. Fowler recommended companies provide opportunities for care after an employee has had a specific condition diagnosed to help promote lifestyle and behavior changes that lead to healthy and optimal living. This is where wellness programs are a significant component to an integrative on-site health care strategy.

Building stronger community connections improves wellness. The CWWWN provides you the chance to learn how best to implement and manage your health and wellness programs. All are invited to attend this free networking program. The next meeting is at 8 a.m. on Dec. 13 at Sentry Insurance. To register and to view a copy of the CWWWN Resource Guide, visit:

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