What are some examples of how you influence your employees to stay healthy?
The one thing I, as well as other leadership, try to do is remember that employees are at their best when they take care of themselves personally. Long hours sitting at the computer may look productive, or employees who rarely take vacation may look dedicated, but as humans this is likely not true. I believe that employees perform better when the standards are high but personal care is also encouraged. Encouraging breaks and healthy activities can be balanced with encouraging high performance.
Do you have any employees that really take a strong initiative in their activity level while at work?
There are several employees who commit to taking the stairs every day, rather than the elevator. Additionally, Dr. Holly Felix (COPH) a faculty member has a treadmill in her office to walk while she works.
As an office, one of the main things we do is encourage walking meetings. You can save your meeting notes on your phone and take them with you. I have found that walking usually stimulates the conversation, so walking meetings have been more productive. We are fortunate to have accessible sidewalks around our building.
What do you encourage your employees to do for themselves during the day?
We encourage employees to take breaks throughout the day. Employees can feel pressured to work, non-stop, throughout the day, even eating at their desk and working through lunch. We have communicated to employees that not only is it okay to take breaks, it is encouraged to walk away from your desk. Specifically, we tell employees to block out “walking” or break periods on their calendars so that their time away is not interrupted.
Additionally, some employees walk to lunch. There are a few lunch spots close to campus, and even though we don’t have great sidewalks to those restaurants, I still see people make the effort to walk!
Your PT program is an integral part of campus not only with their curriculum, but their addition to your employees support for health as well. Can you tell me more about their role?
I think that having PT is a great influence on the rest of the campus, I am very excited that this program is already so successful.
Tell me what you and Dr. McElfish have planned going forward you would like for the Northwest campus?
NW Campus has decided to participate in the Get Healthy UAMS initiative. A local committee has formed and we are starting with mapping out walking routes around campus, improving vending and market food options, and creating a breastfeeding friendly campus.
We are excited about this initiative and glad to have a local committee that will be actively setting goals for a healthier Northwest Regional Campus.