Idea Chain: One Healthy Change

We wanted to know . . . What is one easy change that any office can make to better promote wellness?

We asked: Jason Morgan

“Engage your leaders. The single most important aspect to any corporate wellness program is, and will always be, leadership engagement. It’s a free program, yet it can have the biggest impact on employee engagement. Corporate wellness, as much as it is about improving total health, is also about creating a happy culture and improving morale.

Leadership engagement and visibility shows employees that they care and are supportive of creating a culture of health and happiness in the workplace. This can, in turn, have a positive impact on the overall morale and productivity of the company, in addition to improving the total health of employees.”

Jason Morgan is the senior manager of health and wellbeing at Mars, Inc. Read more on his philosophies for a healthier office here.

Jason asked: Michael O’Donnell

“I have not seen much success in programs that place a higher priority on making easy changes over taking the time necessary to clarify health and organization goals, developing science-driven strategies to achieve those goals, allocating the necessary resources, and implementing efforts in a systematic way.

Helping employees change habits formed over decades of time is no easier than making a bad boss a good boss, a bad marriage a good marriage, or an unprofitable company profitable. That said, it does make sense to focus first on changes that can be done well and have an immediate, visible impact. An important first step is asking employees what help they need to achieve health goals they have set for themselves.”

Michael O’Donnell is the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Health Promotion.

Michael asked: Paul E. Terry

“If you’ll indulge me with a rhetorical allowance, the change I most often advocate for in any office is increasing access to healthy food choices and limiting access to ‘bad for you’ foods. My ‘allowance’ relates to the point that this change, while administratively easy, is usually not politically simple.

I urge those interested in impactful health policy to read Tom Farley’s Saving Gotham: A Billionaire Mayor, Activist Doctors, and the Fight for Eight Million Lives. The book offers a fascinating insider’s rendition of the methodical, and successful, campaign to ban trans fat alongside their failed attempts to regulate soda.”

Paul E. Terry is the president and CEO at HERO Health.

Paul asked: Cara McNulty

“One change, although I wouldn’t call it easy, is to create policies, systems, and environments that drive a culture of well-being that is relevant in the work setting. This means taking a population approach to health and wellness. At Target, we’re improving what we feed our employees, as well as what is on their grocery list, increasing their ability to move more during the workday, and inspiring them to engage in preventative-care screenings.

We know most people inherently want to improve their health. However, they might not know the next step to it. If we create work environments where it is easier to make healthy choices over unhealthy choices, then we help them make that step while also improving productivity, presentism, and quality of life amongst our team members.”

Cara McNulty is the director of population health and team member wellness at Target.