Aroostook County Action Program’s (ACAP) 5210 Let’s Go! Program recently met with the team at the St. Apollonia Dental Clinic to provide yoga supplies to help their team members reduce stress associated with Covid-19 and the workplace. Covid-19 has impacted essential employees in multiple ways and yoga is just one example of how employees can help reduce stress.
Many businesses across the state are going the extra mile to support staff during this time. On behalf of Let’s Go!, we recently recognized employers such as St. Apollonia Dental Clinic for their dedication to staff wellness during these stressful times. During a recent visit, the team at St. Apollonia received yoga supplies for each of their employees. The gift included ACAP water bottles, yoga mats, and instructional cards from the 5210 Let’s Go! Program. Employee wellness is such an important topic and in the days to come, staff will begin practicing relaxation and stretch breaks during the work day to enhance posture and movement opportunities.
As the local Coordinator for Let’s Go!, Renee Bragdon shares, “Employee wellness is crucial to the success of any business and research shows that healthy employees are happy employees! We encourage employees and employers to work together to ensure the workplace promotes and supports healthy eating and regular daily activity. We recommend taking one step at a time. Perhaps begin by adding movement breaks into meetings or by eliminating soda at meetings and offering a pitcher of ice water instead and recruit supporters throughout the organization.” She notes, “Cultural change can be challenging, but having champions of change embedded in the organization can help.”
Staff heath wellness is critical to the function of business and the goal of Let’s Go! is to help employers and employees integrate movement and healthy eating into the work day. The program emphasizes that wellness is not something you do only after work, but instead should be part of a stressful work day. Let’s Go! is here to help support employees in improving and maintaining health inside and outside of work. Employers are encouraged to support healthy lifestyles by eliminating rewards that undermine health and replace them with rewards that are just as meaningful. Research shows employers providing incentives and rewards for employees can increase productivity and compliance, recognizing that each workplace will have its own resources and limitation on what can be provided.
There are endless options as businesses work to promote wellness and a healthier lifestyle at their organizations. The Let’s Go! Healthy Workplaces suggests starting with some of the following:
- Follow the Healthy Food and Beverage Guidelines for Meetings.
- Follow the Healthy Vending Guidelines if you have vending machines.
- Transform cafeterias into Let’s Go! Smarter Cafeterias.
- Stand and stretch during meetings.
- Provide movement breaks in meetings.
- Host walking meetings when possible.
- Provide and promote Safe Walking Routes at or near your workplace. Encourage and make time for walking breaks. Lead by example.
- Promote Taking the Stairs with signs and clean, safe stairwells.
- Incorporate Healthy Messages into interoffice communications. (Example: eIntranet, e-newsletters, screensavers, newsletters, and bulletin boards)
About Let’s Go!
Let’s Go! is a nationally recognized childhood obesity prevention program that reaches children and families where they live, learn, work and play. Let’s Go is a program in partnership with Aroostook County Action Program and serves residents throughout all of Aroostook County. Let’s Go! is committed to changing environments and policies at child cares, schools, out-of-school programs, health care practices, workplaces and communities. The program’s multi-setting approach, daily 5-2-1-0 message (five or more fruits and vegetables, two hours or less of screen time, one hour or more of physical activity and zero sugary drinks) and 10 evidence-based strategies are used to effect change across the state of Maine. Strong leadership from The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center, collaboration across health systems, and community health coalitions contribute to the program’s success.