"One Step at a Time" - "Get moving Cunningham!" That voice, screaming in the back of my head, was none other than Gunny Sergeant Sullivan: The meanest Marine I have ever met. He was our exercise drill sergeant in a Boot Camp style course I went through many years ago.
Gunny's motto was, "Tough times don't last, tough people do." As I went through this course there were several moments where I thought my entire body would fall apart. But Gunny Sullivan was behind us screaming the entire way and no one wanted him to catch up to us. I was personally convinced that the pain of running was nothing compared to what he would do to me if I stopped.
One particular morning, he roused us out of bed and we went for a run. Halfway through the run, down by the water in Newport Rhode Island, he took us out to a field where he had us all doing jumping jacks. We began to notice that our feet were slick. This was because the geese had used this field repeatedly. Following the jumping jacks, as you can imagine, we did push-ups and, yes, sit ups. Running back to the barracks, we could hear Gunny laughing at the back of the pack as we were covered in goose poop.
Now, I am sure that your employee wellness program will not involve hiring a Gunny Sergeant to run your staff through a field of goose poop. However, your wellness program does need to exist. We were pleased this past week to welcome the Healthy People of the Kennebec Valley to our Business Insider Breakfast. They presented awards to local companies making a difference with their wellness programs. These companies have found unique and creative ways to improve the health of their employees, often with minimal effort.
As many of you are small businesses, you may not have the flexibility or resources to have a day to gather all of your staff and focus on wellness. But there are still many things you can do. You could invite a health coach to meet with individual members of your staff. You could invite financial advisers to come speak about financial wellness. After all, when we refer to workplace wellness, we like to include all aspects of health. Some businesses have found it beneficial to simply provide a fruit basket for their employees to get snacks from instead of the vending machines. The benefits of a healthy workplace are immeasurable. They include a reduction of sick days, increased productivity and a huge boost to morale.
So take some time to learn more about workplace wellness by contacting the Healthy People of the Kennebec Valley or other wellness resources in our region. We at the chamber have recently become bitten by the fitness bug through the use of FitBit technology. In fact, I dictated this blog into my phone while walking around our conference table to get my morning steps in. We are also holding meetings that involve walking around the table to get in our steps as a group. In May, we are excited to team up with the Mid Maine Chamber in a steps competition against the Kennebec Valley Federal Credit Union. Those bankers will never see us coming!
So embrace the spirit of spring and new beginnings, start something new, and bring your employee's health to the forefront of your focus. For the record, I have named my Fitbit "Gunny." For more info on the Healthy People of the Kennebec Valley, visit them on Facebook