By Neil Grasso
On Feb. 14, Sacred Heart University was honored with a gold award by the Business Council of Fairfield County as part of their annual Healthy Workplace Employer Recognition Program. This is the ninth consecutive year that the university has been recognized.
According to the Business Council’s website, 44 companies were recognized this year for the best “forward-thinking wellness initiatives in the region.”
Businesses and organizations were ranked by level, with platinum being the highest achievable, followed by gold, then silver. The rankings were based on implementations of employee health promotion and wellness programs.
Sacred Heart’s Office of Human Resources instituted the SHU Employee Wellness Program in the fall of 2007.
Since then, the university has made multiple improvements in the form of new wellness initiatives to create a healthy and engaging environment for employees.
“We are always looking for new and better ways to engage our faculty and staff in wellness initiatives because we believe that a healthy employee is a happy employee,” said Sally Schettino, Employee Wellness program leader and Human Resources project manager, in a press release.
“Our most recent initiative was to provide a fitness facility and full-time wellness professional for our employees. So far, it has been utilized and very well received.”
“Prior to the new fitness facility, I had access to the Pitt Center for a relatively cheap monthly price, and I thought that that was a really nice facility when I was using it,” said mathematics professor Marika David. “Although I haven’t personally used the new fitness center yet, I’ve heard great things about it.”
Other offerings made available by the Employee Wellness Program include health and fitness classes, wellness events, Weight Watchers programs, a walking and running club, health and nutrition resources and office ergonomics resources.
These offerings are made available to both full-time and part-time employees through the Employee Wellness program.
“Over the summer, I joined an employee walking group,” said David. “It was really nice because full-time employees would walk during their lunch break with the part-time employees that would come by for their classes during the week.”
“It was cool to walk around town with my colleagues during times of nice weather, or in the Pitt Center when it was raining. The whole experience was pretty awesome,” she said.
The World Health Organization’s website details the effects of healthy and properly-functioning workplace environments.
According to the website, healthy workplaces result in increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and improved staff morale among other benefits.
The awards were presented by the Business Council of Fairfield County at the Stanford Marriott Hotel and Spa. Other local award winners included Bigelow Tea and Fairfield University.
“We have learned, not surprisingly, that more than two-thirds of health care spending is linked to behaviors that ultimately make us unhealthy. Yet we have also learned that productivity and health care costs are equally linked to health,” said Tanya Court, Director of Public Policy and Programs for the Business Council, in a press release.
“As costs related to health and health care escalate, business has responded in a variety of ways. Just as our recognition program has evolved, so to have the many ways our workforces have engaged in wellness.”