We are HealthFitness, and we’re “better” people. We believe that achieving better health is a unique lifelong journey that is best achieved when people have help along the way.
Help from people like Kenya Orr, a HealthFitness program manager who serves 1,200 employees at a global plastics manufacturing company with headquarters in Mount Vernon, Indiana.
For 21 years, Orr—along with her team—has inspired employees to choose better, feel better and improve their wellbeing at the company’s 8,000 square foot fitness center.
The on-site team takes fitness to a new level for employees, retirees and their spouses through group exercise, recreation, outdoor programs, health improvement programs and personal training. “The majority of our members are workers who rotate 8-to-12-hour shifts, 24 hours-a-day,” she says. “So if they find time for a workout at the fitness center it must be before or after their shift.”
To encourage participation in the fitness center, Orr makes sure employees have everything they need for a workout, including staffing the fitness center from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. “We even wash and dry their workout clothes and put them in their locker,” she says.
Integrating wellness with the fitness center
Although the fitness center receives strong participation, Orr and her team help boost employee engagement by moving beyond the four walls of the fitness center.
“Fitness is more than getting employees to complete a challenging exercise or walk on the treadmill,” she says. “It’s about integrating with the safety department, the ergonomics team and providing a wide variety of wellness programming to meet the needs of as many employees as possible.”
To extend the reach of the fitness center, Orr and her team partner with the safety team to lead 5-10 minute pre-work stretching and provide health topics to discuss during safety toolbox talks each morning. They also partner with the ergonomics team to conduct quarterly work station assessments.
To keep wellness top-of-mind for the office workers, the on-site team conducts stretch breaks at meetings throughout the company and presents healthy seminars on topics including nutrition, stress management and overall wellness in the workplace. “We reach employees where they are,” she says. “Whether that is leading a stretch break on the production line or conducting a seminar on stress management in a conference room.”
Engaging remote workers with virtual wellness
To reach remote employees throughout the company’s 11 U.S. locations in nine states who don’t have access to the fitness center, Orr and her team created REVIVE, a virtual, on-demand health and fitness program. Workers receive a calendar via email each week with a link to the REVIVE Skype sessions and employees can participate from their office or from home. Through REVIVE, the teams offer more than 15 sessions per week called Energy Breaks covering topics such as Desktop YOGA, Balance & Breathe, Office Dance Party, Tension Tamers and Get UP & GO.
The team also delivers virtual wellness challenges and short REVIVE Knowledge sessions. The REVIVE Energy Breaks continue to grow in attendance and offerings. “The response has been terrific,” she says. “We have truly created a culture of health by leveraging the technology of Skype sessions and the energy of our staff.”
Providing a face and a place for 21 years
Although the virtual REVIVE program is a success, Orr says employees still appreciate the face-to-face support they receive from the team. “The best part of my job is seeing people reach their health and fitness goals—whether it’s running a half marathon, losing weight or simply making healthier choices,” she says.
She also enjoys the variety of her work and meeting the needs of the employees. “Some people do their own things in the fitness center, others want more personal training,” she says. “Our team is ready to meet everyone’s needs. For example, if we see someone running on the treadmill every day, we might encourage them to try something different—like group exercise classes—to learn how to exercise different areas of their body.”
Orr is inspired to see employees taking care of their health—even after they leave the company. In fact, she still receives emails and phone calls from employees after they retire or move away to provide updates about their wellbeing and fitness efforts. “Former employees share how much they appreciated the company’s support of their health,” she says. “They want to pass on the message to current employees that they shouldn’t take the company’s health and fitness opportunities for granted because they will miss them when they leave.”
After more than two decades, Orr cherishes the lifetime connections she’s made with employees. “I’ve been to weddings, funerals and every major life event in between,” she says. “I am honored to be in their lives and feel privileged that they are in mine.”
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