RiseVT had the honor of working with the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) – Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, to get them certified as a RiseVT business. VDH’s mission is, “To protect and promote optimal health for all Vermonters.” They do a magnificent job of supporting the health of our community, and their mission has successfully carried over to the staff’s wellness.
Upon initial certification, VDH was considered a Bronze level business. They were already a workplace where wellness was integrated into the culture. VDH provides standing work stations for all of their office staff. They have healthy food available during celebrations. There are no vending machines available in the entire building. They collaborate with RiseVT on the cooking show, “What’s in Your CSA Basket”, which can be found on this blog and RiseVT’s YouTube channel. They currently provide incentives to motivate employees to be physically active. They also have onsite wellness opportunities such as biometric screenings and flu shots. In addition, they are trained in Mental Health First Aid and provide trainings throughout the community.
When meeting with a business for the first time RiseVT uses scorecards as a guide to see what key healthy elements are already in place at a workplace. It is not a one size fits all program. RiseVT tries to build upon the positive components that business already has in place. A business can be connected to a wide variety of resources within the community to help them expand upon what they are already doing or help them develop new wellness elements within the workplace.
At the initial certification meeting, VDH’s staff and Director, Judy Ashley, were so enthusiastic about the program that they immediately established a Wellness Committee. The purpose of the Committee is to plan and promote policies and environmental changes to encourage healthy behavior of employees. The Wellness Committee was then able to take on the remainder of the tasks, as laid out by RiseVT and the scorecard and the interests of VDH, to get them to Gold.
Specifically, the Wellness Committee developed and articulated a comprehensive Wellness Program. They were able to engage at least 75% of employees in the Program. They formalized an existing practice into a policy to offer healthy foods at celebrations, meetings and events. They also started to integrate wellness activities into staff meetings. They now regularly offer yoga or Pilates to staff. They also have integrated mindfulness activities and movement into their staff meetings. They have a taken a proactive approach towards their employees’ health and wellness.
By creating an environment where the healthy choice is the easiest choice, it eliminates employees having to consciously make the decision each time to “try” and be healthy. It value’s a person’s physical and mental wellness, creating a healthier, happier staff. RiseVT is proud to have VDH as a GOLD level business.