Employees at 27 businesses and nonprofit organizations across the state are in better shape today because their employers have instituted programs to create healthy workplaces.
To honor health-conscious employers for their efforts, the Business Council of Fairfield County's Wellness Roundtable held its fourth annual awards Tuesday for the Healthy Workplace Employer Recognition Program at the Sheraton Stamford.
The 27 businesses and nonprofits were celebrated for creating a more health-supporting environment for their employees, anything from replacing junk food with healthy snacks in the workplace to building a new $2 million gym. Those being recognized in the platinum category included Tauck in Norwalk.
"Our challenge is wellness in this country," Rob Janes, said director of new sales at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the program's sponsor. "Sixty percent of Americans don't get their daily required fitness activity, and it just makes sense that employers would take part in changing that."
Many of the awarded companies have introduced programs to help employees quit smoking, lose weight, obtain an annual flu shot or screen for a potentially dangerous illness. Some companies even offer financial incentives to encourage the persistence of better health habits.
"Our focus is on prevention," said William Pokluda, human resources manager of Stamford-based Daymon Worldwide, a platinum award winner. "It's critical. Health care reform may change our lives, and employers are in the driver's seat of those changes."
Representatives from several of the award-winning companies also participated in a panel discussion, moderated by Chris Bruhl, the Business Council's president and chief executive officer, on ways to incorporate potentially life-changing health initiatives into the workplace.
"People's health is at the core of an organization's effectiveness," Bruhl said. "Peer support, clear goals and a little bit of competition work well in the workforce."
Carol Kagdis, the panelist from Stratford-based Sikorsky, a platinum winner, spoke about the company's year-old initiative to make the 10,000-employee Sikorsky campus smoke-free, as well as its new gym.
"The main goal is for us to give the message that smoking is going to keep you away from your families, keep you away from your children and grandchildren and change your life," Kagdis said.
Besides the aforementioned companies, awarded Fairfield County-area employers included Nestle Waters North America, People's United Bank, Pitney Bowes, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Purdue Pharma, Stew Leonard's, Ability Beyond Disability, American Heart Association, Deloitte, Hospital of Saint Raphael and Saint Raphael Healthcare System, R.C. Bigelow, Really Good Stuff, Sacred Heart University, St. Vincent's Medical Center, Connolly Inc., Fairfield County Bank, Neopost USA, Sectra, N.A., Stepping Stones Museum for Children and XL America.