If you happen to be on the lookout for a municipality that can provide you with healthy workplace inspiration, look no further than the City of Lakewood, Colorado…
a city that has received Elite status in LiveWell Colorado’s HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign.
How did they go from a culture audit to a culture of health in just a couple years?
First, they created a wellness program.
They created a wellness committee, hired a wellness coordinator, and did an employee health interest survey and culture audit in 2015. Then they created a wellness platform that incentivizes employees up to $250 per year to do their biometric screenings and health risk assessment in combination with a tobacco-free pledge, health coaching, and online and onsite health challenges.
Then they created a supportive environment.
To promote active living at work, they created an onsite employee fitness room with Fitness on Demand, exercise classes, and the ability to reserve exercise machines in advance. They also placed exercise equipment at remote locations. And to promote healthy foods and beverages at work, they installed water filling stations and partnered with Jefferson County Public Health and Premier Vending to assess and improve the health and energy efficiency of the City’s vending machines.
Finally, they passed policy.
Lakewood used technical assistance from the HEAL Campaign and Jeffco Sips Smart to draft a Healthy Meeting Policy that outlined a set of guidelines, supportive data, and rationale. This policy was reviewed and edited by the wellness committee and members of upper management before being taken to Lakewood’s Admin Regulations Policy Review Committee in February 2017. The wellness coordinator, Lauren Briggs, presented the policy to the committee, pointing out three main things:
It ensures healthy options (food, beverages, time to move) are available
It does not force employees to move at meetings or eat healthy foods or beverages
It shows an overall commitment on behalf of the City of Lakewood to not get in the way of employees making a healthy choice if they want to
She explained to the committee that the timing was right for a healthy meetings policy, given Lakewood’s comprehensive wellness program, supportive environment, and self-insured medical plan. And, she pointed back to the interest survey data indicating 60% of employees agreed that being able to move and stand during work meetings and having access to healthy foods and beverages at meetings is important to them.
The policy review committee offered their support for the Healthy Meetings Policy, making it the first official “employee wellness policy” to reach the Lakewood City Manager’s desk for an official signature of approval.
When asked how she managed to coordinate all of these best practices in just a couple years, Briggs said,
“Teamwork and momentum. Professional guidance, upper management support, wellness committee encouragement, and staff input have made it all possible!”
Since 2015, Well Simplified has provided healthy workplace technical assistance to the City of Lakewood as part of LiveWell Colorado’s HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign.
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