Monday, December 5, 2011

Being Well

I recently spent ten days on crutches after a minor surgery on my ankle.  I gained an entirely new appreciation for my mobility during this period of being so limited. Not being able to go through my day as easily as I wished gave me a new perspective on wellness.

During this period, I occupied my mind with a good book, a few documentaries, and some TED talks. I also came across the following article in the Observer-Dispatch: http://www.uticaod.com/living/x300721118/Promoting-healthy-workers-is-a-win-win-for-local-firms. With the opening of the Robert R. Jorgensen Center this fall, I couldn’t help but picture MVCC in this article a year from now, thanks to the good work of our Wellness Design Team.

Earlier this fall, the Wellness Design Team presented the results of their work and their thoughtful recommendations – http://www.mvcc.edu/design-teams/wellness-2010-2011. After researching best practices related to employee wellness at local organizations (some of which were named in the above referenced article), the design team recommended the following three priorities along with the idea of starting small with quality resources and support:
  1. Focus on physical wellness, nutrition and smoking issues 
  2. Eliminate the wellness pass fee for full-time employees
  3. Create a wellness committee to help with coordinating and promoting wellness programming
The design team emphasized the fact that MVCC has a number of great resources already in place – they just need to be coordinated and promoted into a comprehensive wellness program. An effective employee wellness program will draw upon the talents of our health center, human resources office, employee enrichment, our partners at Sodexo, as well as the wonderful fitness centers at both the Utica and Rome campuses. The recommendation to eliminate the wellness pass fee for full-time employees was immediately accepted and implemented so as to minimize any barriers to participation in wellness activities.

As Team MVCC goes about its work of bringing the College together for community walks and fundraising activities, my hope is that the wellness committee will be able to garner similar momentum in bringing the college together around our individual and collective wellness. Walking that fine line between "incenting" without incensing and motivating without offending, an effective employee wellness program will provide people with opportunities and resources that, based on research and best practices, will increase job satisfaction, civility, productivity, and morale, while decreasing stress, anxiety, negativity, incivility, absenteeism, and turnover. It's not a cure-all solution, but wellness programs have continually proven themselves to have a very positive impact on everyone who participates and the organization as a whole.

Whether a lack of wellness is caused by needing crutches, having a debilitating disease or physical disability, being overweight or obese, lacking financial or mental health, or some other life circumstance, achieving a general state of wellness is important for each of us to rise to our potential and achieve success and happiness personally and professionally. The work of the wellness design team and the future work of the wellness committee provides us the necessary framework to bring all the resources and support together to create an outstanding wellness program for faculty and staff at MVCC. Who knows, with the time on crutches behind me, I might have another Boilermaker race (or even a warrior dash!) or two left in me.

If you have any comments or questions on this post, please contact me directly at presblog@mvcc.edu.