“A quote that I am constantly using is, ‘Your health is an investment, not an expense,’ “ says Gabrielle Miller, Wellness Coordinator for NxtGen Wellness in Fort Wayne.
Miller says as strange as it sounds, wellness is actually being thought of as “normal” now in the business world for prospective employees looking into a job.
“Up until recently, I think wellness had a stigma attached to it that it was just something for big corporations with private gyms to offer. But at NxtGen Wellness, we take a holistic approach. So, when we’re working on wellness, it’s not only taking into account the fitness and nutritional aspects, we’re also taking into account every employee’s mental health and financial well-being and encompassing it all together into a healthier and prosperous life.”
Miller emphasizes that all of the practices offered by NxtGen Wellness are the result of thorough research and science-driven outcomes.
“A lot of times we see wellness programs that are not customized for a particular client. It’s just a cookie cutter or generic program. NxtGen can be completely customizable and tailored to the organization’s specific needs. Our program offers 24/7 access to many different reports to make administering the wellness program less of a headache. We stay up on all regulations and industry standards put in place by HIPAA, GINA, ERISA and ADA. A wellness plan document is something a lot of employers don’t know they need to have, so that’s something that we have propriety to NxtGen and is included with any of our programs we offer our clients.”
“Your employees are your number-one asset,” says Dave Relue, a managing partner of NxtGen Wellness. “If an employer doesn’t believe that, I think they’re just setting themselves up for a revolving door of employees. Our program is unique because we offer challenges that are specifically selected for our agency. The employees who meet these challenges are rewarded through paid time off. They can earn up to two days of PTO per year.”
Relue says all of the challenges are voluntary and confidential and participants can enter their information electronically. Initially, the process usually starts with a screening.
“Each employee will participate in a biometric screening to get their baseline data,” says Miller. “Each person also takes a health risk assessment. So, both of those combined are going to give us their organization’s aggregate risks. Some common examples we see would be high blood pressure, high stress levels or a population that is overweight. We design a program that really fits that organization’s needs and works towards their goals.”
The challenges run the gamut – everything from wearing a pedometer at work all day to joining a walking club.
“Our challenges work on many aspects of wellness, including nutrition,” says Miller. “So, an example of a nutrition challenge is keeping track of your fruits and vegetables by logging that information into our online platform. We also have a water challenge, where you can get credit for making sure you are getting your recommended daily water intake. We can also challenge people on their financial well-being, like a ‘piggy bank challenge,’ where, instead of going to a coffee shop and spending $5 on a drink, you make a cup of coffee at home. It’s just different aspects of a person’s wellbeing that we make fun and attainable for employees to be their best self.”
Miller and Relue say while the challenges offered are tailored to the work environment, the hope is that the better habits the employees instill in themselves will carry over to their home life.
“Wellness doesn’t just stop when you leave the office,” says Relue. “Employees who adopt healthy habits in and out of the workplace have better health. When they’re at work, they’re more productive. When they’re at home, they’re happier. From our research, we see that there is not only a benefit to the employee, but to the employer as well because of reduced health insurance costs, reduced workers compensation claims and reduced auto liability claims.”
Relue also points out that people need to realize that when it comes to work at the office, it’s not about how long you work, it’s about how efficiently you work.
“If you’re just sitting in front of a computer screen for 8 hours, studies show that after about 2 hours, your productivity starts to drop dramatically. You need to get up and change up your routine. Take short walking breaks.”
“And I tell people to be patient,” says Miller. “Wellness doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the small steps that can really add up to those lifestyle changes that will truly impact your health and will help you now and far into the future.”
Phone: (260) 399-4189