?? In our state, most of the
businesses actually are
small businesses. And a lot of small businesses
don’t think they can take on
wellness initiatives. They think it’s for big
organizations. But there are so many
things day to day that make
a big impact on wellness. Our employees understand
that we are interested in a holistic, healthy lifestyle. And the policies that we
put in place do everything
we can to encourage it. I love the flex time. It’s a real incentive to
work out during the day. People leave a little early to
get in some exercise. We give them the flexibility to
do that because we know we’re going to get some time back
somewhere else in the week. The healthy atmosphere helps us
concentrate more. And the breaks during lunch,
when we get a chance to walk
around the block, really keep us focused and fresh. I don’t remember the last
time I took a sick day. So if people are picking
healthier snacks; if they can
take time off from work, flex time to do exercise; if they know they’re supported
if they want to quit smoking; all those little things add up. The biggest cost benefit
there is that you can build
a team of people that are willing to work
together and willing to stick
it out over the long haul, because you’re willing to
look at their personal needs not just some rigid idea of the
way a workday should work. If an employee is healthy, is
out exercising, is meeting
people and interacting, all of a sudden we’re seeing
a lot more activity in the
downtown, just healthier, more
vibrant people, which is really starting to draw
a lot of attention to Biddeford. When I was growing up, there
was nothing around here. Now, you walk down Main Street,
there’s all these places you can walk into, art
galleries, restaurants. [“Hi, how are you?”] This is a place that is
very modern, very family
friendly, and nutrition- and health and
wellness-oriented. The changes are
absolutely wonderful. We had 22 vacancies
in the downtown 3 years ago. Nineteen businesses have opened
in that period of time. I’ve been watching the
growth around me, and I’m seeing new
businesses sprouting up. And I saw this storefront
open and I jumped on it.
I want to be a part of it. I can’t really overstate
the importance of planning
a community around the health of the
individuals and businesses
that will be working there. Ten businesses in our downtown,
which are small businesses that
wouldn’t ordinarily implement a wellness program, now have
set goals and made changes
around smoking cessation, and exercise, and nutrition. Once you offer people
the opportunity to get
involved, they say, “I’ve been waiting for this but
didn’t know where to start.” Give them a place to start,
and you’ll be amazed at
what takes off.