The Richards Group with Dr. Levine. Photos by Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist.
Wellness Conference Focuses on Resilience in Times of Change
Vermont Business Magazine Seventy-two Vermont employers received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Workplace Wellness at the annual Workplace Wellness Conference, held this week at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpellier. The awards recognize Vermont employers for their activities, programs and policies aimed at helping employees improve their health.
Most Vermonters spend more than a third of their day at work. Research has shown that an environment that promotes employee well-being at work, actively supported by policies and programs, can have a significant influence on employee health and well-being. These practices also have benefits for employers, such as a positive and attractive work culture for potential employees, improved employee morale, and reduced absenteeism and healthcare costs.
The Worksite Wellness Conference brings together Vermont business owners, human resources professionals and wellness experts from across Vermont to exchange ideas and best practices for promoting healthy workplaces. This year’s conference – the first held in person since 2019 – was themed “Cultivating Wellbeing and Resilience in Times of Change”. The event included a panel discussion, workshops, and a keynote from Vanessa Santos Eugenio, Chief Development and Diversity Officer for the City of Burlington and Executive Director of We All Rise Yoga and Meditation. The conference is presented by the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and the Department of Health.
Presenting the awards, Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, thanked the participants for their partnership in promoting health and wellness. Dr Levine acknowledged the challenges employers and employees have faced as a result of the pandemic and called on employers to continue to contribute to efforts to ensure resilience in the workplace.
“The past two and a half years have forced us all to navigate and adapt to new challenges in a host of areas,” Dr. Levine said. “The recovery and revitalization of our state includes resolving our “health debt” – the accumulation of negative health behaviors during the pandemic that will increase and prolong the effect of chronic disease for years to come. We not only need people to improve their lifestyle choices at home, but also support wellbeing in our workplaces.
The Department of Health provides support and guidance to businesses seeking to implement wellness policies. Employers can include implementing family-friendly policies, such as being a breastfeeding-friendly employer, encouraging employees to quit smoking, providing opportunities for physical activity and stress reduction during the day, and increasing access to healthy food choices in the workplace.
To learn more about workplace wellness initiatives for employees and businesses, and find sample strategies and policy templates, visit healthvermont.gov/3-4-50/businesses and healthvermont. gov/worksite-wellness.
Your local health unit also offers support for employee wellness initiatives. Find your local office at healthvermont.gov/local.
List of 2022 Governor’s Excellence in Workplace Wellness Award recipients:
Albert Bridge School
ASIC North, Inc.
Aspire Living & Learning, Inc.
Ben & Jerry’s
Berlin Primary School
Vermont Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Central Supervisory Board of Caledonia
Champlain Valley Economic Opportunity Office
Chittenden Solid Waste District
Chroma Technology Corp.
City of Burlington/HR
Community care network
Engelberth Construction, Inc.
Franklin County Home Health Agency
Gifford Health Care, Inc.
Grace Cottage Hospital
Grand Isle Supervisory Board
Hartland Elementary School
Heritage Family Credit Union
Hickok & Boardman HR Intelligence
Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group
Injury and Health Management Solutions Inc.
Jericho Elementary School
King Arthur Baking Co.
Lamoille County Mental Health Services
Lamoille Health Partners
Maple Run Unified School District
Mount Mansfield Unified Union School District
Mount Ascutney Hospital
New Chapter, Inc.
North Country Hospital
North Country Federal Credit Union
North East Kingdom Community Action
North East Kingdom Social Services
Northfield Savings Bank
Northwest Consulting and Support Services, Inc.
ReArch Company, Inc.
state of vermont
The University of Vermont Medical Center
The Vermont Country Store
City of Brattleboro
United Consulting Service
University of Vermont
Vermont Electric Cooperative
Vermont Federal Credit Union
Vermont Information Processing, Inc.
Vermont Mutual Insurance Company
Vermont Packing Station
Vermont Precision Tools
Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust
Vermont Student Aid Society
VNA & Hospice of the South-West Region
Waitsfield Primary School
Washington County Mental Health Services