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Developing a Culture of Wellness

Long-term, meaningful benefits for individual employees and the company happen when wellness becomes part of the company culture. When management and employees understand the importance of healthy behaviors and support each other in doing them, positive change on the job may have benefits at the job and beyond the job such as healthier employees and employees' families.

A positive wellness culture in the workplace contributes to the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of workers.  The workplace becomes more productive and positive when employers integrate breaks for rejuvenation. It also helps to establish clear and reasonable roles and responsibilities and shows respect for the time and talents of individuals and their non-work demands.  These steps provide the organization with opportunities to reduce the number of sick days and health-associated costs.

Senior leadership can develop a culture of wellness by including wellness services in the health plan, advocating policies that allow for health management and wellness in the workplace, and providing opportunities on site such as exercise facilities, walking clubs, stress management activities, and healthy eating options.  

Find more information at the CDC's Healthier Worksite Initiative. Any workplace can become an environment for wellness. Here are a few approaches that can contribute to worksite wellness and the safety of workers with diabetes:

Increase Awareness about Diabetes Risk and Management.

  • Schedule diabetes education workshops.  Local hospital diabetes educators may be willing to lead sessions and lesson plans are available on Diabetes at Work.
  • Post information about diabetes on the company intranet. Timely seasonal diabetes information and resources can be found at the National Diabetes Education Program Web site.
  • Work with company health insurers to be sure that people with diabetes have appropriate resources for self-management, such as glucose monitoring supplies, education about diabetes self-management skills, and nutritional counseling.  Medicare has information that can be used as a model for benefits coverage. Additional information about financial coverage for diabetes supplies. can be found from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Talk with your health care plan about offering the National Diabetes Prevention Program as a covered benefit for those employees with prediabetes.

Create a Smoke-Free Environment.

  • Establish a no-smoking policy at the worksite.
  • Recognize employees who have successfully quit smoking.
  • Offer a smoking cessation program as a benefit.

Resources about smoking and tobacco use include:


Support Healthy Weight Reduction and Management.

  • Provide nutrition information for all food served in the company cafeteria.
  • Offer healthy food options that are low in fat, sugar, and salt in cafeterias and vending machines.
  • Provide healthy foods at company events and meetings. Suggest that employee celebrations include food that is low in fat, sugar, and salt for those who want to make healthy choices.


Resources about weight loss and weight management include:


Promote Physical Activity/Active Lifestyle.

  • Highlight management involvement in active lifestyles.
  • Offer gym membership as an employee benefit.
  • Implement the CDC's StairWELLs to Better Health and Take Action for my Workplace Initiatives.
  • Encourage standing or walking meetings.
  • Provide 5-minute facilitated stretch breaks during long meetings.
  • Schedule work meetings at times that don't conflict with wellness program activities such as lunch time walking clubs.


Resources are available about physical activity:

Support Healthy Blood Pressure.

  • Use newsletters or other internal communications to highlight employees success stories.
  • Educate managers to help them recognize the signs of stress and emotional challenges in their staff and  themselves.
  • Share stories about people who use positive strategies for handling stress.
  • Expand health plan coverage to include mental health and stress management benefits.


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