WorkWell boosts LBRE health

Workwell stretching

Stanford’s Land, Buildings and Real Estate (LBRE) contributes to Stanford’s Culture of Wellness by providing a beautiful, health-promoting environment. LBRE employees work to create and maintain countless blossoms, 25 fountains, 43,000 trees, 1.2 million square feet of green area, more than 49 miles of roads, 700 major buildings, and a dependable infrastructure that supports the daily endeavors of Stanford faculty, staff and students.

Provost John Echtemendy, at the LBRE All Hands meeting in February 2011, thanked the LBRE employees for “a job well done” and called upon them to take as good care of themselves as they take care of Stanford by participating in BeWell and WorkWell. The WorkWell program was launched in January 2011 as a joint venture between LBRE and the Stanford Health Improvement Program (HIP).

Why WorkWell?

Prior to WorkWell, 270 LBRE employees were hindered in their participation in the BeWell and HIP programs by their work profile, a schedule of billable hours that limits flexibility in the work day, a 30-minute lunch, long commutes, multiple shifts to provide 24-hour service, and a workday based in a service vehicle rather than at a desk and computer. WorkWell offers a program tailored to this profile and enables access to the full complement of health and wellness services.

To help participants attain their Personal Wellness Plan goals, WorkWell provides health improvement programs that match the workday duties of the LBRE technicians and groundskeepers. WorkWell participants are learning new skills and actively taking steps to promote their health and wellness. These steps include deep breathing to sustain energy, drinking water, eating more fruit, sharing fresh vegetables from their home gardens, and exercising more.

WorkWell participants are learning body mechanics and stretching routines that support the movements required for their daily activities. Nutrition classes include facts about healthy ways to sustain energy for physical labor. Participants develop stress management skills for remaining calm in demanding situations, such as maintaining the precise temperature required in a research lab to preserve decades of research.

WorkWell includes 10 minutes of Stretching and Flexing by employees every day at the start of their shift. During the 30-minute lunch, WorkWell participants take off their steel-toed work boots and lace up athletic shoes for a brisk walk led by a HIP fitness instructor. For many WorkWell participants, the day also includes a 5:00 a.m. or 6:30 a.m. HIP Total Body Workout. At lunchtime, peer-led basketball, volleyball or soccer games are played.

LBRE management is supporting these exercise activities by building a state-of-the-art basketball and volleyball court in the Operations/SEM/Grounds Yard so employees can fully utilize their 30-minute lunch break for health improvement and camaraderie.

LBRE’s success with WorkWell

Through WorkWell, as of May 2011, 80% of the eligible LBRE employees have completed their Stanford Health and Lifestyle Assessment (SHALA) and 76% have completed their Health Screening. These percentages increased significantly from 2010, prior to WorkWell, when 34% of the eligible LBRE employees completed their SHALA and 10% completed their Health Screening.

Wellness plan successes include Jesus Navarro proudly buckling his belt around his waistline, newly reduced by 16 pounds; Randy Dennis celebrating eight weeks of freedom from cigarettes; Vincent Stephens reporting his family has replaced the pastries and chocolate milk for breakfast with oatmeal and orange juice; and Sang Yoon lowering his blood pressure from 140/92 to 127/85. A WorkWell participant wrote that this support from management felt like an “act of compassion” to him.

For the WorkWell launch, Jocelyn Steffen, LBRE WorkWell liaison, wrote: “We work hard every day, year after year, to keep the buildings, their systems and the campus grounds running like a well-oiled machine. We service things at regular intervals. We add fluids, rotate tires, test wiring — all to ensure proper function of the university “machine.” In the course of this duty, we utilize many different types of tools. By far the most important tool we have is our bodies. Logically, doesn’t it make sense to care for our bodies with the same degree of diligence?”

For further information on WorkWell, contact Tia Rich, Ph.D., HIP Senior Health Promotion Specialist and WorkWell Director.