The Road to Wellness Can Start in the Office

We’ve all needed a little extra TLC this past year. You should never neglect your financial, physical, and mental health even when things are going great. While we’re an engineering firm, it’s important to remember that the people that work with us at BFW/Marcum aren’t just the face of our business, but the very thing that gives it life and personality.

The mission of our Wellness Committee is “To improve the health, well-being, and quality of life of all employees by educating and empowering people to engage in healthy lifestyle choices through a lifelong commitment to wellness.”  We have dedicated ambassadors on the committee representing a cross section of our employees at each location and job duties. We thought we would ask a few of them what being on the Wellness Committee means to them.

Your Health Influences Everything About You

If you think about it, your health isn’t just a description of your physical state. It’s not even a description of your overall physical wellbeing. Instead, it’s a culmination of many states that could negatively or positively affect your day-to-day quality of life. That is exactly why our priorities within our wellness program fit three categories: financial health, physical health, and mental health.

We asked David Belt, Chief Financial Officer and chair of our wellness program, why he felt a solid wellness program was so important at work.

“When someone is struggling with a health issue or having financial problems, they will, at a minimum be distracted during the workday impacting productivity, the quality of their work, and possibly their relationships with their coworkers and with customers.

Our belief goes deeper than trying to mitigate those potential negative results.  We believe we have a responsibility to create a positive employee experience.  One of the ways we do that is continuously finding ways to improve our team’s well-being; from a holistic perspective whether it be physical, mental, or financial.  Keeping wellness at the forefront can significantly contribute to providing an exceptional employee experience.  For us, I believe the short answer is we care.”

Introducing: Wellness Ambassadors

What is a wellness ambassador? To put it simply, it’s a person appointed to get their team excited about using our wellness program to its fullest.

We asked two ambassadors, Michael Wooley, Senior Mechanical Designer, and Danielle Klotz, Administrative Assistant, what their advocacy strategy was for getting people involved in the program. Michael chimed in first, “To simply be a Barnabas.  Most folks aren’t interested in a boring speech, they want purpose and simplicity.  So, I try to encourage folks to take part in a particular event or program by keeping emails and conversations purposeful and simple, in hopes that it will spark interest.”

Danielle doesn’t shy away from keeping her coworkers reminded of the meetings and benefits. “I try to remind people in our office about the upcoming meetings/events and tell new employees about the programs.  It’s meaningful to me that our employer cares about the overall health of their employees and provides such great tools and programs to help improve the financial, physical, or emotional wellness of their employees.  That’s a pretty exciting thing, and I want to make sure others know about what’s available to them.”

Wellness Ambassadors Offer Great Insight

We asked David, Michael, and Danielle for some life hacks that anyone can use to instantly improve the quality of their life. They were all too eager to share a few.

David’s suggestion is all about metrics.

“What you measure, you can improve: Take a little time every day to record/track a few things: What physical activity did you do?  What did you eat? Or How ‘healthy’ did you eat?  How much did you spend?  How much did you save?  Then, each day make a small positive change.

If someone in our office is struggling with where to start financially, I suggest they engage in the SmartDollar tool that our company provides.  It’s a systematic process with short education sessions covering a multitude of everyday financial situations and topics.

Every time you receive a pay increase, increase your 401k contribution by at least half the amount of the pay increase.  You didn’t have the money before, so invest it for your future.  Small changes today can yield big results over time.”

Danielle suggests you don’t miss the forest for the trees (or the other way around)

“Try not to get bogged down about your overall goal (weight loss, getting out of debt, etc).  Focusing on what seems like the “insurmountable task” can cause you to give up too quickly, or get stressed out before you even began!

Instead, create smaller, daily goals to focus on—which are much more attainable.  Remember that every choice matters and small choices little by little can have big results over time.

Bonus tip: I am a huge fan of having a budget.  It just takes a little time to get it set up, but once you’ve got it down, it’s so easy to keep up with.  It helps to keep me on track and stay focused on my goals.”

Michael insists that the first step is the most important.

“Not sure if these are considered hacks, but one would be to just start right now, wherever you are at, just start.  We all have areas that we would like to improve upon and it won’t happen until you start.  Even if you’re not exactly sure what to do, just start doing what you know to do and make adjustments as you go along.

Another ‘hack’ would be to think about what the result will look like, sound like, act like, feel like, and go for it.  You may never reach exactly what you picture, but the closer you get to it, the more you will keep going.”

Our Wellness Program is Meant to Strike a Balance

A healthy relationship is all about balance. Without it, you’ll find yourself unhappy, exhausted, or even worse no matter what you set out to do. Our firm’s culture centers around its people, so it’s important to us that we offer a balanced workplace with a wellness program that assists with that.

Danielle brings up a great point; a wellness program serves to remind you that there are things other than your work. This simple reminder of life outside the office can work to free you from an unbalanced work/life relationship. “As we all know, there are only so many hours in the day.  Oftentimes, we jump from responsibilities at work, to responsibilities at home and can forget about taking time for ourselves.  We don’t intentionally put ourselves on the back-burner, but that can happen because of all our irons in the fire.  The wellness program helps remind us that growing in our financial, emotional, or physical wellness is important for our overall health.  It’s a great benefit because taking the time to learn and grow in these areas helps make us more successful in all areas of our lives.”

Michael reminds us that the cycle of work and life are completely contingent upon one another. You can’t have one without the other. “Our work defines who we are, for the most part, so we tend to invest a lot of time and energy in our work, resulting in less time for life. A wellness program will remind us that if our physical, spiritual, and financial health is not where it needs to be, it will not only hinder our life but also our work if we are not careful.”

Let’s Get Started on the Road to Wellness

Whether you’re feeling great right now or think there is room for improvement, it’s important to get started right now in some way, as Michael mentioned earlier. That thing you were planning on starting in one month? Do it now and look back a month from now and marvel at your progress.

Along that line, we asked both Michael and Danielle what an employee can do right now to positively improve their life. They both had the same answer, one which David mentioned earlier.

Danielle is all about 401k match. “I’d encourage an employee to take advantage of the 401k company match.  The earlier a person can save for retirement, the better, so to start now!  Also (because I can’t list just one thing) … I’d highly recommend them to sign up for the Strawberry Hills prescription program.  It’s been an amazing benefit, cost savings to many in our office.”

Michael reminds us that you won’t miss what you never see in the first place. “Sign up for the maximum 401k company match on day one.  If it doesn’t show up on that first paycheck, then you will never miss it. When you are tired of the 8:00-5:00 grind later in life and ready to retire, you should be in a good place financially to decide when it is best for you to hang it up.”

Wellness is all about empowerment. At BFW/Marcum, we pride ourselves on an empowered team at every level; our wellness program is the perfect reflection of that mission.