For employees at the Beach Cities Health District in Southern California, healthy living is more than just being physically fit. It's also about being part of a community, taking long walks with friends, volunteering to create gardens at local schools, or learning how to cook nutritious meals.
While employees have ample opportunities to improve their physical health at the public health district's 17,000-square-foot fitness facility, they also have access to a wide array of services and programs that address their mental, spiritual and financial well-being.
In fact, the agency's wellness program, WorkWell to LiveWell: Healthy Working Families, is built around five areas: physical health, social connection, community involvement, financial wellness and a sense of purpose. There are personal finance classes, community volunteer opportunities, a career mentorship program, fitness challenges and walking groups called “moia”—a Japanese term that means social support group.
“Integration is the linchpin of what we do,” said Megan Vixie, human resources director at the Redondo Beach-based organization. “That's the difference between having a culture of wellness and a program. When we changed CEOs last year, everything we built could have completely crumbled, but it's a self-sustaining system that can't be thrown off course because its such a part of who we are and what we do. ”
A growing number of employers are investing in “total wellbeing” programs that address issues like financial, community, environmental, spiritual and social wellness, according to a 2016 survey from Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health.
Classes in resilience and meditation and other stress reduction techniques are also booming, with 87% of employers offering emotional or mental wellness programs, according to the report. And that number is expected to rise with 67% of employers planning to expand their total well-being programs.
The Beach Cities Health District, which offers preventive services and programs to residents of Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach, bases its holistic approach on the Blue Zones Project, a well-being improvement initiative that uses scientifically proven principles of longevity, health and happiness to improve community health, according to Jackie Berling, chief wellness officer at the district.