Walk your way to health
Chairman Thomas Monaghan says encouraging your employees to walk has multiple benefits . . .
As Catholic business leaders, we all want what’s best for our employees and our business. As this year draws to a close and we prepare for a new calendar year, one thing that we’re all dealing with is health care.
I think we would all agree that a healthy employee is a better employee. Not only do healthier employees have less absenteeism and lower health costs, but they’re more energetic and usually more optimistic.
But how do we foster an environment in the workplace that promotes healthy living? There are numerous things we can do, but I want to share just one with you: promote walking. Yes, walking!
A couple of years ago, during my annual visit to Cooper Clinic in Dallas, the wellness staff did a presentation on the benefits of walking and gave us all pedometers. Dr. Cooper challenged us to get in at least 5,000 steps a day — and to try for 10,000! I like challenges, and I like tracking things I can measure. So I started writing down my number of steps per day. I decided never to have a day under 5,000 steps, and I’d try to average 10,000.
I was so convinced of the positive benefits that we had pedometers made with the Ave Maria University logo, and we gave them to all employees as a Christmas present.
We have a number of fun contests, all having to do with how many steps each person took during the previous month. There is an award for those who come in first, second and third in terms of the highest daily averages. But we also do other fun awards. For example, the names of those who beat my average go into a drawing, and we select a winner. We give out prizes at our monthly all-employee meetings and try to use the time to build esprit de corps.
The bottom line is that we try to make being healthy fun. And it’s working! If people have fun doing it, they’re more likely to keep doing it. Some walk with their colleagues during lunch breaks, and others walk with their spouses in the evening.
Promoting healthy living among our employees helps them to be healthier. It’s good for them, but it’s also good business. Walking is something I can do to stay healthy personally — and for Ave Maria University — one step at a time.
Thomas Monaghan is Legatus’ founder and chairman. He is a member of Legatus’ Naples Chapter.