by Dakota Shayne | photograph by Daniel E. Johnson
There’s a new health club in Grand Rapids. Parkland Properties of Michigan recently opened Monroe North Fitness Center, positioned beneath their company headquarters at 940 Monroe on the west side of downtown. Parkland Property founder Jon Rooks has plans to freshen the fitness opportunities available to his residents and other downtown dwellers. Spreading the wealth of wellness is an important element to our magazine. Living healthy lifestyles is a common goal for our staff. Since Monroe North Fitness is literally footsteps from our offices, it was a no-brainer to join the club and get involved as a group.
Wellness in the workplace is valuable. Beyond the obvious benefits of physically healthier team members, exercise makes a positive impact on physiological functions. Studies have shown that exercise reduces workplace stress and increases creative potential.
“Within the next decade corporate wellness will be a major initiative by most large companies in America.”
– Peaches McCahill
To take a deeper look at corporate wellness and why more companies are making the decision to take action, I spoke with Peaches McCahill founder of Michigan based wellness agency The McCahill Group. In the late 70’s Peaches was studying Industrial Recreation at Michigan State University and teaching exercises classes to the physically challenged. In 1984 she had a dream to start a wellness company focusing on customized corporate programming. Dreams became reality in 1986 when Steelcase hired McCahill to design a fitness facility at their company headquarters. Since then, companies such as Dow Chemical, Amway, The Rapid and Foremost Insurance have followed suit and hired
McCahill to develop their wellness programming.
So what’s the benefit of working with a wellness agency versus developing a program in house? “The benefit is the consortium of professionals so your company isn’t isolated. A multitude of minds is always better than a single thought,” explains McCahill. Every company is unique. Each corporate culture must be looked at individually to understand the company’s concern. McCahill believes that conducting environmental analyses is the only way to figure out how it can be modified to support a wellness culture. A transit driver’s working environment is much different than that of an insurance professional, so customized planning must be implemented.
“Within the next decade corporate wellness will be a major initiative by most large companies in America,” says McCahill. “Senior management participation and seamless integration is the only way for any wellness initiative to be effective.” The influencers in a corporate setting aren’t your top executives, it’s your senior management. Senior managers communicate with workers on a daily basis and have a better ability to motivate and exemplify. Employees need leadership and resources to make behavior change. If you provide people with opportunities to do wellness people will do wellness, and working with peers gets the job done.
Women’s Lifestyle staff is excited to be collaborating with Monroe North Fitness to help us become a healthier and happier multi-media platform. Already we’ve experienced positive change by attacking our fitness goals collectively. After learning more about the McCahill Group’s approach to corporate wellness it’s evident that companies of all sizes and industries have the ability to become healthier businesses. Whether you’re a small office or a large organization looking to develop wellness programming establish your concerns, tap into your employees interests and make it fun! Small steps create large changes.