Heartland Receives Gold in Illinois Healthy Worksite Designation
The Illinois Department of Public Health has recognized Heartland Community College for their worksite health promotion efforts. HCC has been designated as a healthy worksite and was one of six organizations in the state to receive a gold status. Part of theWe Choose Health community transformation grant, the designation was created to engage employers throughout the state in worksite wellness best practices.
Heartland's committee for worksite wellness formed in October 2012 and includes members from various departments throughout the College. Their vision is to ensure all dimensions of wellness are valued and intentionally integrated into the campus culture.
"We spent the first year researching workplace wellness and what initiatives we wanted to implement," said committee chair, Josh Kauten. "What we found was pretty eye opening, especially the cost of doing nothing."
Kauten was referring to a return on investment (ROI) calculator that shows the rising cost of healthcare and projected savings with a wellness program. "We took the state's average smoking and obesity rates and calculated what the savings would be if we reduced the rates by 10 percent. By 2018, we could be saving an estimated $520,000 annually in total healthcare-related expenses."
To be considered for recognition, an organization has to show it promotes and demonstrates various health and wellness initiatives such as healthy eating, physical activity and lifestyle and disease management. Kauten highlighted some of the initiatives Heartland currently has in place for employees such as free access to the Fitness and Recreation Center, free community education classes and a comprehensive healthcare plan that includes coverage for mental and physical wellness.
Heartland also recently implemented flexible scheduling where employees can work with their supervisor to determine a schedule that promotes work/life balance.
According to committee member Amy Munson, this is just a small portion of what they hope to accomplish. "We want to continuously promote and celebrate healthy habits," she said. "Wellness is more than working out, it's all encompassing from stress relief to an office that is ergonomically sound. Our committee will continue striving to meet the wellness needs of Heartland employees."
The College's gold designation will last for three years. For more information about the Illinois Healthy Worksite Designation, visit http://www.idph.state.il.us/wechoosehealth/wch_healthy_worksites.htm.