|The Beverly Athletic Club provides|
Gordon College News Service
April 3, 2013
As Kathleen McEvoy, 47, reviewed her fitness progress profile at the computer station of EBSCO’s employee gym in Ipswich, she was thrilled by her progress and encouraged to continue her healthy lifestyle.
After battling cancer, McEvoy, who has served as the company’s director of public relations for eight years, says the company’s wellness services made her treatments easier to tolerate. “You have to be mindful of how your health can affect your life including your work,” she said.
Experts agree that corporate wellness initiatives are critical to the livelihood of North Shore residents and businesses, especially considering the leading cause of death in, for instance, a town like Beverly is heart disease, cancer and drug overdose, according to Beverly’s 2012 health department report.
That’s why some local businesses like EBSCO Publishing of Ipswich are investing in wellness services to employees, including MiddleOak Insurance Company of Salem, Beverly Athletic Club and the North Shore Wellness Center of Salem, which is a branch of North Shore Medical Center.
The North Shore Wellness Center offers 20 percent discounts to employees for classes such as yoga, nutrition and gym access. Their newest fitness program—which is also open to the public—is called “Get Fit for a 5K” and began in early March. It prepares participants to run the distance through intensive strength and endurance training. The next session begins on May 16, 6:30-7:30 p.m. and will meet every Thursday for 10 weeks.
According to Lisa King, the wellness coordinator of the Center, fitness programming is well utilized and about 80 percent of participants are employees.
Dr. Don Ganim, an anesthesiologist at Beverly Hospital, said physicians receive a discounted membership to the Beverly Athletic Club. “It’s great, very convenient,” he said.
MiddleOak Insurance Company of Salem also offers free access to a gym for its employees as well as preventative care screens, healthy food options are available and a full time registered nurse who works with employees to establish health goals for the year.
“There have been about three health screenings where employees were found to have abnormalities,” said Erenn Leigh-Kosar, MiddleOak’s manager of human resources. “Had the company not offered screening services, these people’s prognosis could have been much worse.
Corporate wellness initiatives allow employees to bridge the gap between work and their personal lives by including activities and access during the workday.
“It’s the convenience factor,” said McEvoy. “The most popular times to go to the gym are before 8 a.m. and during lunchtime.”
EBSCO’s healthy lifestyle plan, Take Charge, for instance, is multifaceted and includes an on-site gym, company softball teams and popular pedometer program called Virgin HealthMiles, that allows employees to monitor their steps, participate in set challenges with co-workers and manage weight loss. The pedometer program also offers incentives; after reaching 400 steps, participants can redeem their points for gift cards to chain restaurants.
A recent challenge took place between four departments and 83 members submitted their Virgin HealthMiles steps over the course of two weeks. Participants took more than ten million steps, 4,700 miles in total and burned 430,000 calories, said McEvoy.
With offices around the world, EBSCO’s wellness plan is implemented in each, including those overseas. For the 1,000 employees at the North Shore campus, McEvoy said the company’s goal, “is to reduce employee illness, promote wellness and help our employees and families remain healthy and active at work and home.”