Employers may be increasingly recognizing the importance of prudent approaches to the well-being of their workers, but there is plenty of work to be done.
That was the main takeaway from The Business Council of Fairfield County’s Healthy Workplace Employer Recognition Program, held Feb. 14 at the Stamford Marriott Hotel & Spa. That businesses are paying more attention to the value of good health practices was symbolized by the oft-repeated fact that, over the past decade, the event has grown from a handful of participants and awards to one that this year featured hundreds of attendees and the recognition of more than 50 companies throughout New England.
Following the awards, Business Council President and CEO Chris Bruhl hosted a panel discussion featuring John Capetanakis, vice president of total rewards and HR technology at Stamford’s Affinion Group; Liz Henderson, director of employee benefits at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield; and Tanya Kory, associate director of wellness and fitness at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals in Ridgefield.
Capetanakis said securing top management buy-in and employee engagement on health initiatives is key to helping create and maintain healthy attitudes. Among Affinion’s latest activities in the health space is the “Journey to Well-Being Snooze Tools” program, launched last year, which provides guidance on tracking sleep patterns and establishing a relaxing bedtime routine, as well as a Snooze Tools-branded eye pillow and sleep logs.
“Poor sleep is a problem,” Capetanakis said, “but digging into it, we realized how serious a problem it is and how it can impact someone’s performance at work.” Poor sleep can lead to conditions such as heart disease and depression and can put the employee at a heightened risk of stroke, he noted.
Henderson said risk factors among SHU staff and students include hypertension and depression.
At BI, Kory said, the company had noted several years ago a rise in self-reported incidences of increasing stress as well as an uptick in insurance claims related to stress-related conditions. Not wanting to create a program with stigma words like “stress management” and “depression,” the pharma firm launched the “Feel Your Happy” program, which in turn led to “Share Your Happy,” designed to provide tools for building a more secure, serene lifestyle.
Awards were presented to companies that demonstrated significant wellness achievements in four categories, Platinum, Gold, Silver and Innovation, conferred on the basis of program components and outcomes.
Those being recognized in the Platinum category were: Ability Beyond (Bethel); Affinion Group Inc. (Stamford); Aquarion Water Co. (Bridgeport); Bigelow Tea (Fairfield); Boehringer Ingelheim (Ridgefield); Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (Torrington); Chelsea Piers Connecticut (Stamford); Connecticut Distributors Inc. (Stratford); Crius Energy (Norwalk); EBP Supply Solutions (Milford); Eversource Energy (Berlin); Harman International Industries (Stamford); Hubbell Inc. (Shelton); Mercuria Energy Trading Inc. (Greenwich); City of Milford; Mohegan Sun/Mohegan Tribe (Uncasville); Neopost USA (Milford); Norwalk Community College; People’s United Bank (Bridgeport); Pitney Bowes (Stamford); Quinnipiac University (Hamden); Sacred Heart University (Fairfield); Sikorsky (Stratford); Stew Leonard’s (Norwalk); Tauck (Wilton); The SLAM Collaborative (Glastonbury); Town of Madison; Town of South Windsor; United Rentals (Stamford); Wheeler Clinic (Plainville); Yale New Haven Health System; and Yale University (New Haven).
Gold category recipients were: American Heart Association (Norwalk); Amity Regional School District No. 5 (Woodbridge); Benchmark Senior Living (Waltham, Massachusetts); blumshapiro (West Hartford); CBP (Stamford); CooperSurgical (Trumbull); Coppola & Sons Construction Co. (Stamford); Deutsch (New York City); Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits (Stamford); First County Bank (Stamford); Gault Family Companies (Westport); Grade A ShopRite (Norwalk); Masonicare (Wallingford); Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.) (New York City); Mystic Aquarium (Mystic); Preferred Brands International Inc. (Stamford); Stepping Stones Museum for Children (Norwalk); The Ashforth Company (Stamford); The Hospital for Special Care (New Britain); Webster Bank (Waterbury); and Weeden & Co. (Greenwich).
Silver category honorees included Aircastle Advisor LLC (Stamford); Community Health and Wellness Center of Greater Torrington (Torrington); and Design Within Reach (Stamford).
Innovation Awards, recognizing those who have created a novel approach or tool to address productivity or health issues in their organizations, were presented to Affinion Group and Boehringer Ingelheim.
New to the Business Council’s recognition program this year was the Healthy Building category, recognizing companies that have prioritized health in the built environment. This year’s recipient was The Ashforth Company for its buildings at 707 Summer St. and 3001 Stamford Square in Stamford, and at Greenwich Plaza in Greenwich.