Workplace Wellness: How a Step Challenge Changed My Workday

Angela Hernandez

| 3 min read

person walking on a treadmill
"This is getting a little out of control." These words have been uttered by more than a few of my Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan colleagues over the last few months, and it's all because of a simple step challenge.
As I am writing this blog, I'm currently walking on a treadmill desk at work. This morning, I took my dog for a 30-minute walk, and I've gotten up once an hour just to get away from my computer screen. Yesterday, my under-desk elliptical peddler arrived from Amazon, and I actually walked out to the delivery truck to receive it. They say motivation is contagious, and we definitely experienced that on our team when we decided to create our own FitBit challenge group. A few weeks ago my coworkers and I made the trek up 21 flights of stairs to the top of our tower, and back down again. We've started doing walking meetings instead of sitting in a conference room. Every step counts in our challenge. There's nothing more motivating than seeing yourself behind on the leader board, or getting a push-notification that it's time to take a walk when someone is catching up with you. If I haven't hit my step goal by the end of the day it feels almost like I forgot about a deadline at work.

Why Workplace Wellness Matters

One of the things I love most about working for Blue Cross is our focus on employee wellness year round. Aside from incentives and rewards for healthy behaviors, we also get access to exclusive wellness deals (members can get these discounts, too!). Our facilities are designed with walk-able paths, we have access to treadmill and stationary bike desks, we have on-campus fitness classes like zumba and kickboxing, discounted massage therapy at work, an Active Blue employee resource network and much more. When it comes to eating right, our BWell program makes it affordable to choose healthier options at the vending machine and in the cafeteria, not to mention regular lunch and learn cooking demonstrations and guest speakers who come to visit us. But actually, most of my coworkers have been meal planning and bringing healthy homemade lunches to work, thanks to our expert registered dietitian Grace Derocha. All of her delicious healthy recipes are available for free, over at our wellness blog, and I'm grateful Grace has made it so easy for my family to make better choices at home.
Working for Blue Cross helped me realize how important it is to work in a healthy environment. Research shows creating a healthy workplace has many benefits for a business' bottom line, including increased productivity and employee retention, and lower health care costs. My previous jobs were also primarily desk-jobs, but I didn't have access to the resources and encouragement networks like I do here at Blue Cross. When you spend as much time at work as most of us do nowadays, it's clear to see why workplace wellness is a critical part of a healthy lifestyle. Does your workplace embrace wellness? What do you do to stay active during the workday? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below. Photo credit: MIBluesPerspectives
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association