Horicon, Wisconsin –April 20, 2018 – Blue Zones Project® Dodge County held a ribbon cutting celebration today for Horicon School District, the newest worksite to become Blue Zones Project Approved™. This achievement is the second step in their goal of becoming the first school district in Dodge County to earn recognition as both a Blue Zones Project Approved worksite and having all schools earn Blue Zones Project Approved recognition.
District Administrator of Horicon Schools, Rich Appel, said, “A healthy and happy staff is a more productive staff and will live longer and healthier.”
To earn this designation, Horicon staff formed a wellness committee and chose to implement evidence-based best practices such as enhancing the physical environment and forming a wellness leadership team to improve well-being for employees. For example, research shows that fewer than 50 percent of Americans find meaning at work. Therefore, the staff decided to participate in a facilitated Purpose Workshop, helping them to define their gifts and consider how they can use their talents, passions, and values to engage in purpose-filled work. Employers that invest in making work meaningful for their employees are more likely to see production rise and turnover decrease.
Staff also completed the Well-Being 5™ survey, which measures five interrelated areas of well-being: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical. Results from this survey will guide the Horicon School District Leadership team and wellness committee in choosing programming that will enhance staff well-being.
Throughout the district there are now designated spaces to go when staff need a quiet place to relax or rejuvenate. In addition, they are encouraged to use outdoor walking routes on nice days. With the newly passed referendum, there is an opportunity to enhance these designated places to “downshift” and improve outdoor walking paths for the benefit of both staff and students.
Worksite environment can have a significant impact on well-being. At least half of the available items in the onsite vending machines fall within the USDA Smart Snacks standards. Bicycle racks are available for both student and staff use and showers are available at the schools. Staff are provided with desk stretches and can schedule micro breaks on their calendars to remind them to get up and move if they spend long periods of time in front of a computer and sitting.
“We need to provide healthy opportunities for people and then let them make choices,” said Appel.
Horicon School District’s Blue Zones Project Approved worksite designation is just the start to improving employee well-being. Plans are already underway to offer meaningful tools and resources at an August employee retreat that includes a plant-based cooking demonstration and a follow up to the results of the Well-Being 5 survey.
Brought to Dodge County by Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC, Blue Zones Project is a community-by-community well-being improvement initiative—designed to make healthy choices easier through sustainable changes to environment, policy, and social networks.
For details about becoming a Blue Zones Project Approved organization or general information about Blue Zones Project, Dodge County, call 920-212-8511, or visit dodgecounty.bluezonesproject.com.
About Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, Inc.
Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, Inc. is an independent, non-profit healthcare organization whose mission is to deliver excellence across a continuum of services to patients in the region of Dodge, Columbia and Fond du Lac counties, Wisconsin. BDCH offers a comprehensive continuum of services to people of all ages, including primary and specialty care, obstetric and inpatient acute care, outpatient surgery and oncology services, emergency services, rehabilitation, independent and assisted living, home care, hospice, long-term care, wound care, urology, orthopedics and sports medicine, interventional radiology, occupational health, pain management, breast health services and women’s health, community education, sleep medicine, and day care for children. For more information, visit www.bdch.com.
About Blue Zones Project
Blue Zones Project® is a community-led well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to a city’s environment, policy, and social networks. Established in 2010, Blue Zones Project is inspired by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author who identified five regions of the world—or Blue Zones®—with the highest concentration of people living to 100 years or older. Blue Zones Project incorporates Buettner’s findings and works with cities to implement policies and programs that will move a community toward optimal health and well-being. Currently, 42 communities in nine states have joined Blue Zones Project, impacting more than 3.3 million Americans nationwide. The movement includes three beach cities in California; 15 cities in Iowa; Albert Lea, Minnesota; the city of Fort Worth; and communities in Southwest Florida, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Wisconsin. Blue Zones Project is an exclusive partnership between Blue Zones and Sharecare. For more information, visit bluezonesproject.com.
Sharecare is the digital health company that helps people manage all their health in one place. The Sharecare platform provides each person – no matter where they are in their health journey – with a comprehensive and personalized health profile, where they can dynamically and easily connect to the information, evidence-based programs, and health professionals they need to live their healthiest, happiest, and most productive life. With award-winning and innovative frictionless technologies, scientifically validated clinical protocols, and best-in-class coaching tools, Sharecare helps providers, employers, and health plans effectively scale outcomes-based health and wellness solutions across their entire populations. To learn more, visit www.sharecare.com.