Creating a Culture of Inclusion in Worksite Wellness
For most of us, the workplace is where we spend the majority of our waking hours. Over many decades, a growing mountain of evidence has shown that worksites that provide wellness programming for their employees enhance worker productivity, reduce health care costs, reduce absenteeism and increase employee knowledge about disease prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) This of course also holds true for people with disabilities.
Any worksite wellness program requires a commitment to wellness from all levels of an organization and that commitment should be part of the organization’s operation, mission and goals. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that employers make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities to participate in worksite wellness programs, but it’s important to think beyond just complying with the law, and move towards an environment that is universally designed to support health promotion for all.
Get Moving Towards Inclusive Worksite Wellness
Does your worksite not have a formal worksite wellness program? Has your current worksite wellness program considered how it will accommodate and include employees with disabilities? If not, don’t worry! Any step you can take towards promoting inclusion is good! Here are a few suggestions:
• Collect Baseline Information on Inclusion
Obtain baseline information on your organization’s readiness to include people with disabilities. Simple tools such as the one developed by Work Well North Carolina or the Community Health Inclusion Index developed by NCHPAD can help you.
• Create a Wellness Committee
A wellness committee is a core component of any worksite wellness program. This group sets the direction of activities and should represent the diversity of your workplace. It’s important to either include workers who have disabilities or consult with a disability organization, such as a Center for Independent Living, to understand how to develop your program so that anyone can participate.
• Promote Inclusive Walking Opportunities
Walking programs, step competitions and the like have become one of the more popular ways of getting employees to move more. Walking competitions can include people with all abilities even workers who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices. NCHPAD has developed a fact sheet on adapting pedometers so that people with mobility limitations can use them. Other walking opportunities include: walking meetings, walking clubs, and making sure marketing of such is inclusive of all. NCHPAD has developed a campaign to rebrand the word walking known as, How I Walk.
• Focus on Inclusive Health Messaging
NCHPAD has developed an Inclusive Health Communication Scorecard to help you evaluate the accessibility of the forms of communication used at your worksite.
• Encourage Everyone to Exercise
You can be active, even when at your desk! The NCHPAD tool Deskercise! provides movements you can do from your workstation.
New from NCHPAD: A Culture of Inclusion in Worksite Wellness
NCHPAD is teaming up with the Alabama Department of Public Health to create a tool kit to help worksites take a comprehensive look at how to include people with disabilities. Topics covered include:
• Creating inclusive physical activity opportunities that are unique to worksite wellness, such as inclusive walking meetings
• Creating inclusive health messages that reach people of all abilities
• Health Risk Appraisals/Assessments and people with disabilities
• Wellness incentives for workers of all ability levels
• And More!