Small Changes Make a Big Difference in Itasca County Worksites

by Kaitlin Box

Businesses all over Itasca County are embracing worksite wellness. Over 17 businesses, with more asking every month, have participated or are currently in a worksite wellness collaborative. Whether they are an alumni or just starting out, everyone has been able to create new wellness opportunities within the workplace. One of those places is Essentia Health Deer River. The wellness team here was able to get together every month! They used this time to plan out different challenges or type of encouragement to be used for the upcoming months.

A bulletin board is an easy way to remind people about healthy choices.

One of these events that were planned as a result, was a Positive Affirmation Challenge. For one month, a large poster was put up in the hall for employees, patients, and family’s to write positive words of encouragement or to express what they were grateful for. It was such a great success that when the poster came down there were requests for the poster to go back up! Everyone loved walking by and reading all of the comments that people had written. It became a staple in the workplace.

Businesses in Bigfork are also taking part in the worksite wellness movement. Each business came into the worksite wellness collaborative with a team ready and willing to work! Bigfork School is part of this collaborative. Teachers and Administration are excited to see what they can do in terms wellness for their staff and for their school. With a focus on Healthy Eating and Stress, they are working hard to create goals and start making those healthy choices visible and easy to access!

MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids was also eager to participate in workplace wellness. With a staff of 5, they were ready to embrace wellness and to create a healthy work environment! Small changes with big results were implemented. One of the first changes to take place was making sure everyone got up and moved multiple times during the day. Walking meetings or walking breaks started to be a regular occurrence here. When mini grants became available, standing desk were high on the list! MacRostie also wanted to make sure that staff and the public were always comfortable. One of the ways they did this was to finish the mother’s room they had on site! These changes created an environment in which MacRostie Art Center is proud of. They continue to create change and encourage healthy options in the workplace.

Everyone who has participated or is currently involved in a collaborative, is working hard to include wellness in their everyday life. For some, the realization that small changes can have the biggest impact made workplace wellness achievable. Making one healthy choice every day was the difference. Something as simple as increasing your water intake can have a ripple effect. Drinking more water suddenly turns into making healthy and mindful food choices or making the conscious decision to be more physically active. Wellness is not made up of one huge change. It is small, tiny changes that occur over time, eventually becoming a habit. Businesses all over Itasca County are seeing this and making the choice to create healthy environments for their employees, coworkers, and their customers.

Kaitlin Box is the Community Health Coordinator with Get Fit Itasca.