Sencore, a video broadcast equipment supplier and manufacturer in Sioux Falls, recognized primarily sedentary behaviors in its staff. Sencore knows the impact that physical activity has on its employees and wanted to create an environment that offered physical activity opportunities during the workday. In 2014, Sencore applied for and received a South Dakota Department of Health (SD DOH) Steps to Wellness Workplace Physical Activity Grant. The goal of this project was to provide the resources and support to increase physical activity. Human Resources and the wellness team were a crucial part in all steps of the project. Staff gave input and feedback as well.
The first challenge Sencore identified was getting leadership engaged with this project. Their engagement was key to the success of the project. It was important that at the start of the project, everyone was on the same page and that there were continued progress updates given to all individuals involved. Other challenges were space and time. The wellness committee knew what they wanted, but needed to find an area that would work and get approval from the organization. They wanted to make the most of the DOH Steps to Wellness grant dollars, so that meant employees giving their time to get things started and accomplished. The key to overcoming all of this was patience and persistence.
A department manager had extra work space and was willing to let the wellness committee reconfigure it to make it work as a physical activity area. This showed that the department was committed to making this project succeed. Sencore provided indoor bike racks, a physical activity area, and an outdoor basketball hoop. The new areas designated for physical activity are available to all employees and impact the health of individuals and Secnore as a whole. They also developed a walking map to encourage employees to walk during their breaks or conduct walking meetings. A plan to promote physical activity is also in place.
Teamwork was a huge part of getting this project completed, and all of the wellness team members chipped in to help get things done. Since the project started, Sencore has shown its employees that the organization knows the importance of physical activity.
“Sitting disease” is common and with most of the workforce sitting the majority of the day, employees received the message that getting up and moving is important. Sencore’s dedication to encouraging physical activity at work is now included as a wellness policy in the handbook.
By putting a timeline in place, sticking to the budget and keeping management involved, Sencore finished the project in less than six months. Sencore has noticed improved morale and increased energy and positive feelings among its employees. After installing the indoor bike racks, a couple individuals who cannot bike to work brought their bike so they could bike during breaks and lunch. Sencore even incorporated games using the new basketball hoop in their annual Sencore Olympics.
March – Brainstormed with wellness committee on wellness grant project
April – Met with CEO for approval
May – Finalized budget and announced plans to employees
June – Installed basketball hoop
July – Reviewed grant budget and put up active area walls
August – Installed flooring and completed painting
September – Installed bike racks and added equipment to active area
The wellness committee plans to build from the project’s initial success. Sencore will focus on continuing to support physical activity and encourage all employees to use the active area. The wellness team will play an important role in promoting and using the area. One goal is to get managers directly involved, not just by saying, but by doing. Additional funding is always helpful as sometimes that can be the roadblock to moving forward with ideas and plans.
Sencore’s short term goals include seeing increased usage of the new active area and engaging employees who may not normally participate in physical activity at work. Supporting and encouraging employees to bike to work or go biking on their lunch hour will also continue. Their long term focus is to outgrow the active area and have a need for more space for a fitness center that gives employees multiple options to get physical activity at the workplace.
To achieve the above goals, Sencore will put an emphasis on the importance of physical activity. This requires education and creativity to keep employees engaged. The committee will continue to promote the new active area and basketball hoop by designing physical activities for employees to participate in. Sencore’s biggest piece of advice for anyone looking to start a project is to get feedback from all employees. For the project to be a success, employees need to feel like a part of it and that their interests are taken into consideration when moving ahead when implementing something that affects them and their collective workplace.
Is your worksite interested in making improvements that encourage physical activity during the work day and setting up a physical activity policy that supports healthy work environments? Click HERE for more information about the Steps to Wellness Workplace Physical Activity Grant or contact Nikki Prosch, SDSU Extension Health and Physical Activity Field Specialist, at Nikki.firstname.lastname@example.org.