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Horton, Inc – Don’t Just Sit There

The challenge for our project was finding the perfect adjustable workstation that was affordable. With a limited amount of funding through the 2015-2015 South Dakota Department of Health WorkWell Mini-Grant, we wanted to be able to purchase as many workstations as possible. We also wanted to make sure they were easy to operate and ensure employees are using them throughout the day.

We were able to get buy-in from managers who dipped into their budgets to purchase adjustable workstations for their employees who had tried out the ones purchased with the grant money and wanted one. With the grant money we were able to purchase five workstations and managers purchased an additional five.

The departments that sit the most and don’t have a lot of freedom to get up and move throughout the day have benefited the most. Those departments are Human Resources, Customer Service and Purchasing. All of the HR department and Customer Service department employees now have adjustable workstations and half of the purchasing department has them. Frequently throughout the day you will see these employees standing and working at their desks. Several other departments have at least one adjustable workstation with several others hoping to be purchased this year if budgets allow.

Since the project started we have stressed to our office employees the importance of physical activity throughout their day. Employees have become more interested in not only being active at work, but in eating right and losing weight. From January through the middle of February our wellness committee promoted a weight loss challenge that had 44 employees participate in. Over the course of those six weeks, employees lost a combined total of almost 300 lbs. More employees are seen walking on their breaks than ever before and many have purchased FitBits and are challenging each other to see who gets in the most steps in a week.

The goal of this project was to combat “sitting disease” among our office employees. Human Resources and the wellness committee developed a plan on how we could raise awareness of this disease and promote activity throughout the day.

Through PowerPoint presentations, posting flyers and an onsite talk from the local physical therapist, we were able to keep the message fresh in our employee’s minds each quarter. The message was also enhanced by the wellness committee sponsoring the weight loss challenge in January/February.

The adjustable workstations were purchased in May and June and everyone who wanted to try one out was given that opportunity. A short seminar was conducted in July by the local physical therapist on the dangers of sitting disease. Over the course of the next three quarters, online training and surveys were conducted.

Our short-term goal is to increase the amount of time employees use their workstations throughout the day. It will be important for employees who have them to put reminders in their calendars so they remember to get up throughout the day. The long-term goal will be to increase the number of adjustable workstations in the workplace so everyone has the opportunity to stand at their desk.

Convincing and inspiring them to get started is the toughest part. It is an important role of HR and the wellness committee to continually remind employees of the importance of getting physical activity throughout their day.