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Health & Wellness Spotlight: Building A Healthy Culture At Work

Photo By Hillary Ehlen

We spend many of our waking hours at work. In our quest to lead happy and successful lives, we need to be intentional about making work a positive part of our existence.

The ultimate goal is to create an ongoing culture of well-being that supports us all in our health, happiness and performance goals. This, in turn, creates happy, healthy and successful companies that create lasting impact. A good culture is described as a benevolent invisible hand that guides individuals to make the right choices for themselves and the greater good.

Dr. David Hunicutt and the team at Dakota Medical Foundation have created a holistic company wellness program called P5 that provides the building blocks for healthy work.

The P’s stand for Purpose, People, Places, Practices and Performance. While standing desks, taking the stairs and choosing apple slices instead of fries are important, P5 starts with a mindset, meaning and relationships. Here are brief definitions of each pillar:

Purpose: Purpose helps you get out of bed every morning with that good feeling that you will help create meaningful products, services and experiences. My purpose as a physician at Catalyst is to ease suffering and to help patients AND my employees lead happier, healthier, more beautiful lives. My receptionists are the Voice of Catalyst as they answer the phone, schedule appointments and greet patients with a smile. How can you dig a little deeper to see the greater purpose of your role?

People: Good relationships are vital for good health. Even introverts need people! Focus on getting to know your work family. There will always be moments of conflict, but learning how to move through disagreements with grace is not just a work skill, but a life skill. Have good conversations that are not just about work. Involve real family and work families in events. Have fun! I believe we all deserve to enjoy life, and if we look around with a sense of wonder and gratitude, you can always find something to enjoy, even in your cubicle!

Places: From the physical layout to the color on the wall, it’s possible to create environments that enhance healthy and productive workplaces that are good for the employee and the client or patient. I’ve been around long enough to have witnessed the construction of Essentia Hospital and the new Sanford Hospital. Both are masterpieces of intentional design for employee and patient care. On a much smaller scale, I designed Catalyst to be cozy, welcoming and full of natural light and local art.

Practices: Practices such as “Know Your Numbers,” health education, walking meetings, water and step challenges, and healthy meeting foods are examples of encouraging small changes that can have a big impact over a lifetime. This is where apples versus fries comes in.

Performance: “You cannot manage what you cannot measure… and what gets measured gets done,” said Bill Hewlett of Hewlett Packard Corporation. This goes not only for company production but also for employee satisfaction and engagement. Most companies find productivity soars with happy, engaged employees.

How can you help build a healthy culture at work? Remember, or discover your WHY at work. Get to know your colleagues. Make your space enjoyable and productive. Develop good healthy habits at work. Enjoy and celebrate your successes, and be grateful for the team that helps you achieve them.

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