As I was getting my kids out to school this morning with their lunches packed, I began to exercise the idea of how I might fit exercise into my daily life. I'm not having much luck -- yet. But I am working on it.
Given this, I can't help but be in awe of a handful of companies Working Mother chose to honor this month for their Health & Wellness leadership. Those employees have no excuses not to have a healthy lifestyle. In our 27th year of honoring the 100 Best Companies for their leadership in family-friendly benefits and culture, we decided for the first time to single out ten inspiring companies who are taking the long view of their employees. They cultivate resilience to help workers deal with stress, overload and focus on the positives. They have more energy, and are more productive.
Who are these 10 companies? General Mills, Goldman Sachs, Ernst & Young, Johnson & Johnson, Verizon, Discovery Communications, Mercy and Wellstar Health Systems, Morgan Stanley and Cornell University all received top honors this year. General Mills headquarters has an on-site fitness center and medical center. On September 28th, they will offer an outside yoga class attended by about 30 employees. Verizon offers 44 on-site health centers where more than half a million employee workouts were logged last year. IT manager Laura Poor, a mom of two, told us that since she joined Verizon's center, "I am healthier than I have every been." Discovery Communications based in Washington, DC hosts a four-month fitness challenge in which 65 percent of the workforce participated.
At these Top 10 Best companies, working moms see stress as just another management challenge, but they are able to keep fitness on their to-do lists.
Keeping fit and energized is as important as taking your child to ballet class or taking another business call. Traci Mitchell, creator of the 40 Day Shape Up Plan and mom of two says: "Working moms are pulled in a lot of different directions, so they need more 'me time' to reconnect with their own priorities and goals --physical, mental and even social. Exercise covers all three of these bases."'
In the October/November issue, we focus on resilience, a concept of building a
system for yourself of stress management. We've all heard about positive stress called eustress. Amy Richman, EdD, senior consultant at WFD Consulting, which focuses on work life balance, says: "It's like sprinting in short bursts, stress can get us to perform our best." People who are resilient are valuable to organizations. They focus on the positive and they don't let themselves get overwhelmed or fried.
Last year, one of our top 10 picks, Goldman Sachs, enlisted 3,200 employees to participate on a week-long program on resilience. The sessions they provided ranged from nutrition to sleep habits and nutrition to help employees get more satisfaction from their work and personal lives.
So, I have vowed to listen to my "True North" to listen to my inner voice to invest my time more wisely and to re-order my non-negotiables. I hope you will be as inspired by the Top 10 Companies for Health and Wellness for 2012 as I am.