Wellness programs are becoming as much a part of the workday as lunch breaks at a growing number of Silicon Valley companies. And it's not just healthy menus or access to a gym - these innovative programs are becoming much more integrated into employees' daily lives.
Take Brocade Communications Systems Inc., for example, where exercise breaks, health-food tasting tours and family fitness challenges are among the health perks. Since 2010, the company has focused on improving its employees’ mental and physical well being through its WellFit program that includes the entire family. This is one strategy Brocade is focusing on to lower overall healthcare costs, says program director Jacqueline Szeto.
“Over 50 percent of U.S. healthcare costs come from dependants,” Szeto says.
And this approach is having big results. Szeto says Brocade’s healthcare costs for the year came in below the national average.
It's therefore not surprising that Brocade is among the companies on our Bay Area's Healthiest Employers List, a special publication that the Silicon Valley Business Journal and the San Francisco Business Times team up on to highlight companies putting employee wellness first.
But incorporating health-related activities into the routine isn't always easy. Denise Ritch, director of human resources, at Gachina Landscape Management Inc., which is also on this year's list, says employees were slow to buy in when the company proposed that all 340 employees start the workday with a mandatory daily stretch. Three years later, it's a different story.
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