Angie’s List fitness program wins award
In a recent conversation with a co-worker, I reflected on my tenure as wellness director of Angie’s List. Never would I have fathomed our wellness program being nationally recognized and impacting our employees the way that it has over the past six years.
However, this year, we received a Healthiest Companies in America award from Interactive Health Inc., a wellness company that offers outcomes-based health management solutions for employers.
I started my journey here in 2007 in a small building on our campus in Indianapolis. There were five treadmills, but if you turned on more than three at a time, the lights would shut off. The fitness equipment wasn’t well placed either, so if someone was bench pressing, you couldn’t use the leg press, and if someone was leg pressing, you couldn’t do squats.
I had to make some adjustments so that everything worked well together. This was not only in terms of equipment placement, but also for the fitness classes — including yoga, pilates and boot camp — and health programs we offered to employees.
I took the initiative and brought all of those programs under the wellness umbrella. Today, we have a comprehensive wellness program, and we recently opened a new employee fitness center.
We also offer annual biometric screenings designed to give our employees insight into their overall health and Lunch & Learn classes on physical, mental and financial health topics.
Our expecting parent classes have recently grown into a parenting program that helps integrate parents seamlessly back into the workplace.
Our garden has become a favorite among employees who get to grow and have access to fresh vegetables and fruits. Some also join our cooking club that teaches them how to prepare healthy meals.
We have a bike-to-work program, an annual health fair, wellness/relaxation rooms and countless other programs. Employees who are invested in their health, self and well-being are rewarded through fit points and can earn gift cards each quarter.
Angie’s List encourages other corporations to follow suit and I’ve mentored other local businesses as they launched their own wellness initiatives. While the initial investment may seem steep, the return on that investment in employee health is well worth it.
I have seen dramatic changes in our staff. For example, I helped one employee who hadn’t worked out in years lose 50 pounds and reduce his body fat by 50 percent. He started a diet plan and has significantly lowered his cholesterol.
Employees helped to shape our fitness program, so it never hurts to ask your company about starting one. The responsibility of health and wellness lies within all of us who are informed enough to invoke the change in behavior and create a healthier society.