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3-4-50 Cross Sector Engagement

# of small businesses with written strategies incorporating one of more of the six VDH priority outcomes for a healthy worksite

198HY1 2019

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Story Behind the Curve

Last Updated: November 2020

Author: Physical Activity and Nutrition Program, Vermont Department of Health


Worksite wellness strategies are integral to promoting the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of employees. In turn, healthier employees are more productive and constructive, having a positive impact on an organization’s bottom line. Worksite wellness strategies also reduce absenteeism and healthcare costs and play an important role in chronic disease prevention.

The Vermont Department of Health (VDH) understands that size and resource base the type of worksite wellness strategies organizations can offer to their employees. Through the Offices of Local Health District Offices, small employers are being encouraged to develop worksite wellness policies that incorporate at least one of the following core outcomes:

1. Promote healthy food choices at the workplace.

2. Go tobacco-free.

3. Help employees to get 30 minutes of physical activity per day.

4. Become a breastfeeding- friendly workplace.

5. Promote preventative care and safety.

6. Support the emotional wellbeing of employees.

Through local District Offices, the Vermont Department of Health provides funding and technical assistance to worksites with less than 100 employees across the state. This measure reports on the number of small businesses VDH has engaged through Working toward Wellness grants to support physical activity and nutrition, Green Thumbs at Work grants to support worksite gardens, and the Breastfeeding Friendly Employer project to support nursing moms at work. District Office staff also provide technical assistance and support to other worksites who are interested in implementing wellness programs or policies.

For more information on worksite wellness, please see the Creating a Healthier Worksite Toolkit.


What Works

Worksite wellness programs benefit the entire organization. In addition to helping improve the health of employees, successful worksites reap the benefits of lower health care costs, greater productivity, less absenteeism, stronger employee morale and retention, and larger hiring pools. A well-constructed and well-run wellness program can reduce costs and improve employee health. Here in Vermont, more and more work sites are instituting these programs.

For companies in the early phase of worksite wellness, choosing one work area, based on an assessment of needs, will make the first step easier; hence the menu above is used with small employers to aid their efforts.

Action Plan

Each District Office's work plan includes assisting up to five employers in their area in 2018. Each of these employers will choose at least one of the six outcomes on which to focus their initial work. Technical assistance to the District Offices is provided by the Vermont Department of Health Physical Activity and Nutrition Program.

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