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State of Health

Healthy Employees Help A Company's Bottom Line

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

More than 70 percent of U.S. companies now offer a wellness program for employees. It's an effort to reduce healthcare costs, but what companies in Oklahoma have found -  healthy employees are more productive employees.

Two years ago, Janet Carpenter never imagined she'd be inside the Workplace Fitness Center gym, working out.
"Sometimes at the end of the day, that is the last thing that I'm thinking about doing is working out," she said.

The busy mother of four works full time at Blue Cross Blue Shield.

"I'm behind a telephone all day, pretty much eight hours of the day," she said.

But when she got transferred to the main office in Tulsa, she saw an opportunity to get her health back on track - through Motiva, the company's wellness program. 

"We as an insurer, have to be in the wellness business, we have to practice what we preach, right?" said Dr. Joseph Cunningham, M.D., Blue Cross Blue Shield.

The program includes ways to stay active, from an on-site fitness center where employees can exercise around their work schedules to simple things like a standing desk.

"If we expect somebody to live a healthier lifestyle, we can't expect them to live one way at home and a different way at work - so you lead by the example you set," Dr. Cunningham said.

In the break room - there's a market pantry - offering employees healthier snacks and lunches.

"Those are what really helps attract and retain a really high quality work force," said Tana Cashion, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Devon Energy.

Devon Energy also gives employees a nutritious option - with a discount to Nebu, an onsite restaurant with five food stations full of fresh organic food. 
They also offer "The Well" an on-site fitness center - that includes group classes and access to personal trainers.

"We have programming that goes in the morning, lot of programming at lunch and then classes available again in the evening," Cashion said.

Devon partnered with OU physicians to bring employees and their families a primary care medical clinic also located inside the building.

"What we find is that people are able to go there primarily for a very personal relationship with a physician, and it is very preventative in nature," she said. 

These companies are among more than two-thirds of U.S. employers that offer a wellness program to its employees - to not only improve the health of their employees but also the company's bottom line.

"Health insurance, as we all know, it's very expensive and for a company there's great financial implications and so we want to do everything we can to help manage those costs and a part of that is having very healthy employees," said Tana Cashion, Senior VP of Human Resources at Devon.

Janet is already seeing the benefit - losing 20 pounds so far.

It's very convenient because I have time now during my lunches and during my breaks to work out," she said.

Giving her that extra time with her family.

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