Editor’s Note: Here at Johnson & Johnson, we don’t just “talk the talk,” but we also “walk the walk” when it comes to health, especially with our employees. Around the world, J&J employees have access to a variety of health-related resources. Global Health Services or as we know it, Live for Life, includes access to occupational health nurses or physicians providing screenings and heath related services, Employee Assistance Professionals who support healthy emotional and mental well-being, and Wellness and Fitness Services to encourage healthy lifestyle behaviors, such as good nutrition and physical activity.
We kicked off 2014 with part one of our two-part series, where we learned how the Chefs at J&J make it easy and exciting to eat healthier food. Now, for the second part of the series, we’ll find out how we strive to keep employees physically active. We hope this series inspires you to use available resources and make small changes toward a healthier you!
Part II: Physical Activity
To find out what we are doing for employees around the world when it comes to physical activity, I caught up with Deb Gorhan, Manager of Wellness and Health Promotion for the Americas.
First, let’s talk about the company’s commitment to employee health, specifically fitness. When did that start?
If you were to dig into the history of Johnson & Johnson, you would find some great early examples from the 1800’s of the company providing opportunities for employees to be physically active. Again in the 1970’s, then CEO, James Burke set a goal for the company to have the healthiest employees in the world and provide opportunities for them to be physically active. It was then that the Live for Life program was born. Each CEO since has supported this goal to provide employees the opportunity for good health and have led by their own personal example.
When I think of fitness, I automatically associate it with the fitness centers. Do all of the J&J locations have fitness centers?
I think that’s a natural association to equate exercise in a fitness center with fitness. We have fitness facilities or opportunities for exercise at most of our larger locations around the world. However, opportunities to be physically active are available all around us, and we want employees to know that being physically active doesn’t necessarily require a physical place or equipment. It could mean walking meetings, Tai Chi and yoga on the campus lawn, doing the 7 minute workout or training for a charity ride with colleagues.
What value do you hope to bring to employees through fitness?
We encourage exercise and movement, because there is a known connection between being physically active and achieving overall well-being; not just preventing disease, but more importantly being an engaged and productive person in the workplace, in your personal life at home, and in the community. That, we think, is the major connection and opportunity.
What are some other ways you encourage employees to incorporate fitness into their lives?
During the workday, we encourage people to stand up at their desk and in meetings and take stretch breaks. You might attend a J&J-sponsored meeting and participate in a “microburst.” These are fun and creative ways to get up and move during a meeting and can range from dancing to stretching and moving around the room. We also offer a guide to healthy meetings to give all employees ideas for how to build movement and proper nutrition into their meetings so their attendees are focused and fully engaged.
Well-received initiatives around the globe include our step tracking challenges. These range from the Million Step Challenge in North America, to the Global Corporate Challenge in Asia Pacific and EMEA. By creating teams or individual competitions, employees say it keeps them motivated to get in a few more steps before the day is done just to achieve their desired step goals for themselves or their team. We also have walking trails at some of our campuses or mapped running routes to allow employees to get out of their office, absorb some Vitamin D, and move outside!
Aside from fitness and exercise, what are some other healthy initiatives available to employees?
It’s important to surround employees with an environment that influences and encourages healthy habits – think positive peer pressure. Not only are there programs and health professionals to help the employee navigate the best resource or action plan for their personal health goals, but policies and company values help guide the healthy culture. For example, all of our J&J campuses have a tobacco-free policy, where smoking is prohibited on campus, in company-owned vehicles and company-sponsored events.
Johnson & Johnson is known to be a company rich in history. Do you have a fitness “fun fact” about J&J?
A relevant fun fact about J&J is that the founders were just as interested in keeping employees healthy as we are today. In the very early 1900s employees in New Brunswick had access to a medical center, a gymnasium and a swimming pool. They even had women’s basketball, men’s baseball, and a hiking club.
I hope this blog post has inspired you to think about how you can incorporate more activity into your day, and how doing so could help you personally and professionally. Rally your colleagues and create your own stretch break or “microburst.” To help get you started, download The Johnson & Johnson Official 7-Minute Workout application for your smartphone or tablet for a workout you can do anywhere that is safe and beneficial to your health, at home, with friends, or in your office!
Samantha Gilham is a Graduate Fellow in Corporate Communications at Johnson & Johnson. She works primarily on the social media team, creating content for the various J&J channels. When she isn’t working at J&J or finishing up her Master’s degree in communication at Rutgers University, she can be found training at her local CrossFit gym.