Look Book Issue 3 | Be Well 20/20 | Movement Q&A
Maintaining Personal Fitness and Overall Wellbeing
Scott Rice would like to introduce one of our Senior Designers Michelle Sueper, EDAC. Michelle studied Interior Design at the University of Kansas, with a focus on Healthcare Design. Because of Michelle’s unique understanding of healthcare design and passion for overall wellness, she wanted to share some of her background and perspective on overall wellbeing in the workplace.
Can you tell us a bit about your EDAC Certification?
The design of hospital interiors has proven to improve patient care and their healing capacities and eventually treatment outcomes. Our decisions make a significant difference on the physical and emotional wellbeing of patients, their families, and the caregivers.
Upon starting at Scott Rice, I earned my EDAC certification. Evidence-Base Design is a methodology that emphasizes the use of data in order to influence the design process in hospital and other healthcare facilities. It measures the physical and psychological effects of the built environment on its users.
My healthcare design focus paired with my personal interests of fitness and overall wellness, led to my involvement with the Scott Rice Wellness Committee.
How did you come to be the Wellbeing Champion for Scott Rice? How long have you been leading these efforts?
I’m pretty sure that it all began years ago with solo walking breaks around the building. I soon had a walking buddy, then a few, and now walking around the building is a Scott Rice pastime! I have a natural interest in wellness and fitness, and that paired with my focus on healthcare design, morphed into being a leader for the Wellness Committee! Throughout the years, I have coordinated Wellness Fairs, monthly in-house yoga classes, and monthly chair massages.
Can you share the structure of Scott Rice’s Wellbeing initiatives?
Scott Rice uses a comprehensive Wellness Program to help give employees the tools and motivation to get healthy and stay healthy. The program gives lots of options geared towards specific areas of your health, and allows employees to earn points based on routine health appointments, physical activity, and preventative efforts. There are different incentive levels to the complete the program- from paid time off to deductions in health insurance premiums.
What activities are included? How do you feel each one benefits Scott Rice’s employees?
Most of the activities included in our Wellness Program are activities that should be annual events for employees anyways. But, we understand that sometimes we need a little nudge and an incentive may help. Annual physicals, dental screenings, and vision exams are examples. Points are also given for preventative services—mammogram, colonoscopy, etc. To participate, we require a mandatory on-site wellness screening and nurse consultation. These have proven to be very informative for employees who may not have sought out this level of knowledge otherwise.
Our wellness program also encourages and rewards walking, running, cycling, gym memberships, blood donation, and community service. There are many reasons to promote well-being in the workplace. It increases productivity and motivation, it brings teams together and builds morale, and decreases work related stress.
Why is this something you value?
We spend the bulk of our day at the office. There are things you can do with the little time before and after work to better your health, but if you sit for all 8 hours at work/ take in large amounts of stress without working through it/ don’t drink enough water/ consume foods that don’t do anything for your mind and body, you’re setting yourself back.
If you can learn to incorporate small methods of mindfulness throughout your entire day, you’re much better off. There’s nothing more valuable than our health. Steelcase states, “It takes more than just ergonomic furniture and a fitness center to achieve wellbeing at work. It’s about creating a culture of wellbeing where people can move, think, and feel better.”
We are seeing more and more companies providing Wellbeing and Fitness amenities at the workplace. What are some tips and tricks you have for employees who work from home or remotely?
This has never been a more relevant topic. Many people are working from home right now for the first time in their careers. In addition to accomplishing your work in a different setting, some people are juggling parenting (and teaching!) and working, some are feeling isolated, some unmotivated. Taking care of yourself should remain an absolute priority. However, self-care can take a lot of different forms. Some suggestions include:
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule
- Stay hydrated
- While working, get up every hour and outside at least once a day
- Schedule and commit to physical activity
- Have a clock-out set time to avoid overworking yourself
- Keep in touch with family and friends to stay connected
- Be kind and patient with yourself as you navigate this unfamiliar territory
Think about what makes you happy. What fills your cup? Specifically, what makes you happy that you can do while staying home during this time? Think about that, and prioritize doing those things each day.
What are some of your favorite tools and resources you use to improve your health at the office?
The first step in prioritizing your wellness, is awareness. Luckily, we work for a company that values well-being and encourages us to work and socialize in different postures. I try to stand often and move in some capacity each hour. It is easy to get sucked into concentration and before you know it, it’s lunch time. Although that level of productivity is great, it can leave you feeling stiff and stressed. Even getting up to refill your water glass is a step in the right direction.
I aim to use the Walkstation every day for 30 minutes to an hour. When the weather is appropriate, I like to get outside for walks and fresh air. I’ve really enjoyed the in-house yoga classes too. It feels really efficient to incorporate a workout into the workday hours, and it always leaves me feeling energized and refreshed. Last but not least, I really value personal boundaries. It’s important to be accessible and to meet expectations and deadlines. But, I’d argue that it is just as valuable to step away and honor your limits. Then when you return to the office, you are rejuvenated, patient, and far more accommodating. It all starts with caring for yourself!