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How Wellness in the Workplace Benefits Your Business

Featured Speaker: Mary Jayne Crocker, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Bridgewater Bank

Each new year brings with it a series of new resolutions, with many of us pledging new health and wellness goals. You may have already set personal objectives, but have you considered setting similar resolutions for your business? What about incorporating health and wellness into your business strategy? At Bridgewater, we have found that this not only benefits team members, but also business.

We recently sat down with our Chief Operating Officer, Mary Jayne Crocker, a driving force behind many of Bridgewater’s health and wellness initiatives, to get her thoughts on the importance of health & wellness in the workplace. Mary Jayne believes that when it comes to wellness and your business, there isn't an either-or tension, "We’ve found that prioritizing wellness in the workplace can only benefit your business."

Peak Employee Performance

"First is the obvious," says Mary Jayne. "If you have healthy team members, they show up to work empowered." An employee who feels their best mentally and physically also performs their best. As someone who has been passionate about health & wellness her whole life, Mary Jayne lives by a simple principle, "If you serve your body, it will keep serving you."

Yet, she also understands that due to a multitude of factors, prioritizing health and wellness can be easier said than done. That's why she thinks businesses have a unique opportunity to come alongside their team members by providing a workplace culture that makes their health and wellness goals a bit more attainable.

This might look different at each company. At Bridgewater, that looks like top-notch benefits, healthy snack and beverage options, discounted gym memberships, monthly team activities, biometric screening opportunities, and much more. From Mary Jayne’s perspective, “It’s about caring about your team members holistically and doing what you can to support them.”

A Positive Work Environment

At Bridgewater, we’ve found that incorporating health and wellness into our workplace “helps cultivate a positive, people-first environment,” which leads to happier team members overall. When your team feels supported in their personal well-being, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged at work, leading to increased productivity, creativity, and overall job satisfaction.

"From the very beginning, we have been intentional about creating a culture that people want to be a part of,” Mary Jayne expresses. This was integral to founder and CEO, Jerry Baack’s vision. “Originally, this was his idea,” Mary Jayne explains. “He believed that prioritizing our team’s health was an important part of creating an unconventional culture,” something the bank is known for. Over the last 18 years, Mary Jayne has witnessed firsthand the powerful impact that Jerry’s idea had on Bridgewater and its award-winning culture.

A Competitive Edge in Recruitment and Retention

Prioritizing health and wellness in the workplace also plays an increasingly important role in the recruitment and retention of top-tier talent. In today's competitive job market, offering health and wellness perks can be a distinguishing factor that attracts talent. Mary Jayne sums it up, "Employees aren't just looking for a paycheck anymore. They're looking for a company that aligns with their values and truly cares about them as an individual.”

That's why these initiatives contribute significantly to employee retention as well. Employees feel valued when their employers take an active interest in their well-being and provide the necessary resources to support their health and wellness journey. This, in turn, cultivates satisfaction and loyalty, reducing turnover rates and boosting overall morale.

Improved Camaraderie

“Like a lot of companies, since the pandemic, we’ve noticed an increasing number of people struggling with loneliness and looking for a greater sense of community,” Mary Jayne reflects. At Bridgewater, providing opportunities for the team to participate in health-focused activities together has been very beneficial in “fostering a camaraderie that translates to the office.” Additionally, building bonds between team members can boost mental health.

Whether it be attending mental health learning sessions, taking cooking classes, enjoying the sun while paddleboarding, or competing in our annual step challenge, Bridgewater's Health & Wellness Committee, a staple at the bank, takes the lead in providing many of these opportunities. Not only does it plan regular health & wellness-focused events, but it also offers resources, such as healthy recipes and helpful wellness tips.

But, Mary Jayne clarifies that a business does not need to have a whole committee to prioritize health and wellness in the workplace. Like many things at Bridgewater, “When the bank was first founded in 2005, prioritizing health and wellness looked much different than it does now.” Her point? Small steps over time make a large difference.

Lowered Healthcare Costs

Mary Jayne points out yet another benefit, "Like many other companies, one of the benefits we’ve seen is lowered healthcare costs." By investing in preventive measures such as wellness programs, companies can mitigate the risk of chronic diseases among employees, which are often the major drivers of healthcare expenses. Regular health screenings, discounted gym memberships, mental health resources, and nutritional guidance can contribute to healthier employees who are less likely to require extensive and costly medical interventions.

“Reduced absenteeism is another benefit,” Mary Jayne reflects. Employees who are healthy, both physically and mentally, are less likely to call in sick or take extended leaves due to health issues. This reduced absenteeism translates into steady productivity levels and minimizing disruption in business operations, which ultimately benefits the bottom line.

When it comes down to it, the health of employees is foundational to any business. Creating a healthy and enjoyable workplace is important no matter your industry or number of employees. For Mary Jayne, wellness and business is as simple as “recognizing that people are people, and everyone is going through life differently and that’s going to affect how they show up to the workplace.” In that context, it's easy to see your business's focus on health & wellness not just as a peripheral aspect but as integral to your business as a whole.