The New Way to Find Health in the Workplace

by Amelia Sugerman – Pawtucket

At 6:10 in the morning, I hear the alarm sound for the first time, quickly followed by the second and third string of beeps.  As I drag myself to the shower, I begin to think about all there is to do in the day. How will I fit it all in? It’s a common question that many adults face each day. From household chores to children, education, work and travel, it’s difficult to do everything. For most adults, exercise and health falls to the bottom of the priority list because many just don’t (or can’t) put it any higher.

Only about 1/3 of adults regularly work out, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means that everyone should exercise at a moderate level for 2 1/2 hours per week, or a 1/2 hour per day. Although it doesn’t seem like much on paper, finding those 2+ hours to fit in exercise during the week can be difficult. Since I work full-time with household and personal commitments to boot, it even further hinders the window of opportunity to stay healthy.

Collette recognized the importance of wellness programs and initiatives for employees and adapted a comprehensive wellness program in 2013 that offers many options, including an on-site 6,000+ square foot wellness center facility. The facility features a weight room, cardiovascular equipment, and a studio room for yoga, strength training, and circuit training classes. The center is fully managed by an outside wellness company who facilitates body assessments, personal training, exercise classes and on-site coaching – at absolutely no cost to the employees! We’re incredibly lucky to have a full wellness program, including smoking cessation courses, nutritional guidance, and a supportive team to encourage employees.

Everyone is different when it comes to fitness goals and availability, and Collette understands that. Exercise classes range from Pilates and core work to aggressive boot camp-style exercises. These classes are offered at a variety of times including mornings before work, lunch time, and in the evenings to accommodate various schedules. The wellness center is open seven days a week and many employees also take advantage of its services on the weekends.

Often, employees struggle with finding balance in the work place, whether it be by simply knowing what to eat or how to get exercise. Collette goes above and beyond when it comes to offering programs to assist in those endeavors. One program that assists with meal planning specifically helps with shopping in the grocery store. All of those labels can be incredibly confusing, so it’s important to have guidance when making the right choices for food purchases. Another program offered tips on using the outdoors for exercise, including ways to take advantage of all the parks and running trails that Rhode Island offers. Finally, employees can enroll in a weight management class that tracks their progress weekly in meetings that are held during the work day. The class offers tips and suggestions and guides employees through the process of getting on track towards weight loss.

In the year since the gym opened, I’ve noticed an increase in energy, excitement and an overall better attitude at work. I’m training for my first half-marathon and Collette Wellness has been by my side every step of the way, supporting and helping me reach my goal.

If more employers in Rhode Island took the time and resources to make their employees healthy, we would have a much healthier state!


Amelia Sugerman is an employee at Collette who finds balance between work and life through the use of exercise, nutrition programs and personal training sessions on Collette’s campus, an initiative that the organization adapted in 2013. 

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