Longboat Key Human Resources Director Lisa Silvertooth is getting town employees up and moving.
Last month, she started a town of Longboat Key wellness program that’s starting to catch on with employees.
The program involves weekly walks across nearby bridges and an incentive program that monitors employee progress and leads to two extra days off per year and other perks.
“It’s a fun way to spend time with employees outside of the work place, while exercising on this beautiful Key we work on,” Silvertooth said.
In early October, Silvertooth held a health seminar that 25 town employees attended. The seminar informed them of the wellness program and the weekly walks, which are supported by Town Manager Dave Bullock.
Goals of the program include:
• Achieving measurable improvements in an employee’s health.
• Maintaining an active-wellness committee to promote healthy lifestyles within departments.
• Providing annual assessment tools and services to employees that help the town collect data in areas such as health-risk assessments and program evaluations.
• Offering targeted programs to employees that provide education and support based on data collected from assessment tools.
• Increasing employee knowledge about healthy lifestyle behaviors.
The program involves a point system that allows employees to gain a maximum of 300 points to receive two days off per fiscal year. Points of more than 300 will register employees for drawings of additional rewards. The Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce is discussing a Longboat Key Bucks program for employees that would give them discounts at Key businesses that partner with the chamber for the program.
Weather permitting, walks are held on the first and third Wednesdays of the month on both the Ringling Bridge, for employees who live in Sarasota, and on the Longboat Pass Bridge, for those who live north of the Key, in Bradenton.
Walking one mile on the bridge or getting proof from a gym that you walked one mile gets an employee 10 points.
At least 15 employees took advantage of the walks during October.
The activities occur before work, during work (lunch breaks) or after work and are not counted as working hours.
An annual physical gets employees 15 points, and attending various health presentations allows employees to obtain additional points.
“It has been a real motivation and gets you out and about to talk to employees you normally don’t work with on a daily basis,” said town accountant Sharon Johnson, who walks the Ringling Bridge with her co-workers every other week. “I’m having a lot of fun.”
Town of Longboat Key Wellness Program Initiative
“To create a culture of health and wellness and to empower employees with the knowledge, support and incentives to take control of their health through awareness, assessments and ongoing education. To achieve concrete improvements in employees’ health such as weight control, improved nutrition and increased exercise tolerance.