Health Links (HL): Why is the health and safety of your employees important to you?
FYZICAL Therapy & Balances Centers (FTBC): It is important for (President Sanjeev Joseph) my employees to be in their optimal/best health so they are able to serve our clients with the best care. If my employees’ health is not optimal, the patients will not have the wealth of information they deserve, and out outcomes will be affected. In addition, we lose productivity when an employee gets injured on the job, or has poor health. This affects the health of this business, and ultimately the health of the community. I feel that having an unsafe and unhealthy environment is a dis-service to this community. Health and safety of my employees is vital to this organization.
HL: What does your workplace health and safety program look like? Do you offer both components to employees?
FTBC: Fyzical’s workplace health and safety program incorporates the years of research done by our franchise and the many physical therapists into guidelines on how to maintain optimal health. This information is shared with our staff so they can not only be healthy individuals, but also great teachers who educate our clients to achieve optimal health. In addition, our facilities are available to employees so they can maintain their health needs and benefits. Although the gym is used as therapy for clients, it is also available to employees for use when not occupied and any time after hours. We regularly engage with our staff in nutritional counseling, injury prevention, optimal body mechanics in movement, healthy lifestyle management. The FYZICAL franchise also offers other programs like BodyQ (Physical/Musculoskeletal Checkup), FYZ-BITES (Nutritional Bars), FYZICAL FITNESS (Medical Fitness), FYZICAL HEALTH (Physician owned FYZICAL Facilities), all of which are available in our area and offered to our employees. We are a smoke and tobacco free facility. Our facility is designed with the color scheme and layout to provide our clients the optimal environment for health and wellness. We focus on ergonomics and body mechanics training for our staff so they are not prone to on-the-job injuries.
HL: How will you/do you know your program is successful?
FTBC: Our clients are provided a thorough initial evaluation called BodyQ to find out their health history, goals, and current level of health and physical ability. The assessment gives a comprehensive health rating, and provides a baseline. At the end of the program the BodyQ is done again to measure gains under each health category. We use the Body Q assessment tool to assess the entire physical status of the client. All of our employees have had a Body Q performed, and they have set goals and designed an individualized program to help achieve these goals. We know this program is successful because of our clients’ feedback and the feedback of the companies that refer clients to us. Since we are a physical therapy clinic, physicians sending repeat referrals is also a way for us to measure our success. In only six months of being open, we are a full year ahead of projected referrals.
HL: What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
FTBC: FYZICAL Lakewood Ranch is a young company, and the first challenge to getting the program started was getting recognition. We worked hard to let the community know about the program through various marketing and PR (Public Relations) efforts. Once word got out, we received better than expected interest and with quality service and world class service for our clients. Next, finding staff interested in achieving their personal best and/or improvement was also important to us. A highly skilled team was selected to promote the culture of health and wellness.
HL: Does your health and safety program help give back to your community?
FTBC: Yes. Our services are available to anyone in the community. We are reaching out to community organizations like schools, churches, business alliances and the Manatee Chamber of Commerce to get the word out that “everyone needs to focus on their health!” After the age of 30, our health starts declining. If we understand how the body works, we can start preserving our joints and muscles. Then, we will be able to secure a great quality of life. Our program promotes safety in the workplace and gives employees the tools to be physically capable of avoiding pitfalls that come with being on the job. This is available to any company or organization interested in our services.
HL: What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace health and safety program?
FTBC: First, assess your company’s needs. Companies know specifically what they need from their employees and what kind of task they must perform. From there, you will be able to design a specific wellness and safety program for those employees. Wellness programs should involve sound body mechanics, good health, nutrition, exercise habits - these are the basic components most programs should have. Each company has their own specific needs. For example, a data systems company wherein employees spend most time at the computer may tailor their wellness program around sedentary lifestyle issues like posture, obesity and declining cardiovascular health. A manufacturing company may have employees who are prone to musculoskeletal injuries due to pulling, pushing, lifting and carrying. Their wellness program may focus more on ensuring body mechanics and stability, protecting joints and identifying ways to prevent injuries. My advice is to involve an expert who understands body mechanics assist in designing the way an employee should perform their job duties. It’s better to spend resources to prevent an injury than waste resources to deal with an injury due to poor design. A safe working environment is a great way to improve staff productivity and prevent injuries that can significantly affect a company financially.
My final comment is that we are excited about being providers in the Health Links program. I think this is one of the best programs from the public wellness sector I have ever seen. The Health Links approach is right on target and I expect and hope the program continues to grow.