Health Links (HL): Why is the health and wellness of your employees important to you?
RNL Design (RNL): The impact of design on people’s health and wellbeing is a driving factor in the spaces and places we create for our clients. It is important to us that we ‘walk the talk’ in our own office space. RNL is also a Certified B Corporation, a status that reflects the value we place on how we treat our employees.
HL: What does your workplace wellness program look like?
RNL: Our motto is ‘Design to Thrive’, and we hold regular events that encourage our staff to break out from the day-to-day and really thrive in life. On-going events include a run club that faithfully heads out 3 lunchtimes a week, a weekly breakfast club, a soccer team and softball team, and the office is filled with bikes every day thanks to all our active-commuters! Each year we dedicate a whole month to health and wellness and invite speakers in to present on topics ranging from how to buy a house to the best sit/stand balance. Some of the most popular events have been salad potlucks, month-long fitness challenges, and scavenger hunts.
HL: How will you/do you know your program is successful?
RNL: Feedback! Communication is a huge part of our design process, and it carries through to our internal operations. When we enjoy an event, we tell each other!
HL: What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
RNL: At any one time we have multiple project deadlines in our office, finding times that suit everyone’s schedules can be a challenge! We now space our events out as much as possible (e.g. spread out over a month instead of all in one week) to maximize participation.
HL: Does your wellness program help give back to your community?
RNL: We are a team of active community outreach’ers! For example, this year a group hiked Mt. Elbert (14,433’) for ‘Peak Challenge’ an initiative that raises money for Griffiths Center for Children; and we partnered with GrowHaus to build 82 raised bed garden boxes for the Elyria Swansea neighborhood; and through the CAL project a group taught 2nd graders all about the wonderful world of architecture.
HL: What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace wellness program?
RNL: Find out what your employees are interested in, then think outside the box! Instead of more lectures, we hosted a weekly lunchtime movie series for a well-needed mental break; instead of a simple run/bike/walking challenge for a group of already active people we secured a donation of pedometers and had a competition for most improved miles/steps.