By Victor Paul Alvarez
PBN Staff Writer
By Victor Paul Alvarez
PBN Staff Writer
The wellness goal at Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP is simple: Keep the employees healthy and happy for as long as possible.
The business-law firm, with 130 employees, represents private and public businesses, nonprofit entities, government agencies, regulated industries and educational firms, among others. These are people who work hard, long hours and could be forgiven for not being able to find the time to take care of themselves.
But Partridge has a two-tiered program in place to help employees with this struggle. It’s all about body and mind. And it seems to be working.
This isn’t the first time Partridge has been lauded for prioritizing employee wellness. The firm is a very proud recipient of numerous worksite health and wellness awards sponsored by the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island. This past fiscal year, the firm was again selected as a recipient of the Exemplary Worksite Health Award.
“We understand that wellness is extremely important and that a successful wellness program can help our employees improve their health while reducing the soaring cost of health care,” said Laura F. Pedrick, marketing director. In addition, wellness programs have the ability to increase productivity, decrease absenteeism, promote employee satisfaction and morale, and can aid in the recruitment and retention of employees, she said.
On the body side, it’s hard to miss the company’s most obvious symbol of its goal of overall employee fitness: its gym.
The gym at Partridge includes three LifeCycle stationary bikes, a Body Guard treadmill with heart-rate monitor, and a Maxicam fitness apparatus that has multiple exercise stations. The gym also has assorted weights, a bench press, exercise balls and an abdominal roller.
Not unlike your neighborhood gym or YMCA, the Partridge facility is noticeably busier during the beginning of the year and around summertime.
“We usually notice an increase in gym usage at the beginning of the year, most likely due to employees wanting to get back in shape after the holidays, and it’s also the time of year when the firm holds a very popular and fun weight-loss contest for all employees,” Pedrick said.
The company also notices an increase in the spring, because employees are interested in getting in better shape before the summer begins. Although the traffic at the gym may increase with the seasons, the statement the company is making by providing the gym year-round is clear: We are here to help you stay healthy. “We believe that the presence of our gym raises employee awareness of health and wellness and sends a great message about the things that they can and should be doing for themselves,” she said.
The company offers other programs, such as wellness clinics, health-risk assessments, clinical screenings for early diagnosis and disease prevention, immunizations, physical-fitness activities, nutrition and weight counseling, back care, stress-management clinics and yoga classes.
Education on how to be healthy factors in as well. Employees have access to the online health & wellness center, which offers a variety of resources, including the “I Choose to Live Healthy” DVD collection. Its topics include things like stress management, nutrition, back care, weight management and smoking cessation.
Nutrition, of course, is another important part of the equation. Years ago, the firm made a conscious decision to provide healthier types of snacks in its onsite vending machine to encourage healthy food choices among employees. The vending company calls it the sense and sensibility program: granola bars, fat-free and low-fat cookies, and baked chips are among the items now available to employees.
So the secret to its success just may be Partridge’s broad focus when it comes to health. “We offer a wide variety of resources and programming that encourage employees to achieve a healthier, happier and longer life,” said Pedrick. A happier and longer life means addressing not only the body, but the mind as well.
The company does not exclude a focus on mental health and happiness. At Partridge, they call it the Employee Assistance Program. The firm believes that emotional well-being is just as important as physical health.
The EAP was created to help employees by offering free, confidential professional assessment, referral, counseling and education services. Employees may seek counseling for psychological issues, stress, substance abuse, marital/relationship, grief and loss, financial or legal reasons.
“We believe that our employees greatly benefit from the fact that our EAP complements the firm’s wellness initiatives and programs. We are very fortunate to have partnered with Coastline EAP and are grateful that they continue to be an invaluable resource to our employees,” Pedrick said.
In particular, she said Coastline EAP’s response time on sensitive matters is extremely impressive and gives company officials confidence knowing employees are receiving sound advice and excellent referrals in a timely fashion.
The company is honored to have been recognized by its peers for excelling in wellness and continues to look for new ways to help employees succeed.
“We are excited about our recently launched health-coaching program,” said Pedrick. Employees can work confidentially with a certified wellness coach over the phone and via email to set goals and make plans. “Employees choose what to work on and when to talk. Topics include nutrition, physical activity, stress management, smoking cessation and weight management. Employees also have access to an interactive member portal that includes health resources, wellness tips and journals,” Pedrick said. •