CCR LLP's inspiring health and wellness program

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In the fall of 2009, CCR LLP (CCR) rolled out its Corporate Wellness Program, the goal of which was to improve the health and well-being of its employees. As an added bonus, CCR's initiative created camaraderie between offices through friendly competition.

Carolyn E. Carpenter, a partner in the firm's Westborough, Massachusetts, office and chairperson of the CCR Wellness Committee, explained",We decided to do it because of the rising costs of health care. We figured that since employees spend a large portion of their day at work, we could put [a program] in place that would have a positive impact on their health and well-being. We came up with a lot of out-of-the-box ideas. We have fewer than 200 employees, so we can be flexible and do some neat and unusual things. A lot of good ideas come from the employees."

Recently, the Boston and Glastonbury offices competed to see which would be the first to successfully "step" 3,000 miles, the distance to San Francisco. Nearly everyone in the offices participated. Each employee was given a pedometer to keep track of the steps he or she took while walking, running, or participating in other activities. After all the steps were tallied, the Boston office employees won, and they did it in less than six weeks. Their prize was an office outing that combined fitness with fun. CCR is now looking at ways to alter the competition so that all offices can equitably compete, no matter their size.

Because CCR believes that wellness is a lifestyle change and not just a single event, the program offers additional incentives. For example, employees can submit $150 in receipts for expenses that support their wellness. Allowable items might include sneakers, massages, and gym memberships. Since wellness is about work/life balance, anything that contributes to overall well-being is considered. The program also includes free healthy snacks, Weight Watchers at Work, and healthy-eating seminars. CCR strongly encourages employees to exercise and allows them one hour a week (during business hours) to devote to walking and moving. In 2010, employees racked up an impressive 1,000 hours.

CCR also promotes family with its Bring Kids to Work Day. Children get to watch movies, eat ice cream, and paint their faces. Employees can bring their children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews, no matter what their age, to these welcoming and fun get-togethers.

A firm-wide 5K race is planned for this fall, which will be hosted by the main office. Employees can run or walk the distance. While it will be a no-work workday, everyone will be expected to show up and participate in the daylong event and various health-centric activities.

In addition, CCR encourages employees to share their personal knowledge. "We have a couple of employees with fitness skills who teach classes to other employees", said Carpenter. Employees participate on their own time, but the classes are free and are conveniently held at office locations. In the fall, the company also offers yoga classes that are taught by outside instructors.

While the Wellness Committee organizes and supports the program, employees from all offices can submit their ideas and participate in activities. Employees' creative ideas inspire more involvement and more health and wellness.

In recognition of CCR's program, the New Haven Chamber of Commerce recently awarded CCR the 2011 Workplace Wellness Award for Small Employer Business of the Year.

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