Winning at Wellness

Simple Strategies for Employers
March 2020


Healthy people - Winning at Wellness March 2020

Dimensions of Well-being

A Whole-Person Approach

The term “well-being” is not new, but now, more and more organizations are moving toward this approach to employee wellness that encompasses so much more than just physical health. While focusing on physical health plays an important role in disease prevention, overall health, and happiness, employers realize that this siloed approach often feels like wellness “done to” rather than wellness “offered for” employees.

Supporting individuals in the workplace has a greater impact when you recognize that humans are complex and multi-faceted. Individuals need more than the ability to prevent chronic conditions, get a good night’s sleep, and take their vitamins every day. 




Helping your employees become the best version of themselves requires an approach that addresses the many facets of individual well-being—emotional, physical, financial, community, and occupational. These don’t function in isolation to one another. In fact, an employee’s experience can be positively impacted when their employer demonstrates they care about them as a whole person. 



You're off to a great start. You and your organization are already providing tools, resources, and an environment that support whole-person well-being. For instance, retirement programs, competitive compensation, tuition reimbursement, and health insurance support people in their financial well-being. Professional growth opportunities, such as development plans, leadership training, and skill development programs are all ways you can support a person’s occupational well-being.

Five dimensions. Over the next few months, we will highlight each of the five dimensions of well-being and encourage you to start inventorying the ways you currently support your employees. We will also share ideas on the many ways you can (or already do) address each dimension of well-being through employer success stories, tools, and tips. This month we will focus on physical well-being. 

Physical well-beingPhysical Well-being

Physical well-being is the dimension we most often think about when it comes to offering well-being opportunities in the workplace. This dimension focuses on living a healthy life with enough energy to tackle daily commitments. Physical well-being can include getting enough restful sleep, moving your body, getting check-ups, making healthy food choices, and avoiding risky behaviors. Mental health is an aspect of physical health that greatly impacts an individual’s ability to function in the workplace.

Employers often offer walking challenges, onsite biometric screenings and flu shots to support people in their physical well-being. The sky is the limit when it comes to what you can offer your employees, but understanding what employees are challenged by and what their needs are is the best way to design a well-being strategy that offers what is relevant to your employee population. Read “The Key Knife Wellness Formula” in this issue to learn more about how one employer provides subsidized healthy snacks to employees and learn unique ways to promote physical activity in the workplace. 


We’d love to hear from you! 

We hope you feel inspired by this topic. Please take some time to write down all the many ways you provide opportunities for physical well-being in the workplace. Email us and let us know. We would love to feature you in a future issue.



Planting - Winning at Wellness March 2020The Key Knife Wellness Formula

Based in Tualatin, Ore., Key Knife is an employee-owed company with 84 employees worldwide. They manufacture custom chipping, flaking, and planing solutions for the global wood products industry. Their innovative indexible knife systems and service programs help mills to improve recovery, product quality, production, and operating costs.

Misty Dupont, HR Generalist for Key Knife, has been an integral part of the well-being initiatives for the past several years. When we asked Misty how Key Knife supports their employees’ physical well-being, she took us on a journey to learn how surveys, listening, and removing barriers help Key Knife employees get excited about healthy food options, creating a company garden, and developing their own personal improvement goals:

“As a small company, we don’t have access to a lot of the health data for our group of employees. Thus, we have to rely mostly on surveys and employee interest to know what direction to steer our wellness efforts. Our wellness team, branded as Live to Thrive, does an annual wellness survey and onsite biometric screening. Plus, we are always listening to employee suggestions. 


“We have a dialed-in formula that works for our company. At this point, we just restyle a topic to make it new and interesting.”

— Misty Dupont, HR Generalist for Key Knife

The results from our wellness survey each year stay pretty consistent. Our employees like challenges but some self-paced activities as well; they like lunch-n-learns because they are an easy way to gain knowledge; they want to learn more about financial health, stress, staying active, and healthy eating. The Live to Thrive team makes sure to incorporate these things into our plan each year. We have a dialed-in formula that works for our company. At this point, we just restyle a topic to make it new and interesting.

Key Knife has an onsite employee community garden with 40 garden beds. This was put in to encourage employees to spend their breaks and lunches outside and provide a space for them to grow their own food. Family members come to care for the beds as well. It is a great space to work together outside and we usually end up with lots of produce to share in the fall, especially zucchini.

Our employees insist on doing a walking challenge each year. This works well because it can be changed up in so many ways — we have done individuals, groups and average steps. Also, it can be done by anyone and our international employees can easily participate as well. Our most successful walking challenge was in 2018, when as a group in one month employees walked 18,278,964 steps and 17 employees averaged over 17,000 daily steps earning themselves an iWatch.

We have offered onsite biometric screenings for the past 6 years. Out of the 65 employees that we have in our corporate location, usually 40 of them do the testing. We receive a summary report of the testing results and can see how our group ranks against the national average and if there was a shift from the previous year.

When we started doing the biometric screenings, blood pressure was a high category for the group. Our Live to Thrive team decided to increase company awareness around blood pressure, so we set up a challenge for employees to track their blood pressure for a week, provided educational materials as to why this is important and we purchased cuff style monitors and setup two stations in the building. We have seen a shift over the years in our overall group results going down in this area. From 2016 to 2019, our number of employees with elevated blood pressure over the recommended level was down 21%.

One thing Key Knife does as a company is set a focus for the year with goals and a theme. In 2019, our theme was “Get Better.” This tied in nicely with our wellness strategy, as it is something that everyone can do for their health. In October, employees had to report what they had been working on to “Get Better” at in 2019, and this could be work or personal. We had 47% of employees list something that was related to their personal wellness.”

Examples of personal positive impact, as reported by Key Knife employees to their wellness team:

  • Working to improve financial health – including reducing debt
  • Planning for the future and getting documents in order in preparation for retirement
  • Lowered A1C — modified eating habits, consistently taking medicine, established a workout plan
  • Prepare all meals from organic, home grown products — lots of fruit and vegetables
  • Eating healthier thus reducing triglycerides and over all cholesterol
  • Not eating processed foods — all meal prep with fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Started hiking, up to 5-10 miles at a time
  • Eating a healthier diet — more fruits, veggies, fish and going to karate class on a regular basis
  • Taking celery on the road in order to have a snack and not stopping for donuts and coffee
  • Cooking at home more often instead of going out, resulting in healthier eating and saving money
  • Working out consistently during the week, resulting in improved energy level
  • Practicing the three zones of lifting and building a bridge when bending — no back pain so far in 2019
  • Eating healthier — more fruits, vegetables, drinking water. Exercising daily for one hour
  • Taking a bike spin class and boot camp training to lose 20 lbs.
  • Making consistent time for fitness and have reduced body fat by 5%.
  • Reduced fast food intake. Making healthier meal choices at restaurants, thus reducing indigestion

“The overall impact our Live to Thrive team is hoping to (and I think we have been able to) affect is just awareness. Employees know what are healthy choices, they comment and share ideas amongst each other. The goal is just to continue the awareness and education so when the choice is given they will hopefully make the healthier choice or at the least stop and think about the impact of their choice on their health.”

Learn more about Key Knife at .



Stairs - Winning at Wellness March 2020 Create an “Out-of-the-Box Fitness Center”

It’s a common dilemma: You’d like to encourage employee fitness at your workplace, but you don’t have the space or budget for a company gym or fitness center.

Think outside the box. You may be surprised to learn that your “gym” could be right in front of you! Many employers, including PacificSource, have discovered simple no-gym opportunities to support employees moving and exercising more during the workday.

Own your own alternative fitness options


Stairs—the original step machine (free). If your building has a flight of stairs, you already own one of the best pieces of exercise equipment out there. In some PacificSource offices, small groups of employees regularly walk up and down stairs together for a quick cardio workout. Since they are in a group of friends, they can challenge each other and push for “one more flight.”


Trails and walking routes (free). Walking is great exercise for people of all fitness levels. Some employees may have already found great routes to walk or run. Consider asking those employees to share their favorite routes. Encourage employees to use their break times and lunch times to move. Better yet, be the example and even invite people to walk with you.

Soccer ball

Active games and sports (low cost). It can be said that the best exercise doesn’t seem like exercise. Even if your organization has a sports team, consider additional options for your workplace. Here are a few ideas that are part movement, part stress relief, and all fun:

  • Basketball: Set aside a corner of your parking lot and invest in a portable hoop and backboard.
  • Ping-pong: A folding table with wheels is easy to set up and put away, and can be set up indoors or out.
  • Cornhole, disc golf, and other “backyard” games: Yes, cornhole is a thing. ESPN even covers the national and world cornhole championships. Who knew?

Yoga mats and resistance bands (low cost). Make a few mats available or invite employees to bring their own. Employees can use the mats for stretches and body-weight exercises. Resistance bands work your muscles in a way similar to using free weights. Designate a space, such as an underused room, quiet alcove, or covered patio.


Bike racks and enclosures (low cost). By providing a secure place for bikes, you support employees commuting by bike to work. Encourage employees to use alternate forms of transportation with our “Better Commute” toolkit in our toolkit library. These materials are free to you to download, print, and use in your workplace.

Other simple strategies for moving more

Even little changes can make a difference. Here are a few ideas to encourage in your workplace to help everyone move a little more:

  • Stand-up or walking meetings. For small, quick meetings, consider stand-up or walking meetings. In “sitting” meetings, make sure people know they are welcome to stand for some or all of the meeting. Walking meetings work best with two or three people and when notes aren’t needed.
  • Take the stairs. Encourage employees to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Place posters and fliers in your workplace that encourage people to move throughout their day.
  • Get up and talk with coworkers face to face. Not only does this positively impact healthy working relationships, but it gets people up and moving.
  • Park farther from the building. This is an easy way to get more steps every day.

Add fitness ideas to your wellness plan

Look around your workplace to see where you might have fitness opportunities. Survey your employees to find out what their interests are and to gather additional ideas. You may be able to build on some of these ideas to create more challenges and activities to engage employees in movement and fitness. What you learn can help you further develop your wellness plan for immediate and long-term success.



March Wellness ToolkitWinning at Wellness March 2020

Topic: Plan for the Holidays

Think it’s too early to start planning for the holidays? Think again. Spring is a great time to plan for more meaningful, budget-friendly, lower-stress holidays. Our March wellness toolkit provides tips to help people make and implement a plan.

Get the toolkit materials, and check out our library of other topics.





InTouch for Employers

Access your PacificSource account information 24/7.

Help your employees get engaged!

Our Workplace Wellness Toolkit includes posters, payroll stuffers, and newsletter articles you can use to promote healthy behaviors in your workplace.

See our Creating a Wellness Committee flier for an overview of establishing a workplace committee and culture of healthy habits.

Last updated 2/20/2020