Ask the Expert: Tim Burrows on Corporate Wellness
In the 2021 May/June issue, we spoke with Tim Burrows, the executive director at the Winston Family YMCA, a branch of the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast Association, about corporate wellness.
What corporate wellness services and programs does the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast offer?
We strive to work with each corporate partner to deliver services that engage and educate their employees. Examples of services are onsite group fitness classes, health and wellness presentations, and cooking demonstrations. We also provide the employees of our partners with great membership incentives such as no joining fees and exclusive membership rates based on the company’s plan with the Y. We also have our First Coast Corporate Games that helps build camaraderie within the company.
Our goal is to meet the company where they are, listen to their needs, and deliver programs and services based on what they’d like to accomplish. With the ongoing pandemic, the First Coast Y is thinking differently. We’re working on providing more virtual services to deliver the same great programs.
What are the challenges of creating and running a corporate wellness program?
We don’t look at them as challenges but opportunities. One opportunity is to strive to engage all employees within a company, whether it’s seven employees or 700. Pre-COVID, we’d go onsite and do promotion tables and talks in front of groups of employees to promote the Y and all we have to offer. As we adapt, those visits may not occur for the next few months or longer. Other companies are working remotely, so we have to figure out ways to connect with them wherever they may be.
Where do you see the future of corporate wellness programs headed?
I believe they will continue adapting. Virtual services such as fitness classes, personal training, nutrition consultations, cooking demonstrations and healthy living presentations will become more commonplace until the workforce returns to their brick-and-mortar buildings. Even then, virtual services will continue and be a way to connect more employees than ever before.
What advice do you have for successfully maintaining a corporate wellness program?
My best advice would be to listen to the needs of the company. Every company has different visions, strategies and employees. Work with the appropriate staff to learn how they would like to engage their workforce, then build the menu of options that work for them. It’s not about what you can provide for a company, it’s what the company wants you to provide. The other big piece of advice is to communicate consistently.
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