Healthy Choices at Work; Join Us on Our Wellness Journey

By Michael Layne

We’re taking positive steps at Marx Layne to encourage our employees to make healthy choices throughout the workday. We know healthy team members are happy and productive.

We admit we’re a little self-serving, however, since our agency reaps countless benefits such as fewer sick days and lower health care costs when employees exercise, eat right and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Still, like all employers, we’re grappling with skyrocketing costs for medical, dental and vision coverage and looking for affordable, but comprehensive, options that serve the needs of our people.

Since our inception, we’ve absorbed health care cost increases for our employees or identified alternative solutions to circumvent spikes in pricing. But it’s getting tough.

Two years ago, our insurance provider raised our premium by 20 percent. To avoid this unnecessary hike, we switched providers. Now, our current carrier is demanding a 21 percent increase for the new contract year, beginning Aug. 1. We didn’t take the news lying down, or sitting down. We chose a new plan that emphasizes wellness and maintains costs. Our new insurance program will require everyone to get a complete physical during the initial transition phase and make lifestyle changes based on their doctor’s recommendation to reduce the risk of preventable diseases.

In the meantime, we’re doing our part at Marx Layne by creating workplace opportunities for our employees to get up, get fit and take responsibility for their own health.

Earlier this year, David Stoyka, PR practitioner extraordinaire and budding fitness guru, suggested that we replace desk chairs with inflatable fitness balls to improve spinal health and minimize the damage caused by prolonged sitting. It took a minute to get accustomed to the bouncy seats, but everyone appears to be walking taller.

Last week, Pat Stoll, head of all things necessary to run the place, installed a toaster oven and single-burner hot plate in the kitchen. The new equipment is expected to save energy and spare soups and pastas from electromagnetic-radiation in the microwave. Plus, we traded bagels for organic fruit and purified water, available every morning for breakfast or a midday snack.

And some of our amateur cyclists bring their bikes to work for lunchtime rides – an encouraging sign, but they’ve established fitness goals that would make Jack LaLanne quake with anxiety.

Yet, none of these changes would amount to much if we didn’t recognize our employees’ need for a calm and welcoming environment, so we’ve assigned temperament control to our four-legged workers. Grand, a cool and collected golden retriever, and Rosie, a bichon frisé puppy with a curious nose, show up daily for work and keep the mood light. Our employees may appreciate their 401(k), but they love our K-9s.

Finally, we’ve launched this blog to chronicle these new experiences. Join us online at as we embark on our journey to wellness, managing our waistlines and our health care costs.

The place has gone to the dogs, but we’re on the ball.


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