Taking care of business

Healthy Kimberley launches new initiative to promote accessible, healthy choices in the workplace.

By Corey Bullock

Healthy Kimberley has started a new initiative called Taking Care of Business, to promote healthy workplaces in the community.

At a Regular Council Meeting on Monday, July 9, 2018, Initiative Coordinator and Healthy Kimberley Consultant Marina Stropky presented Healthy Kimberley’s goals to Council.

Stropky says that Taking Care of Business is meant to engage local businesses in a community wide effort to make healthy choices easy and accessible.

She explained that only a small portion of the province’s health care budget goes towards prevention, and it is important to “make the healthy choice the easy choice”.

“The average Canadian spends 60 per cent of their waking hours at work,” Stropky said. “Businesses incur costs related to unhealthy lifestyles, such as absenses or sick leaves, and policies that promote healthy living can increase productivity and engagement.”

She adds that these healthy policies can make a workplace more attractive for both employees and new hires.

Some examples of healthy policies, Srtopky says, include healthy meetings.

“Instead of bringing a box of donuts to a meeting, consider bringing a bowl of fresh fruit or vegetables,” she said. “If you have a meeting scheduled, you might consider walking and talking as opposed to sitting at your desk. It gets the ideas flowing and gets employees moving and on their feet.”

One way that Healthy Kimberley is promoting healthy workplaces is by featuring a local business that practices healthy options. Stropky is also offering free consultation for businesses interested in making healthy choices more accessible.

“This provides an incentive for businesses to promote healthy choices for their staff and customers, as well as an opportunity to showcase businesses who are already doing great things,” said Stropky.

This week, Healthy Kimberley is featuring De Lights Gelato.

“A gelato shop might not be the first thing that comes to mind when we picture a healthy business,” said Stropky. “However, Erna and the team at De Lights have implemented positive strategies that promote community health.”

For example, there is a bike rack out front of the shop, encouraging customers and staff to use active transit. There is also a ‘hydration station’ inside, where cyclists, walkers, and all customers can rehydrate with water after an active afternoon, says Stropky.

“De lights recognizes that their product is a treat to be enjoyed occasionally and in mindfully portioned 2 oz scoops,” Stroppy explained. “Healthy eating is promoted in their workplace as there are facilities available for staff to bring their own healthy lunches – something that Erna and her daughter, Erika model by their own example.”

De lights also promotes creativity and non-screen time by providing chalk for kids and adults to decorate the sidewalk.

Stroppy adds, “By encouraging customers and staff to use an active means of travel, modelling healthy diet in the workplace, promoting screen-free play, and providing the facilities to support these healthy behaviours, De lights is a great example of how local businesses play a key role in supporting a healthy Kimberley.”

Do you know a Kimberley business that promotes healthy choices for staff and customers? Contact Healthy Kimberley at tcobkimberley@gmail.com.

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