By Walter Whitfield
A business’ success weighs heavily on its ability to utilize key resources. When looking at an athletic department and the typical assets a university has on hand, workplace wellness seems like a benefit meant for university employees. Physical, intellectual, human, and financial resources are readily available on many campuses. The question is if the resources exist, is the university able to utilize the resources?
Physical resources are without a doubt plentiful on campuses. University facilities include stadiums, indoor and outdoor tracks, weight rooms, and pools. And these are just the many amenities built for the student-athletes. College campuses are also equipped with some of the best student recreational centers. A workplace wellness program could use these assets. In many cases, a corporation or business would need to build a facility or incentivize employees to use their local gyms. So if these facilities exist, is the university able to utilize the resources?
As with physical resources, intellectual resources are available on most campuses. Many universities offer kinesiology programs at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and/or doctorate levels. Kinesiology focuses on the mechanics, movement and physical development of the human body and is the key educational background for workplace wellness professionals. If your university offers kinesiology, professors are your best source of intellectual knowledge and are already employed. Many professors would jump at the idea of helping co-workers and champion a program. So if these experts are available, is the university able to utilize the resources?
Human resources are very costly for businesses. But on campus, student interns could be a very easy and cost-effective way to power your program. An internship is required for undergrad and graduate students. Kinesiology or nursing departments are always looking to get students real world experience. Also, a research university could use a workplace wellness program as a research project. This project could serve the needs of the department and its students. So if student interns are available, is the university able to utilize the resources?
Financial resources may differ per university. Money may be plentiful at some universities. Others may have issues. Either way, a workplace wellness program could be well worth the investment. When factoring in the effect a successful program can have on health care costs, a program may save money in the long run. If a program was properly planned to use existing resources and target the health deficiencies that more often affect health care costs, the program could save upfront costs and see a possible return on investment much sooner. So if financial resources are available, is the university able to utilize the resources?
As said, most universities have key resources at their disposal. In that regard, universities have an advantage when implementing a workplace wellness program over many other industries. The physical resources are built. The intellectual resources are on campus. The human resources are in need of real life experience. And typically the financial resources are available. The question is are they able to utilize the resources?
Walter Whitfield is an employee wellness consultant and founder of Lavoro Workplace Wellness where he helps businesses improve their workplace through employee wellness strategies. He has worked with corporations like Chevron, BP, and Seadrill. Walter is a former college athlete for Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns where he competed in cross country and track, winning Sunbelt conference titles in the 3k Steeplechase and 5k. He is married, has 3 kids, and loves all things New Orleans Saints and Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns.
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