Better health is one click away with new website

The ISU WellBeing employee wellness effort leaped forward recently with the launch of a new website. In the works for several months, the site was developed by a group of information technology and university human resources (UHR) employees and student workers.

One-stop wellness

Employees who visit the new website will experience one-stop shopping for all things related to wellness at Iowa State. There are links to other ISU websites that support wellness, and news and announcements about upcoming campus wellness opportunities. The site also includes information about several health elements and categories that go beyond the obvious physical component. In other words, the ISU WellBeing program emphasizes employee health beyond just eating right and exercising.

"As we move from wellness to well-being, it will require a shift in how we think about and perceive well-being," said Stephanie Downs, ISU's employee wellness coordinator. "This more comprehensive view includes a blending of culture, health and organizational development. Therefore, we support and encourage a wider, more inclusive vision that embraces physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, financial and community well-being."

Downs said employees should expect new information on the site frequently, especially since news from other UHR programs, like retirement planning, learning and development, and the employee assistance program, are part of the mix. Employees also may follow Downs' blog, where she shares her thoughts and perspectives on wellness.

Website 2.0

Though the website just launched, Downs already is looking ahead to some enhancements. She and Ed Holland, director of benefits, currently are pursuing vendors who can help build an individual-specific wellness portal into the site, hopefully by this fall.

"The portal will help employees with their individual needs, such as exercising more, eating healthier, reducing stress and so on," Downs said. "The portal is designed to support employee participation and provide constant feedback to help their individual success."

For example, the portal could include 10- to 12-week wellness programs, fitness trackers, personal assessments, how-to articles and videos.

On the horizon

The website is only one component of a larger ISU WellBeing program.  An action plan, also available on the site, details the overall program's philosophy, guiding principles, priorities and phased implementation process over the next few years. Future well-being programs employees can expect include:

  • Work-life balance programs
  • Finance workshops
  • Stress workshops
  • Medical self-care programs
  • Community support efforts for chronic health conditions (i.e., diabetes and hypertension)
  • Collaboration among Ames organizations and the university's health plan administrator to address top employee health challenges

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