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The annual health fair may still be a staple, but Southwest Florida companies are diving deeper than ever before to provide innovative, employee-specifc wellness options in the workplace.

Motivational digital applications, complimentary gourmet lunches, even the air employees breathe—all are tailored not only for employee wellness but overall well-being.

According to a study published last year by the Centers for Disease Control, almost half of all U.S. worksites now offer some type of health promotion or wellness program.

“We think we’re (wellness) superstars, but in reality, nobody is,” says B&I Contractors Human Resources Director Mike Biskie. “We’re always looking to improve.”

Biskie hopes to roll out new web-based engagement applications by the end of the year to the company’s more than 600 employees in Fort Myers, Tampa and Sarasota. In addition to daily inspiration and motivation, the applications will provide individual and group challenges that can be tracked among users. The applications will include surveys that use employee-provided health information to tailor meal plans, daily motivations and other useful information—in English or Spanish, which is helpful considering 50% of B&I’s workforce is Spanish-speaking.

“The concept of wellness for an organization has morphed from doing health fairs, which we try to offer in each of the three regions we work in. It also involves mental well-being, financial well-being and work-life balance—whole person well-being,” Biskie says.

You might guess a company built for the operating room would have a keen eye on physical well-being … and you would be right.

Headquartered in Naples, Arthrex is a global leader in orthopedic surgical device design, research, manufacturing and medical education. As COVID-19 ramped up, Arthrex installed Synexis Microbial Reduction Systems sanitization in its facilities around the world, to help ensure all team members and visitors work in the healthiest possible environment. Using a low level of dry gaseous hydrogen peroxide—a potent antimicrobial agent—the cutting-edge disinfectant systems combat airborne and surface bacteria and viruses. An ultraviolet light air ltration system also works in conjunction with silver ion antimicrobial paint covering the interior surfaces of the heat and air system.

“Wellness is part of our culture, with lots of layers,” says Arthrex Wellness Director Lisa Brown. “It goes from the food we eat to the air we breathe to our workstations.”

One of those layers is free primary care medical clinics for employees and their dependents. Medical premiums are paid in full for employees who engage in annual preventive health measures.

Lunch is free on campus, with chefs offering daily healthy fare. Standing desks are standard.

The 38,000-square-foot wellness center opened earlier this year features 24-hour access with full-time personal trainers offering individual programming and health assessments. A physical therapist also provides complimentary therapy with a doctor’s order, and on-site mental health counseling is available.

Last year, B&I took its traditional wellness reimbursement perk to a whole new level. After offering up to $250 in gym membership reimbursement on a rolling calendar year, Biskie added an extra $50 and shook things up.

“Not everybody is a gym rat,” Biskie explains. “But there are people who love to kayak, who go biking and hiking and play tennis and a lot of other things besides go to the gym.” Now, after 90 days of employment, B&I employees can submit receipts for special apparel and equipment they can use in their individual fitness pursuits.

Biskie says, “We reimburse people for bicycles, running shoes, weightlifting gear, kayaks …” He noted that wearables such as FitBit and Apple Watches are popular purchases. “I start getting inquiries before they even hit their 90 days. We have a lot more people participate.”

Working for several years in corporate health, Arthrex’s Brown said the true value of a wellness plan is incalculable.

“The overall value really trumps ROI.”

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