IMPLEMENTATION OF A CREATIVE AND INTERACTIVE TEAMBUILDER TO IMPROVE WORKSITE WELLNESS J. Anderson, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County, Orlando, FL, L. Duncan, UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County, Bushnell, FL, and J. Rodriguez, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County Orlando, FL
Situation: Extension employees can work long hours at jobs that require self-focused tasks on computers with limited time for socialization. Most employees have busy schedules and familial commitments that make it difficult to fulfill the Center for Disease Controls’ recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity. Physical activity not only prevents and manages chronic diseases, but it helps build self-esteem, decreases stress, and reduces absenteeism at work. Participating in worksite wellness programs has the potential to increase work productivity, reduce health care cost, and increase morale. Currently, Orange County Extension does not have a worksite wellness campaign in place. As such, Family and Consumer Science agents were asked to create a team builder to promote the importance of healthy living and help build unity within the department. The objective to increase employee knowledge on wellness, increase physical activity levels, and improved morale and communication within the office. Methods: Employees were divided into groups and given a set of instructions, maps, and other tools needed for the activity. Stations with names relating to Star Wars were set up across campus. These stations encouraged employees to engage in physical activity, improve communication, promote team work, and learn about healthy living concepts. Each station incorporated a riddle, which helped the teams answer questions related to food safety, nutrition and physical activity. The group reconvened for a mindfulness session, which included yoga and the opportunity to practice mindful eating. Results: Pretest showed 75% of employees were able to correctly answer a handful of health and wellness questions, whereas 95% were able to correctly answer the questions in the posttest. Additionally, some agents and staff began to participate in physical activity classes offered onsite, and overall morale improved as a result of this acitivity. Recurring creative and interactive teambuilding activities can help foster a culture of health at work, and spillover to families and communities.