At Wellness Workdays, Employee Wellness Is A Labor Of Love

Featured StoriesJune 2020 Issue

As CEO and founder of Wellness Workdays, Debra Wein manages a fast-paced, multi-million dollar, growing corporate wellness business that is working to combat the health crisis facing our nation. Her goal, as well as that of her team, is to create custom-tailored worksite wellness programs that improve employee health and productivity, and promote a culture of wellbeing. 

“Wellness Workdays is a Certified Women Business Enterprise, which prides itself on developing custom-tailored, scientifically based lifestyle change programs, geared to engage the employee, spouse and dependent populations of our client partners,” Wein says. “Our goal is to utilize wellness and health promotion as a crucial component supporting individual behavior change that will reduce healthcare costs, improve employee engagement and enhance productivity of our partner clients.”

As the company has grown, she said, its roots in scientific research have only strengthened. Collectively, the Wellness Workdays team represents decades of experience and education not only in worksite wellness, but also in nutrition, health behaviors, public health, communication strategy, chronic disease management and much more. Furthermore, the company’s expertise is reinforced by an extensive medical advisory board made up of licensed physicians committed to worksite wellness as a component of prevention medicine.

 Debra Wein, founder of Wellness Workdays.

“We don’t offer cookie-cutter templates, but custom-tailored programs for every organization,” says Wein. “We strive to become strategic partners with each of our clients as we help them develop a comprehensive wellness program that will meet their specific goals – whether it is to decrease absenteeism, increase employee retention or decrease health care costs. We also help employers conserve resources by finding ways to maximize the utilization of services that are already available to their organization.”

The executives Wein works with say they are inspired by her passion and dedication to promoting employee wellness. Clients include New Balance, Rockland Trust, EMD Serono, Cape Cod Healthcare, Brown University, Titan America, Kennebunk Savings Bank, Central Maine Healthcare and the City of Portland, to name a few. 

As a testament to her determination to cast a wider net of well-being, Wellness Workdays acquired Portland, Maine-based OMC Wellness in 2018, expanding its reach from Caribou, Maine, to Miami, Fla. The company now has offices not only in Hingham, but Maine, New York, Texas and Florida. What began in 1994 as Sensible Nutrition and eventually transitioned to Wellness Workdays started out with Wein and one other part-time employee. The company now has more than 45 full-time staff and many part-time consultants.

“Our technology provides a single, easy-to-use web-based portal, designed to provide employees with a comprehensive wellness program, which can be accessed from a desktop, mobile device, or tablet,” notes Wein. “Our fully customizable platform supports any type of health and wellness programs and integration from other vendors, partners and health trackers.” 

Wellness Workdays’ portal platform has achieved HITRUST Common Security Framework certification, the highest certification in the industry, and can manage existing programs and onboard new clients with minimal setup time. Employers can track program results with more than 90-plus standardized reports.

“Our five-year strategic vision includes five key areas: profitable growth, a scalable service model, innovative use of technology, training and professional development for the Wellness Workdays’ team, our clients and the industry, and a focus on compliance,” Wein explains. “We service many sophisticated, well-known Fortune 500 organizations. Our long-term standing with each of these clients, many of which we have serviced for 10 to 15 years, helps to solidify Wellness Workdays as a national leader in the worksite wellness arena. Each year, for the last several years, we have doubled our growth and profitability. Our plan is to also continue our geographic expansion across the U.S.”

Wein and her company continue to strive for the good health and wellbeing of employees up and down the East Coast, but want to take it even further.

“Growth is exciting but it takes a lot of energy, dedicated staff and an appreciation that change is OK,” she says. “Luckily, I have a team of professionals whose insights help them to see the big picture, always put the client first, and innovate tirelessly. We are all in this to promote health and well-being and we all enjoy what we do!”

In addition to helping businesses support their employees’ good health, Wein and her team have worked tirelessly to encourage wellness in other ways. For example, they helped to spearhead a $2.5 million research study with Harvard T. H. Chan’s School of Public Health on worksite wellness outcomes – funding provided by the National Institutes of Health, Harvard University, MIT and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Wein created a Dietetic Internship program which provides opportunities for 100 professionals each year who are studying to be Registered Dietitians, and brings them to Boston twice each year for learning opportunities and partnerships with organizations across the US, including several major sports teams and Fortune 100 companies.

Developed by Wein and her team, in collaboration with experts from Harvard Medical School, the Best Wellness Employers Program recognizes the significant accomplishments of employers throughout the U.S. that are dedicated to improving employee health and well-being. The initiative also helps advance the field of worksite wellness by providing data and research about current practices and wellness outcomes.

And that’s not all. Local community involvement is also important to Wein and Wellness Workdays.  Realizing the importance that health plays in everyone’s life, Wein and her team have donated time, energy and knowledge to a number of programs and initiatives that focus on giving back to the community. 

They have provided nutrition training for several Boston Marathon teams over the past 10 years (American Liver Foundation, Children’s Hospital Boston and the Home for Little Wanderers).  Wein has presented to elementary schools, pre-schools, day care facilities and YMCA organizations about the importance of students eating well and getting proper exercise. 

Wein has volunteered with teachers’ groups and parenting groups on nutritional training throughout the Commonwealth. The company has also offered training sessions for high school sports teams and coaches on eating disorder prevention and the importance of proper sports nutrition for athletes. 

She has also worked with the Joslin Diabetes Center, the Wang YMCA of Chinatown and the YMCA of Greater Boston on a diabetes prevention program. The free program, which is usually fee-based, included screenings for diabetes risk factors and coaching on healthy nutrition and fitness.

That’s only a fraction of it. The list of community support is an immense and generous one.  Wein and her team have dedicated innumerable hours to charitable organizations of all kinds in fundraising, sponsorship and educational capacities.

Wein’s colleagues believe her endless commitment to promote wellness education is her most outstanding quality. Whether writing an article, speaking to a group of students/professionals, or working to develop an approach to reach a group of 100 or 10,000 employees, education is her passion. 

“At Wellness Workdays, we believe that technology plays an important role in the implementation of a successful wellness program, but we don’t believe wellness is just technology,” Wein said. “With our hands-on approach, the team at Wellness Workdays serves as an extension of your staff. With a deep bench strength in wellness and years of developing, implementing and evaluating employee wellbeing programs, our team brings best practices and evidence based approaches to each client and custom tailors each initiative. ”

Wellness Workdays, 21 Fotler Road, Hingham, 781-741-5483, www.wellnessworkdays.com

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