CHALLENGE: A happier, healthier work family
An animal hospital might not be the first place you think of when you think of health promotion but Ashton Kane, the owner of Westside Animal Hospital, as well as a veterinarian feels they are very much related. “We are talking about health and weight all day (of pets). Being in a health-related field I spend a lot of time with healthy weight charts and telling people their animals are too fat, so we want to model being fairly healthy ourselves.” Ashton states. Working with animals can, at times, be emotionally taxing and Ashton noticed that many people are emotional eaters and that having candy around in the breakroom wasn’t helping anyone live a healthy lifestyle. The culture before working with Healthy Monadnock wasn’t making the healthy choice the easy choice as often as it could.
SOLUTION: Team efforts to promote a healthy work culture
The changes that were made at Westside Animal Hospital were a group effort. In order to successfully implement these changes, everybody has to be on board. “We have a healthy meeting policy and there is not an uncontrolled amount of food like there was before… we’d order pizza, salad, desserts. We order just enough for us now, so there isn’t all this extra food. And we don’t tend to do desserts. Desserts are reserved for very special occasions, not every Tuesday, like it used to be.” Ashton states. Another change that has made quite the impact has been the development of walking maps. The creation of walking maps has helped employees take time to walk at lunch or breaks because they know where to go and about how long each walk should take. There is also an air stepper in the break room for staff that are short on time and want to get some steps in. These changes allow for Westside Animal Hospital staff to improve their health while at work and continue to promote health with their patients.
Making changes to the environment by making candy and junk food less accessible and making healthy options and water more accessible, helped change the culture of the animal hospital. This allowed staff to make healthy choices based on what was available. Being a small group of 5 employees brings a sense of accountability to the team, helping each other make healthier choices.
In a small organization like Westside Animal Hospital, it is sometimes hard to measure and track success. While they have updated their employee handbook to reflect the policy changes made, their main measurement of success is in each other. Reminding each other of the changes that were made and the importance of them has helped keep this organization on track. They won’t stop here, while they’re happy with the changes made so far, there are always more possibilities and opportunities to take.
We felt proud of ourselves, It was an easy thing to do. I definitely would encourage anyone to do it. People think it is going to be a big stressful thing and take up a lot of time. It is far from that. It is very easy, very friendly, no one is going to come in and judge your organization. They are just there to help you and be a positive resource. – Ashton S. Kane, Veterinarian/Owner of Westside Animal Hospital