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Working Healthy | Long Island Business News

A healthy workplace is everything. This was highlighted by COVID-19. As the pandemic has made clear, if one person catches the virus, entire businesses can be at risk, from slowdowns to complete shutdowns.

Emphasized that employers simply don’t have to worry about the health of their business. Amid the proliferation of variants and employee burnout, employers have also had to consider the physical and mental health of their employees if their organizations are likely to survive the virus.

While COVID-19 has taken a toll on physical and mental health, the workplace is far superior when it comes to an overall healthy environment. Still, cooler temperatures in the coming months mean more time spent indoors, increasing the risk of airborne viral transmission.

Doctor.Bruce Farber: “We are in a stalemate with the virus.” Courtesy of Northwell Health

Dr. Bruce Farber, Chief of Public Health and Epidemiology at Northwell Health, said: “The virus is not gone, but we are over it. The balance will tip in one direction or the other.”

Dr. Sharon Nachman, an infectious disease specialist at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, agrees.

“Fall and winter are going to test our patience,” she said.

And on that precipice, employers are now looking for ways to attract and keep top talent safe. Healthy perks and good science go a long way toward that end.

For example, to weather the pandemic, Town of Babylon, which has 400 full-time and 200 part-time employees, has invested in Radish Health, a New York-based telemedicine platform that provides primary care services to local governments. started collaborating with The town governments of Smithtown and Brookhaven, and governments including medium-sized businesses.

“We had to make sure the whole team was healthy and ready to serve the town,” Rich Shaffer, head of Babylon Town, told LIBN.

” [Hurricane] Sandy and other Mother Nature events have forced our people to work overtime around the clock, leaving us “wiped and exhausted” in the aftermath. During the public health crisis, Schaffer turned to supporting its employees so they can “do their best” in “interacting with the public.”

20180409.02 Sharon Nachman Pediatrics

Shaffer said the radish helped the town develop a plan. The plan featured active monitoring of sick people so that a cure could be found quickly. It also limited face-to-face meetings to healthy, screened team members who are unlikely to spread the virus.

Still, COVID-19 isn’t the only threat to people’s health, says Dr. Viral Patel, CEO of Radish. “I can’t forget other things,” he said, referring to heart disease, cancer and other ailments.

As the virus receded, the town began to see long-term benefits in working with Radish. We offer support to find additional resources in our network if needed.

The town currently pays approximately $80,000 annually for this program. Shaffer said in his July he hopes the program will help reduce costs for the town, with employees feeling more energized, more productive and working less overtime.

Schaefer said the program “shows that we care about our employees,” adding that other sectors outside of government would benefit from taking the same approach.

For example, recognizing that team members need support, Northwell Health will open the Center for Traumatic Stress, Resilience, and Recovery in 2021. The center provides grief counseling, coaching, and additional services to employees and their families.

“Northwell supports the holistic well-being of our team members, including helping them manage stress caused by COVID-19 and other factors,” said Maxine Carrington, senior vice president and chief human resources officer. I am committed to this,” he said, opening the center.

Additionally, healthcare providers invest in the professional development of their team members as a way to retain employees in a competitive employment environment.

Rob Labiento teaches fitness classes for Town of Babylon employees.Photo by Judy Walker

Meanwhile, the town of Babylon continued to bolster their health and wellness by engaging personal trainer Rob Laviento, who has incorporated additional resources in fitness and nutrition and counseling.

Town officials say the combined approach has helped promote employee health, reduce health care costs, improve productivity, and attract and retain top talent.

Since the program began, City of Babylon official Gerry Compitello said 15 staff members have cumulatively lost 100 pounds and their cholesterol and A1C levels have risen, citing blood tests that detect type 2 and pre-diabetes. He said that some people have declined.

Also, “in mental health counseling, more than half of my staff speaks to someone,” she said, adding that it has helped her “get out of the pandemic” and keep her stress levels in check. In the past two months, she said, she was the only one to call in sick, which “used to be commonplace.”

Schaffer says the focus on health and wellness has changed the culture of the workplace. Now, his colleagues are talking about scheduling mammograms and colonoscopies and sharing healthy recipes. “It sparked a whole different conversation,” he said.

Town employees are also encouraged to attend two hours of fitness classes per week, including strength and conditioning, yoga, mindfulness, walking and other activities. Energetic employees “are more productive,” Schaffer says.

Even without additional benefits, employers can protect their workplaces by maintaining the procedures people have diligently implemented during the pandemic.

“Things that prevent infection continue to work,” Nachman said, referring to basics like washing your hands and staying home when you’re not feeling well.

And vaccines are “really, really very good, but they’re never perfect,” she noted.

Yet with headlines about new strains, monkeypox, flu, and now polio, it’s easy to feel a withering panic mixed in.

But Nachman says: Chicken Little’s response is a poor use of our energy. ” Me

She added that it would be better to look at ways to “stop the progression of this infection.”

So employers should strive to be “educated consumers,” she added. “Rather than listening to echo chambers on social media, look to good sources,” she said.

Still, the cold weather won’t be an easy weather for employers, Farber warned.

“It depends on where we go in the fall to decide what is reasonable and what is not,” he said. “The colder the weather, the higher the price tends to be.”

And then, he said, employers may find that they “need to reset mitigation policies.”