How the Farbman Group cultivated a culture of workplace wellness

When a job requires sitting the majority of the workday, it can be difficult for employees to remain active and motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle. For Southfield-based Farbman Group, creating an environment where employees are not only happy, but also healthy is a passion and an investment that delivers long-term benefits for everyone. The management team at Farbman has made workplace wellness a personal company mission, and they have organized a Health & Wellness Committee where new initiatives are developed, implemented and, often times, employee-derived and driven.

Jennifer Cooper, trainer and owner of Healthy 4 Life, focuses on movements that target multiple muscle groups during Farbman Group's fitness program at Bingham Center in Bingham Farms, MI.

Jennifer Cooper, trainer and owner of Healthy 4 Life, focuses on movements that target multiple muscle groups during Farbman Group’s fitness program at Bingham Center in Bingham Farms, MI.

Getting employees engaged and invested in adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be as easy as asking them for ideas and to share their interests. In the past year, more than 100 ideas were generated by Farbman Group employees and implemented by management. Not only does the company as a whole benefit from the creative minds of their colleagues, employees are reaffirmed that their opinion does matter and that great ideas are valued.

Employees are eager to assist in putting together programs, such as yoga, which is offered at various Farbman Group properties to engage both the mind and the physical body. Yoga is an activity that can be practiced individually or as a group, making it a well-suited exercise for an office setting.  Farbman also provides the FitDesk 2.0 for employees to cycle while they work.

Those who respond well to competition might appreciate a company-wide challenge, such as individually monitoring and tracking daily steps taken. Farbman employees received pedometers and the Health & Wellness Committee awarded individuals who logged the most stats in a 90-day timeframe.  Currently, Farbman is engaged in a step challenge with one of its tenants, United Physicians group in Bingham Farms.

Organizing an after-hours sports team encourages exercise and provides employees an opportunity to build relationships outside of the office, in addition to networking in the community. Farbman Group has had employees build internal teams and sign-up to participate in nonprofit walks, such as Race for the Cure or Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes, and join a seasonal recreational sport.  Farbman formed a floor hockey team called the Farbman Phantoms that plays in a local league.

Farbman employees also are invited to participate in nutritional education and exercise classes, among others, which provide resources to create healthier living both in and outside the office.  To safeguard employees against the influenza virus, vaccinations are offered on-site during flu season.

Deborah Rene, Jennifer Agrawal and Marvin Stepnak walk around the Essex Centre building in Southfield, MI to rack-up steps.

Deborah Rene, Jennifer Agrawal and Marvin Stepnak walk around the Essex Centre building in Southfield, MI to rack-up steps.

In addition to exercise, Farbman Group has added wholesome snacking options in its kitchen and offers a variety of healthy choices when ordering in for lunch meetings. To promote healthy eating habits and help prevent employees from giving into sweet or fattening food temptations, companies simply can keep a basket of fresh, seasonal fruits on hand, which are a convenient, grab and go alternative for them. Farbman is working with Savorfull to provide healthy vending machines in the office.

Creating a healthier workplace environment can have a great return on investment, both individually and for the entire company.  It also can be accomplished in a cost-efficient manner.  At Farbman Group, the support and encouragement among colleagues has boosted company morale and resulted in many health and wellness benefits to its employees.

Andy Gutman is president of the Farbman Group

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