Putting it All Together | Breanne Ostrom, Benefits & Wellness Specialist
Benefits & Wellness Specialist Breanne Ostrom with KA’s Wellness at Work Gold + Green Award. Below, a daily stretch and flex break at Kraus-Anderson headquarters.
It takes a variety of people and roles to keep a company running smoothly, and a huge part of a successful business is having happy, healthy employees. Kraus-Anderson’s Benefits & Wellness Specialist, Breanne Ostrom, helps provide a variety of programming, initiatives, and healthcare resources to support KA’s employees.
Thanks in part to her efforts, Kraus-Anderson was one of 22 Hennepin County businesses recently recognized with the 2019 Wellness by Design +Green award. The biennial award program recognizes employers with successful health promotion programs. In addition, workplaces that also minimize their impact on the environment receive the +Green designation. A total of 76 Wellness by Design winners were recognized this year, with 22 earning the Wellness by Design + Green designation. KA was recognized at the Gold+Green level. See all winners and learn more about Wellness by Design
Wellness Program More than Flu Shots
KA’s wellness program includes physical amenities as well as incentives for preventive care. The headquarters office’s healthful highlights include a fitness center, patio, standing desks, quiet room, high indoor air quality and natural lighting, KA’s proactive approach includes a rewards program, gym reimbursements and other incentives for employees to exercise, plan meals, get checkups and yes, annual flu shots. In addition, the company offers yearly biometric screenings at which employees can check their height, weight, blood pressure, BMI, and blood metrics.
“By promoting a healthy workplace for its employees, KA demonstrates the ethical and compassionate qualities that make this company a great place to work.” said KA Marketing Proposal Coordinator/Green Team co-chair Ryan Radzak. “Furthermore, the +Green designation validates the firm’s ongoing commitment to sustainability as we look to minimize our impact on the environment.”
What does your job entail as the Benefits & Wellness Specialist at KA?
BREANNE OSTROM: At KA I run our Wellness program, which includes coordinating annual biometric screenings, flu shots, blood drives, steps challenges, and I get to hand out money to employees who participate. Along with running the Wellness program, I also administer our employee benefits. With that role I meet with new hires to go over our benefit options, hold annual open enrollment meetings, help employees with any healthcare questions they may have, and a whole bunch of behind the scenes benefit reporting.
What are some initiatives at KA to improve employee wellness?
BREANNE OSTROM: When we moved into our new building I pushed for the Bevi machine, which has flavored still and sparkling water as a way to try and get employees to drink more water. We also have monthly nutrition/well-being seminars and have had two Mindfulness training courses. Employees can become so stressed at work, that learning how to be mindful and how to manage stress is very important, especially as we come into the hectic holiday months.
We also have groups of employees that gather on each floor to stretch and get out of their desks each morning. I encourage everyone to join! If your floor or office doesn’t have daily stretching happening yet, start it up!
What is the KA Employee Assistance Program? How can employees use it to their advantage?
BREANNE OSTROM: The Employee Assistance program, otherwise known as EAP, is a program through HealthPartners that is offered to all of our Non-union Full-time employees. It is a resource available to help with anything that life might throw at you. Whether you need help finding a dog sitter for your new puppy, or you are struggling with depression and need to talk to a counselor, or maybe you’re in need of a lawyer, EAP can help.
Stress management and work/life balance are constant issues in the work force. What are effective tools and resources for employees to manage these issues?
BREANNE OSTROM: I think the biggest thing employees need to do is slow down and take a deep breath. We forget how much breathing can impact how you’re feeling. If you’re in a high pressure situation, stop and take three deep breaths. It’s amazing how much better you’ll feel afterwards. I also strongly recommend taking some time for yourself. Whether that is a walk around the block, a bubble bath after a long day, or a yoga class…it’s important to have some “you” time.
How do you think our wellness programs and initiatives set KA apart?
BREANNE OSTROM: We really support our employees engaging in their health and well-being. We want employees to take their breaks when they need to stretch their legs, we want employees to walk to the KAfé to fill up their water to get in a few extra steps. We know how important it is to have a healthy and happy workforce.