Imagine a work environment that encourages mid-day exercise, bring-your-own-plate potlucks and healthy snacks during meetings. Not only is a healthier workplace important for individual well-being, but it also is necessary for environmental health.
Many adults spend a significant amount of time in meetings and sitting for prolonged periods of time. Often times the food and beverages at meetings are highly processed foods full of added sugar, salt and fat, which contribute to the development of chronic diseases and obesity. Additionally, meetings can create excess waste with unnecessary paper, polystyrene (i.e. Styrofoam) products and wasted food.
In an effort to improve the workplace and environment, the County of San Diego created the Meet Well Pledge, a tool that was developed to offer guidance on creating healthy meeting practices that support the County’s commitment to Live Well San Diego. The Pledge includes guidelines for offering healthy food and beverage options, ensuring food safety, conducting green and zero waste meetings, being active, providing lactation accommodations, and creating a smoke-free environment. The Meet Well Pledge also includes step-by-step instructions along with a template that can be tailored to reflect each partner’s unique work culture. This gives teams and organizations the opportunity to collaborate and craft meaningful healthy meeting agreements – which help to foster a healthier workplace culture and develop a sense of collective ownership – all working to create opportunities to live well at work!
The Meet Well Pledge is available to community partners. Through County's partnership with University of California, San Diego Center for Community Health and the Live Well @ Work program, several Live Well San Diego Recognized Partners have utilized the Pledge as a framework for changing their work culture.
“Our diverse employee wellness committee worked hard to create realistic and reasonable Meet Well [practices] that would be tailored to the clinic culture and environment,” says Annie Scott, Wellness Lead for the Imperial Beach Community Clinic. “This really helped us to make a comprehensive Meet Well Pledge and [I] have confidence that our clinic can adopt the [it] completely!”
Northgate Gonzalez Markets utilized the Meet Well Pledge as a template in crafting a healthy meeting policy. “The Northgate Store Team Leaders . . . were especially thankful at the clarity and simplicity of the policy as well as the clear and helpful tips on how to execute the policy successfully,” said Ms. Evelyn Gonzalez, Northgate’s Employee Wellness Program Supervisor.
Northgate’s Healthy Meeting Policy was informed by the Meet Well Pledge and includes healthy menu guidelines and meal options for meetings and events, tracking and evaluation measures and sustainability measures. The Healthy Meeting Policy was adopted and implemented throughout all their 41 Southern California store locations with more than 4,000 employees.
Utilizing the Meet Well Pledge expresses a commitment to the creation of a healthy workplace environment. For questions about adopting the pledge or having your meeting recognized as a Meet Well meeting, please contact Meghan Murphy.