Get a Life

By Judith Welles

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Emerging plans could make government a model workplace

Plans for making government a model workplace are starting to appear on the work life front.

Agencies have until August 10 to report data on their health and wellness programs to the Office of Personnel Management . OPM is providing an online tool, “WellCheck,” to collect information on the number of worksites where wellness programs or services are offered, the number of employees with access and using the services, cost and other metrics.

“This first year of data will provide a baseline against which goals may be set and future improvements measured," said OPM Director John Berry in a memo.

OPM has a Web site for planning a comprehensive worksite wellness programs. Resources include health education (classes, literature or Web-based information), supportive environments (health fairs, fitness facilities or exercise groups), screening programs and linkages with related programs.

At the same time, Berry is discussing creation of a multi-agency work-life campus for more than 6,000 federal employees at four agencies. He has met with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and heads of the Government Services Administration and Federal Reserve Board on model work-life initiatives such as the potential for sharing facilities. The agencies are all within walking distance of each other.

“America's top employers have understood for a long time just how important it is to create a pleasing place to work as a strong draw for recruiting and retaining the best talent in the land," he said. "This effort demonstrates how we can do more with less. By combining our efforts, we can more adequately and economically address the issues of wellness and employee satisfaction than we could with an agency-by-agency approach."

The agencies will also be evaluating their wellness programs and telework policies. This could ultimately be a government-wide effort with agencies developing joint programs and services such as shared child care or fitness facilities.

Posted by Judith Welles on Jul 21, 2009 at 12:12 PM

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Reader comments

Thu, Aug 6, 2009 Bill

I never understood why child care was so expensive for federal workers.

Fri, Jul 24, 2009 Peg

Great ideas! It is costly and inefficient if each agency does this on its own, but a combined approach will allow so much more to be offered.

Wed, Jul 22, 2009 Mr Beel

I hope this pans out... But I remember hearing talk like this in 1980 when I came on board. Almost 30 years, and several administrations later, it's "same old same old".

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