03/12/14 — Local company makes fitness part of work

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Local company makes fitness part of work

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on March 12, 2014 1:46 PM

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Mamie Riggs, left, and Kristy Thompson lead a group of employees at Goldsboro Builders Supply as they spend their break walking laps through the warehouse.

The dress code at Goldsboro Builders Supply has been updated recently. The company shirt and slacks are still mandatory, but lately, a few pedometers and bright athletic shoes have made their way into the office environment.

As partners with Go Wayne Go!, a county health initiative, the company has created an environment that encourages health by awarding healthy habits and allowing a walk break to replace the smoke break.

Every day, about 18 employees leave their desks at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to check their pedometers and take off in the adjoining warehouse. They make a few laps during their 15 minutes off, and they check smart phone apps to see how far they've walked. The goal is 10,000 steps a day.

Eventually, each employee will present individual goals and progress to the company. Successful individuals can then win prizes, including vacation days. For example, running or walking 60 miles in three months will gain an employee a vacation day. Or employees can participate in three events, such as a 5K, to receive a vacation day. Whoever enters the "healthy zone," or out of the overweight range of their body mass index, can win $50.

The most successful employee, measured by whoever loses the most weight and is in the healthy zone, will win an unknown grand prize.

Some employees have embraced the new program. A total of 18 employees have signed up, or about half the company's work force.

"I think it's great. It's not only good for the body, but it's good for mental health and relieving the stress of the job," Rick Martin said.

Goldsboro Builders Supply owner David Perry, himself a physical fitness advocate, is fully behind the campaign, said staff designer Kristy Thompson, who is spearheading the initiative.

Walking keeps workers healthy, happy, more productive and more capable working as a team, she said.

"When you're increasing health and camaraderie, it's a bonus for the company," Lynn Holloman said.

"The bonding is great. It makes you get together with more co-workers," Jessica Thomas said. "It's a benefit after staying still for so long. It breaks up the day. Instead of smoking, it keeps you exercised."

Workers have already started noticing changes in their overall health and fitness through the new program. Mrs. Thompson said she has noticed changes in the office.

"The mood around here is a whole lot better. We're all working together more. We're getting together and doing our thing and there's so much motivation," she said.

The camaraderie has also leaked out of the office into non-working hours. Weekend events, such as kickball games, volleyball games, weekend walks and disc golf have all been planned for upcoming Saturdays.

"We're hoping everyone gets healthier. At the end of the day, we're healthier employees and that's everything," Mrs. Thompson said. "It's very fun and very motivating, and motivation spreads."

Go Wayne Go! is a community health initiative urging county residents to move a little more and eat a little less to fight obesity. Statistics show three-fourths of people in the county are considered overweight.

Its website asks Wayne County residents to lose 1 million pounds by May 2015. As of this morning, 927 pounds have been measured as lost. Employees at Goldsboro Builders Supply can claim 34 of them.

"We haven't started getting the results in yet," Mrs. Thompson said. "But, I'm going in the right direction."