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Dowd Insurance Agencies Promotes Employee Wellness

HOLYOKE — The Dowd Insurance Agencies, a leading insurance provider serving New England for more than 115 years, launched a formal wellness program to promote the physical and mental health of employees in the workplace and at home.

The program was officially announced in February at an annual meeting, and a committee was formed to create, implement, and monitor the effort to support overall health and morale of participating employees.

“Now that the program has been successful for a few months, the committee is happy to say it will be here at the Dowd Insurance Agencies for the foreseeable future,” said committee chair Lynn Houle.

John Dowd Jr., president and CEO of the Dowd Agencies, added, “we are proud to be leading by example. We provide businesses with insurance and employee-benefit options, and this is an opportunity to keep health and wellness top of mind for our own business.”

Specifically, the wellness program at the Dowd Insurance Agencies was developed by one of the firm’s insurance carriers and implemented for a 16-week trial period. Each week included challenges for weight and cardio exercises that were supplemented by a nutrition program and videos for educational purposes. Participants logged individual progress from activities completed at work and at home.

Additionally, a wellness board was created and placed in the break room, which offered suggestions, helpful hints, and ways to get active in the community, including road races, charitable walks, and local workout classes held after work to encourage physical wellness. Various stress-relieving activities, including yoga, Pilates, and meditation, were also available to support mental wellness.

A monthly awards presentation is held in conjunction with an agency luncheon where prizes that promote wellness are awarded to each of the monthly winners. At the end of the year, a grand-prize ceremony will be held to acknowledge and celebrate employees who achieved their goals.

While many personal wellness programs start out strong, many times participants lose focus. To help employees stay on track, the Dowd Insurance Agencies implemented a ‘wellness bell’ that includes an agency-wide e-mail sent several times a week at various times of day. When delivered, the e-mail makes the sound of a bell ringing, which signals employees to take a 60-second break to get up, stretch, walk around the office, meditate, or do something else that gives them a moment to relax and regroup.

Many employees also take advantage of group activities, such as lunchtime walks and out-of-office events. This month, employees can enjoy an afternoon at a local pitch-and-putt. Other planned activities include bowling and carnival games.

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