Population Well Inc

Inform. Transform. Preform.


As the president of a corporate wellness company, POPULATION WELL, I have noticed a recent trend in the way companies are approaching employee-based wellness programs. Namely, companies are taking employee wellness more seriously now. They are truly trying to figure out the right solution to combat rising health issues and healthcare costs. Unfortunately, too many companies are trying to implement wellness programs with little to no experience or game plan for success. As a result, more programs fail than succeed.

The real problem? Corporate wellness cannot be treated as a band-aid, and you definitely won’t be able to find it in a fitness app. Engagement, motivation, support and strategy are the keys to a successful program. If employees are not involved in the solution, it’s difficult to succeed. Preventable wellness is a complete lifestyle and behavior change and change takes time and commitment.

If you’re ready to commit, here are THREE things to keep in mind as you design a wellness program for your company:

    1. A higher level of awareness is essential to success. Americans are becoming more and more health conscious. But due to higher stress, longer work days and constant multitasking, it is more difficult to find the time to act on wellness goals. Creating an on-site wellness program is important because the majority of an employee’s time is spent at the workplace.
    2. Be creative. Corporate wellness shouldn’t be boring. Creating unique and dynamic programs that consistently evolve over time ensure the best possibility of long term success. Human beings need to be challenge and stimulated in different ways and different means to create change. Challenge your program to stay on the latest trends; it will help to appoint a wellness lead that takes direct responsibility over the operations.
    3. Corporate wellness is a complex, long-term play. The success of corporate wellness is driven by the unique strategy behind it. It involves a framework that outlines short and long-term goals for the employee and the employer. Corporate wellness needs support, leadership, commitment from the vendor, employer and employees. A successful program takes time and constantly evolves so it can be integrated into the fabric of the company’s culture. Corporate wellness is not just one solution. It is the culmination of many solutions that work together under one strategy. It involves layers of physical activity, education, communication, incentives, and a long term commitment.

When we actually think about what needs to take place, it seems fairly straightforward. However, the challenge lies in the execution. Behavior modification takes time and is different from person to person. It is possible, when reinforced consistently with different programs, multiple touch points, strong leadership, and an unwavering commitment. I challenge both the employers and the employees to think differently about wellness and what it means to them. If the end goal is healthier employees, then both parties need to be involved to share this common vision.


Featured post

Recipe: Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is a whole grain that contains more protein than any other grain. You can add pretty much anything to it and make a great side or main dish. Depending on what you add to it you can have a well balanced meal that is filling, but not full of calories.


  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 3 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen baby lima beans
  • 4 cups chopped tomato (about 3 medium)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
 How to prepare it:
  1. Combine quinoa and vegetable broth in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer approximately 15 minutes until broth is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Remove from heat.

  2. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, basil, and next 6 ingredients (through garlic) in  large bowl; stir with a whisk until blended. Stir in quinoa.

  3. Cook lima beans according to package directions, without salt and fat. Cool completely. Add the lima beans, tomato, green onions, carrot, and black beans to quinoa mixture; stir gently to combine. Store, covered, in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Let us know your favorite ways to prepare quinoa!

I don’t have time to workout.

I know all too well how busy, adults are throughout the day, so when does anyone have time to workout? A couple of years ago I was the master at skipping workouts because I didn’t have time or I would tell myself I’ll go tomorrow. During that time I was always tired, extremely stressed, unhappy, and less productive. I told myself I would figure out what works for me no matter what.

Trial and Error:

I tried setting my alarms to wakeup and workout before work. I  quickly discovered that morning workouts are not for me. The snooze button wins every time and I think how much more comfortable my bed is than the gym.

Next, I tried going after work. If I went home after work I got sidetracked and lost motivation to workout as the night went on.

Lastly, I tried going to different classes that my gym offered. This didn’t work either for a combination of reasons, such as, I didn’t want to get out of bed, it was too late after work, I have things I really need to get done around the house, and so on.

My Solution:

After numerous failed attempts and feeling like I didn’t have any self discipline I found my workout savior, my calendar. I treated my workouts like they were an appointment or a meeting and it clicked for me! Whether it is over my lunch hour or right at the end of the day, I plan for it like I would a meeting.

If someone asks me to do something when I have planned to workout I can simply say I have an appointment or meeting. This has really worked for me over the past couple of years.

Meditation. Who needs it?

Meditation has become a buzzword over the last several years, but what exactly is it? Meditation is a practice to slow the thoughts in the mind and to increase awareness of self.

In the United States, we are constantly on the move and have a thousand things to accomplish throughout the course of the day. The word stress for most adults is an understatement. Taking a few minutes each day for yourself to try and quiet the mind can bring several benefits.

Here are a few ways daily meditation can improve your life:

  1. Stress Reduction: taking the time to try and slow the mind has shown significant reduction in overall stress and allows for a better regulation of emotions and thoughts.
  2. Increases Happiness: meditation can improve your self awareness and acceptance of situations, others, and self. This in turn increases your happiness.
  3. Enhances Concentration: according to studies, meditation has been linked to increases in memory and overall focus.
  4. Increases overall health: meditation encourages making healthier lifestyle choices. Regular meditation is shown to support an increase in immune function and cardiovascular health. Lastly, with all of these benefits many people say they feel as if it has slowed the aging process.

There are many ways to meditate such as: coloring, focusing on breathing, yoga etc. If these don’t strike your fancy try finding a meditation video on the internet. Just a few minutes a day can bring about numerous benefits. It’s definitely worth a try.

Bike to Work… (25 reasons)

You probably know how much we dig cycling…. from our indoor “party on a bike” to our outdoor bike share program.  But here’s 25 reasons we believe you should take that 2-wheeler to work… pedal on TRUE TRIBE !

1. Biking to work beats waiting for the bus. Or getting smushed between grumpy morning commuters. Or having to stand for thirty minutes on a moving bus. Biking > bus.

2. If you bike to work, it might be faster than taking public transport. In San Francisco, a commute from the Mission to downtown takes 15 minutes on a bike versus 30 minutes on a bus.

3. You can leave at whatever time you want since you won’t have to beat traffic or overcrowded subways.

4. Biking to work gets you moving first thing in the morning. The active mindset will stay with you for the rest of the day.

5. You’ll feel sharper when you arrive at work. I’m not sure if the rush is from the exercise or dodging crazy commuters, but you’ll arrive at work alert and ready for action.

6. You might eat better. I definitely eat a healthier breakfast to fuel my ride. Plus, I no longer walk past tempting bakeries or coffee shops on my way to work.

7. You’ll make friends. Urban cycling communities are notoriously friendly. Don’t be shy to say hi at long stoplights, too!

8. You won’t waste your commute on your smartphone. Seriously, no texting while you ride.

9. You’ll become a more aware driver and pedestrian.

10. You’ll impress the boys and girls with those toned muscles.

11. You’ll save money! Say goodbye to car, parking lot, and commuter expenses. Car, parking lot, commuter passes

12. It’s a great excuse to wear comfy clothes to work if you’re allowed to dress casually.

13. You’ll get to discover your city more. Biking lets you explore nooks and crannies off the path of public transport.

14. Since you’re outside on the roads everyday, you might notice restaurants and hang out spots in your neighborhood that slipped by you when you were on the bus or had eyes glued to your smartphone.

15. You could actually get *paid* for biking to work thanks to the Bicycle Commuter Act, which reimburses you for certain cycling-related expenses.

16. It’s better for the environment.

17. If you have children or know children who look up to you, you’ll be a healthy role model.

18. You can scoot around traffic jams (be safe!)

19. You can save time at the gym! A low-key 30 minute ride can burn 100-200 calories. Depending on your commute, you could replace the gym with cycling entirely.

20. You’re less likely to get sick, according to scientific studies. You’re also avoiding the germs passed by people on the bus.

21. The more bikers on the road, the more likely your city will start making changes to roads to make biking safer.

22. Exercise improves your mood.

23. You’ll never get caught in a BART strike or other public transport woe.

24. Biking to work gives you time to soak up Vitamin D from the sun every day.

25. As you get better at cycling, you’ll improve your confidence.

26. When you bike to work, you have a consistently timed commute since you’re not waiting for buses or hitting traffic. You always know how long it takes to get from point A to point B.

27. You’ll inevitably start drinking less so that you can bike home safely.

28. You’ll get a stronger core. Biking is as much about strong abs as it is strong legs.

29. Many cities now have public bicycles available so that you can bike from train stations or around town without having to worry about parking your bike safely.

30. You’ll stop shlepping so much useless stuff to and from work to minimize the weight of your backpack.

Healthy Eating at Work

Sometimes there’s a fine line between what you should and shouldn’t encourage your employees to do. After all, you’re a part of their work life, so you shouldn’t go traipsing into their personal life too much. That doesn’t mean you can’t care about their well-being in all aspects of life.

So, how do you address something like a healthy diet? Here are some ideas that can help you encourage healthy eating without being too pushy!

Offer Company Cooking Lessons

This is a great option because it’s something fun and different that you can offer as part of your wellness program. If you have the means, bring in a cooking instructor and teach your employees a few healthy recipes. That will give them the means to make at least one healthy meal and the excitement to learn more.

Participate in Community Supported Agriculture

Depending on where you live, CSA programs might be common or maybe a bit harder to come by. CSA programs involve partnering with a local farm and investing in their business. As they harvest food throughout the year, you’ll get a portion of it. Many CSA programs will also set up a convenient delivery service as well. This allows your employees to take fresh and healthy foods home with them every week. It’s a great option to kick start a good grocery shopping list!

Build a Worksite Garden

We may be biased, but we think this is one of the best ideas! In fact, we just started our very first worksite garden and couldn’t be more excited about it. Worksite gardens can be built at any company, no matter how urban an area you’re in (we’re in an industrial park). You can build above ground garden beds, plant the food your employees want, take turns tending to the garden and split the fruits (and veggies) of your labor. Like the CSA program, this helps employees to start their week one step closer to a fresh and healthy grocery list.

Have a Healthy Potluck

Hopefully you’ve heard of a potluck. But, have you ever heard of a healthy potluck? It’s the same concept, but employees are encouraged to bring healthy foods like salads, chicken and fruit dishes for dessert. It’s a great way for employees to be creative about how they do healthy. It’s also an excellent opportunity to try new recipes and share your favorites with your coworkers.

Create a Company Cookbook

As is true with the healthy potluck, this is clearly a great way to share your favorite recipes. If you can get enough employees on board, have people submit recipes they love to the cookbook. Try to solicit as many healthy recipes as possible. Then have the book printed, branded with your company logo and distributed to all of your employees.

Cater Local Restaurant Food

Is there a local restaurant that’s a staple in your community? Ask them to cater a meal (or your next office party) for your employees, but pick from the foods on the lighter side of the menu. This can help your employees see that even when you go out to eat, there are healthy and delicious meals to try. You’ll also be supporting your local businesses, which is always a great idea!

Partner with a Nutritionist

As we’ve mentioned in a number of blog posts, partnering with other companies is always a great idea for your employee wellness program. Just like partnering with a local gym, you can also partner with a local nutritionist to offer your employees a discounted rate. This makes seeking nutritional help a feasible option without making it an intimidating requirement.

Educate about Nutrition Labels

One of the biggest downfalls of our country’s nutrition is that very few people know how to read the label. While there is talk of updating food labels to make them a bit more clear, it’s still important to understand what’s in your food. Bring in an expert to speak with your employees about determining what food is truly good or bad based on the labels on the back of the box. Again, make this an option as part of your wellness program, not something mandated. That way you’ll get genuine interest in the event.

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