Last Friday, the parking lot at Tufts Health Plan seemed more like fair or gym as employees enjoyed the annual Field Day.
The company set up a climbing wall, ping-pong tables, massage chairs and mini-golf. The 1,850 Tufts workers could also grab a jump rope or hula hoop, or organize a game of volleyball, basketball or even take part in a home run derby. They could also relax with a massage.
This is just one of the efforts focusing on the health and fitness of the employees by the company, which has its headquarters on Mt. Auburn Street in Watertown.
The Tufts wellness initiative began in 2005. Now the company has a gym which offers more than 30 fitness classes each week, said Kristine Martel, Tufts’ director of Human Resources. Employees are encouraged to use the fitness center during work hours. Martel said is also is a nice way for workers and management to get to know each other.
“It breaks down barriers,” Martel said. “A junior person could be working out right next to a senior vice president.”
The company seeks out new ways to get workers active and excited about keeping healthy. One recently started program is a garden, which was started in a back parking lot at Tufts.
“Some people are gardeners, some have never participated,” Martel said. “And some people do not have the opportunity to garden where they live.”
Bobbie Oldytowski, a corporate communications specialist for Tufts, joined with her co-workers to plant one of the beds. She showed off her garden, which among other things, had a large patch of arugula.
These programs have helped Tufts Health Plan become an attractive place for employees, at least judging by the awards it has received. It in the top 10 places to work in the most recent Boston Globe survey, is one of the Boston Business Journal’s healthiest employers, and was named a Gold Fit-Friendly worksite by the American Heart Association.