Western Digital is a Fortune 500-listed company and is one of the largest computer data storage and hard disk drive manufacturing companies in the world. Western Digital encourages its employees to develop and maintain active and healthy lifestyles through its DRIVE Wellness Program, which provides educational seminars, workout equipment, health counseling, and coaching to its workforce.
After encountering and using an InBody at an area fitness center, Senior Wellness Specialist Heather Whitaker saw the potential to bring DRIVE Wellness’ offerings to the next level. After seeing the effect it had on a pilot program of 200 employees, Whitaker brought in an InBody 570 as an educational tool available for employees to get a better understanding of their health and to inspire them to become healthier and allow them to be more productive.
A chance encounter that changed a program
Like many wellness specialists at large corporations, Heather Whitaker, Senior Wellness Specialist at Western Digital’s DRIVE Wellness Center has a mission: to provide services that benefit the health of the workforce at Western Digital. While that’s easier said than done, Whitaker has a clear methodology.
“Ultimately I’m trying to educate employees,” she remarked. “I’m not trying to tell our employees what to do and how to do things; [it’s] the rationale – the reason behind why. We’re trying to make employees see that they need to be good healthcare consumers for themselves and for their family.”
But how to communicate that, and more importantly, how to get employees invested? Fortunately for Whitaker, a chance encounter provided a solution.
“I first heard about InBody at a local gym I was working out at. They were doing a 12-week fitness challenge, and part of that challenge was to use the scale to help dictate where your body needed to go.” Going through that challenge herself got Whitaker thinking: what if the Western Digital employees could use the InBody too? So, she tried it out.
200 Western Digital employees chose to enroll in the 12-week fitness challenge at the local gym with the InBody. The results were astounding. “Collectively, they lost close to 4,000 pounds of fat. Not weight, but pure fat. We would have never known that had we not used the [InBody],” said Whitaker.
Impressed by the results of the trial, Whitaker made the decision to bring an InBody 570 to Western Digital for the opening of DRIVE Wellness.
Awareness, the Key to Inspiration
Bringing awareness to the Western Digital workforce, with body composition as a significant portion of that awareness, became central to Whitaker’s work towards her goals. Her InBody scale brought that awareness in a comfortable, non-intimidating way.
“When you’re overweight, you don’t need anyone telling you you’re overweight; you already know,” said Whitaker, “but by getting on the InBody scale it’s breaking it down for you. It’s making it more relatable and understandable.”
That breakdown has proven to be a key for getting employees at Western Digital invested in their own health. The data the InBody provides the healthcare professionals at Western Digital has also proven to be a convenient and clear way to talk to employees about their health risks associated with excess body fat.
“One of the ways our physician uses the InBody scale in physicals is to look at the visceral fat level. Once it gets to a certain point, he can help them understand that if they don’t lose some body fat – especially in the abdomen area – it’s going to increase their risk for heart disease, high cholesterol, [and] high blood pressure,” said Whitaker.
By having the InBody results available to employees, Whitaker is able to provide another educational moment. These moments can be eye-opening for employees and are crucial to inspiring them to take ownership of their health and wellness.
“The Light at the End of the Tunnel”
“I would say that the biggest success stories that we’re having is people feeling [that] there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Whitaker, “in that working with their health coach here they can come whether it be weekly, every other week, monthly, or whatever works for them and they can actually see progress.”
Currently, DRIVE Wellness only exists at Western Digital’s headquarters in Irvine, CA. However, based on the success Whitaker has been able to achieve, she plans to open up two more centers at Western Digital’s locations in the San Jose Bay Area. She’ll be bringing what worked at Irvine to the employees up north, and that’ll include an InBody device.
As Whitaker sees it, it’s a must-have.
“I have people come through all the time who come and look to see our wellness center…and I always show them the InBody scale,” she says. “I let them know that it’s such a key tool in a wellness center that…maybe cut back on certain areas, but make sure you have the scale, make sure you have a health coach that can use and have doctors that can understand it.”
“I just think it’s a great tool that people can use, and it just makes understanding your overall body composition so much easier.”
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