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5 Minutes With: Corporate wellness guru Bailey Vaez

Feeling the burnout of ­corporate culture, the former industrial engineer quit her job and started her own ­initiative to bring wellness into the workplace.

Feeling the burnout of ­corporate culture, the former industrial engineer quit her job and started her own ­initiative to bring wellness into the workplace.

You left a very promising career at 24. What caused you to take such a risk?
You see an opportunity to make something better and you jump at it. So when I was working as an engineer I noticed an opportunity and that was to make the workplace healthier.


What are some of the things you do when you’re brought in by a company?
I help people deal with these work-life balance issues and manage stress, whether it be through time management sem­inars, nutritional counseling or a variety of fitness classes from salsa to aerobics.


What are some of the unheal­thy things people do at work?
I think the fact that most work cafeterias carry foods that are high in sodium, high in fat, and even things you may think are healthy for you, like a tuna sandwich, are full of mayo.


Breakfast meetings: Dan­ishes, muffins, scones. Snacks: Vending machines. All these are toxins you’re putting in your body.


What are some of the risks involved in this unhealthy office lifestyle?
If you look at Heart & Stroke research that just came out, diseases that were considered aging diseases are becoming the norm for people in their 20s and 30s: Things such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes. A lot of folks aren’t getting enough physical activity, and thereby gaining more weight because of the unhealthy food that they’re eating. It’s a vicious cycle.


What are employers doing to improve employee wellbeing?
The first thing employers can do is recognize that health is so crucial to how their organization per­forms. Don’t order crap that you don’t want your employees to eat, because it’s going to get them sick and they’re going to be on drugs, and they’re going to be taking off time for sick leave.


Why keep them at a high stress level when you can give them flexible days, and you can give them the opportunity to go for a brisk walk on a nice day? Why not implement strategies to maintain as opposed to bashing health?

 
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