By Rachel Miller
Those familiar with an office workplace, or any work environment for that matter, know that task lists are commonplace. They act as foundational pieces to company productivity; encompassing goals and reflecting company values. I was greeted with a task list of my own on my first day interning at Wellness Corporate Solutions. On it, “do a headstand” sat comfortably at the bottom of the list. It was at this moment that my views on office life turned upside down, and apparently, I wasn’t far behind them.
My task list also included project work such writing the WCS Portal Blog posts for the month of January, creating recipe cards, gathering educational resources for health coaches, accumulating research studies regarding diabetes coaching programs, presenting this research, and listening in on coaching calls whenever there was an opportunity.
Wellness Corporate Solutions (WCS) is a part of UMD’s dietetic internship program technology rotation. Not all interns get to experience WCS’s healthy and active workplace in Bethesda, MD. I am lucky to have the opportunity to be immersed in such an environment while working to improve the health of workers on a nation-wide scale. At WCS, employees are encouraged to move often and eat well. Such encouragements are supported by fun workplace outings to yoga studios, for example, but they don’t stop there. All employees are welcome to join in Salad Fridays and daily 7-minute workouts These are some of the ways WCS elevates energy levels and fosters strong work productivity. They aim to be a model for workplaces and their workers across the country. Walking into the WCS headquarters is like walking into your own personal gym. You will see treadmill and standing desks, weights, bands, and a pull-up bar. There are no excuses to not be active in this office and I love it! As they set an admirable example, they also try to positively impact clients in all different fields through biometric screenings, health education, seminars, health fairs, coaching calls, and much more.
During my time here, I’ve learned a lot from my assigned tasks and from the people I have met. I believe that working at WCS has taught me how to bring nutrition to life through writing, something I have always valued and want to incorporate into my dietetic career. Being a food blogger, I was excited to dive into writing blogs for WCS. What I didn’t realize is how much research and time it takes to develop the right voice to effectively engage readers. Coming out of my clinical rotation, I had to transition into a creative mindset. After jumping around from task to task, dipping my toes in to get a feel for what was expected of me, I found my voice in my writing again. I had stepped away from my food blog since starting the internship, but my work at WCS has encouraged me to jump back in with my new-found writing voice.
There is a lot of value in bringing nutrition to life through words. Our world heavily depends on social media. Its popularity continues to grow as individuals can “google” virtually any answer they want. I may not be able to control what information they find, but I can contribute accurate information to their search options. Content creation has a heavy impact on the face of nutrition and what people believe to be true. I want to be a part of the message that is being delivered to the public; making sure it is as accurate as possible to improve overall health outcomes across all populations.
In addition to blogging, I also learned about the research that goes into developing WCS coaching programs. The coaching programs at WCS sit on top a very solid foundation of research. They aim to provide their clients and their coaches with information from the most up to date and evidence-based studies. WCS eventually plans to develop a diabetes coaching program. A large part of this program’s development is doing research on aspects of other successful health coaching programs for individuals with diabetes, making note of these aspects, and then molding them to create a new program. I was asked to put together a resource list of evidenced based research studies and then present them to members of the WCS team. I enjoyed this task because it helped me focus on important aspects of certain studies and pull information that could potentially aid in the development of a future diabetes coaching program at the company.
During my time at WCS, I also listened to several coaching calls and had the opportunity to sit in on different meetings, interviews, and webinars. I really enjoyed this particular webinar for the health coaches that reviewed motivational interviewing and deconstructed how using client’s values could help them achieve their goals. This was a webinar that relied very heavily on participation, allowing the health coaches to share their personal client successes. It was a great learning experience to see motivational interviewing in action, helping to change people’s lives, and not just in a classroom setting.
Wellness Corporate Solutions turned my world upside down, literally and figuratively. I am excited that I see office life differently than I have in the past and that I have seen health and wellness content creation in action. Although I was just an intern, I feel like my work made an impact and that for 4 weeks I was part of the WCS team. I may not be able to control what individuals find on the internet, but I can contribute quality information, hopefully having a positive impact on more than one life.