by JAMILA YOUNG
Businesses and jobs have a big impact on people’s lives. The location of a business could determine if people are willing to travel to it, whether it be the distance, or if it’s located in a high crime area, or what the parking situation for the business is. Various factors play into what job someone applies for, such as its proximity to their home, the pay rate, and benefits, and even its co workers and atmosphere.
The Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce Health and Wellness Council held an information session where the director of health for the Bristol-Burlington Health District, Marco Palmeri spoke to business owners about the correlation between business and the quality of life in their communities, as well as what his job does to help his employees’ quality of life, and the community, and ways for other businesses to do so.
“We’re a sub-committee of the Board of Directors of the chambers of commerce. We meet monthly; what are ways we can add value to the business community from a health and wellness perspective?” said Health & Wellness Council Co Chair, Chris Boyle.
Palmeri has been in local government for 34 years. As a director of health, his job is to keep the community safe by doing things such as regulating food, public swimming pools, making sure housing is clean and livable for its tenants, and since public school nurses are employed by the Health District, he also makes sure that emergency preparedness and disaster response are ready to go.
“I didn’t know how extensive, the variety of things that they do; the fact that they take care of any complaint that comes in,” said Julie Clark, CEO of Nikken, Natural Health & Wellness.
“I thought they did more administrative work,” said Carleen Limmer, Associate of SendOutCards. “Very eye opening information.”
Palmeri said businesses should invest in their employee’s health by offering to pay for immunizations, and removing sugary drinks and snacks from the vending machines. They can also celebrate milestones like birthdays, and add in some type of recreation to keep their employees wanting to come back to work.
“There’s so many intangibles for keeping employees healthy and happy; having that birthday party or things like that really make a difference,” said Boyle.
“We don’t want to have the business community suffer as a result of quality of life of their employees, and those in the community,” said Palmeri. “We want to make sure that the business community knows that the government is your partner, we’re here to help. If there are some issues that are affecting your operation, let us know. Don’t consider us just the enforcement agency that’s going to scrutinize your business. Consider us as your partner in a lucrative and prosperous business. We can help; we can help with some of the simplest issues that aren’t often associated with government.”