2013 Healthiest Employers: POLARIS Laboratories®

Tom Harton
August 15, 2013
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winner OR finalist 100-499 EMPLOYEES

logo-polaris-168.gifPOLARIS Laboratories®, a fluid analysis firm located on the northwest side of Indianapolis, is preparing for a move—and using that move as a springboard to better health for its 155 Indianapolis-based employees.

When POLARIS Laboratories® employees move a couple of miles away to their new headquarters building this October they’ll find more than a new workspace. They’ll also have access to a fitness center being developed in the building, and it’s a fitness center they helped create.

Miriam Posluszny, the firm’s human resources manager, said the company has been surveying employees to find out what kinds of fitness equipment they want in the new fitness center. American Health & Wellness Group helped the company identify core groups of equipment that are needed and then asked employees to help with final selections.

Once employees are trained on how to use the facility they’ll be able to take advantage of the latest advancement in a culture of wellness that started to develop when the company was founded 14 years ago. Several employees, including two of the owners, have or had relatives who also worked for the company, so there’s a great appreciation at POLARIS Laboratories® of how a wellness program can benefit entire families.

Fresh fruit, filtered water and involvement in community fitness events were there from the beginning. Then came indoor bicycle racks and a basketball hoop. In the past year POLARIS Laboratories® partnered with an outside vendor to bring the program up to full speed and get more measurable results. Personal web portals to help employees track their progress and to learn about diet and exercise tips were part of the upgrade, as are one-on-one sessions with a health coach and monthly wellness seminars held on-site and on company time.

Wellness tools such as cooler bags, reusable water bottles, pedometers, a biweekly wellness newsletter and posters are all easy to spot at POLARIS Laboratories®. The cooler bags are meant to encourage employees to bring their lunch to work rather than go out for fast food. A common lunch spot for those who want to get away from the office is the salad bar at a nearby grocery, Posluszny said.

POLARIS Laboratories® also offers healthy snack options, such as trail mix instead of brownies at office meetings, and food prep stations throughout the office. It’s all part of the firm’s focus on creating a healthy culture, which means a full range of options to learn about exercise, nutrition, stress, blood pressure management, diabetes and smoking cessation.

The firm’s nine-member wellness committee is in the midst of planning a walking program with incentives designed to keep employees active in the winter months. But before the snow flies a team of 20 POLARIS Laboratories® employees will see if they’re strong enough to move a commercial airliner. POLARIS Laboratories® is participating in the Plane Pull Challenge, an event benefitting Special Olympics to be held near the old Indianapolis airport terminal.

While some teams are all about winning the competition, Posluszny said the diverse group that will represent POLARIS Laboratories® is more focused on simply having fun and working together. “We’ll be really excited if we get the plane to move,” she said.

It’s that same spirit of fun and fellowship that motivates the POLARIS Laboratories® softball team. “We are sometimes lucky just to win a game,” Posluszny said, “but it provides an outlet for physical activity.”•


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  1. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

  2. I sure hope so and would gladly join a law suit against them. They flat out rob people and their little punk scam artist telephone losers actually enjoy it. I would love to run into one of them some day!!

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