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Over the past couple years the Douglas County District Attorney's Office has been moving toward a more health-conscious environment, led by District Attorney Ryan Leonard. The initiative started with providing DA's Office employees with healthier, heart-healthy options at potluck lunches and office events. "Years ago I would be made fun of at office events for eating fruit or salad while everyone else ate macaroni and cheese and pecan pie," Leonard said. "Over recent years an increased number of health-conscious employees have helped me subtly introduce healthy options into traditionally unhealthy events like Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations," Leonard said.
Last December Leonard offered to purchase standing desks for any employee that wanted one. So far over 20 employees have accepted his offer. "Being aware of the health benefits of standing desks such as a decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and joint pain, I used one in my office for the past four years," Leonard said. "In December we had a surplus in the budget, and I saw an opportunity to reward my employees and make their lives healthier at the same time."
In addition to starting the New Year, employees of the Douglas County DA's Office challenged themselves to eat and work healthier in 2019. A commitment to living a healthier lifestyle appeared to become contagious. The DA's office started a new movement. They called it the "New Year, New Us" movement and launched a "Biggest Loser" weight loss challenge which divided office participants into teams to compete over which intra-office team could lose the highest percentage of body weight. The participants have lost over 100 pounds combined so far this year.
One employee from the DA's Office was supportive of the change. "I am so grateful that Mr. Leonard decided to invest in the health of his employees," Kelly A. Favor said. "Receiving the standing desk has been amazing for me with increased energy, clarity, and no pain from sitting all day and now at the end of the workday, I have more of myself to give to my family at home."
Another employee embraced the change. "At first I didn't think that I wanted a stand-up desk," Tonya Corbin said. "I would hear some of my co-workers talk about the back problems they had sustained in the past and that it was hard on their backs to sit all day and standing was better for them." Corbin still wasn't convinced that she would want a stand-up desk because she didn't have any of those problems. "My problem was that I didn't move," Corbin said. "I enjoyed being able to sit down; so when we got the opportunity to get the desk, I figured I would get it because I would be able to sit down with it anyway."
"The Douglas County District Attorney's office is a wonderful place to work despite the stressful nature inherent in the job," employee Valerie V. Vie said. "To have an Administration cognizant of the importance in creating a healthy workplace is simply amazing."
"I feel privileged to work amongst people who care about the health and well-being of others," Cristin Olivo said. "The biggest loser challenge and the opportunity to have standing desks have not only encouraged positive habits, but it has brought a greater sense of unity to the office."
While visiting offices in the courthouse, Douglas County Board of Commission Chairman Romona Jackson Jones, noticed the ergonomics of the District Attorney's office and thought it was extremely wonderful. "As a healthcare professional for so many years, I really enjoyed seeing the office staff enthusiastic about their health," Chairman Jones said.
Pictured: DA's Office employees are enjoying their new standing desks