The workplace is an important setting for health protection, health promotion and disease prevention programs. On average, Americans working full-time spend more than one-third of their day, five days per week at the workplace.
While employers have a responsibility to provide a safe and hazard-free workplace, they also have abundant opportunities to promote individual health and foster a healthy work environment for more than 159 million workers in the United States (Accessed US Bureau of Labor Statistics April 12, 2016).
The use of effective workplace programs and policies can reduce health risks and improve the quality of life for American workers.
Maintaining a healthier workforce can lower direct costs such as insurance premiums and worker’s compensation claims. It will also positively impact many indirect costs such as absenteeism and worker productivity.
To improve the health of their employees, businesses can create a wellness culture that is employee-centered; provides supportive environments where safety is ensured and health can emerge; and provides access and opportunities for their employers to engage in a variety of workplace health programs.
In the modern workplace, corporate wellness programs are becoming more important for retaining top talent and improving employee performance.
From offering healthy snacks and fitness classes to adding scooters and mini trampolines to your office, there are plenty of choices for what wellness activities to include. It’s important to note that your program doesn’t have to be all about fitness. Allowing flexible employee scheduling or telecommuting can work wonders for employee wellness, too.
Helping your employees stay happy and healthy will lead to a more engaged and productive workforce, as well as reduced absenteeism and better overall performance. It’ll help your bottom line as well. As noted in Inc, businesses can expect an average ROI of $5.81 for every $1 spent on employee wellness.
Whatever you choose, you’ll be sure to reap the benefits of implementing your workplace wellness program.
Here are 3 reasons why an employee wellness program makes sense:
(1) Increased engagement and productivity
It’s in your best interest to ensure your employees are healthy and less stressed. They’ll be more engaged and productive at work, which translates into improved employee performance.
(2) Employee retention
Who wouldn’t want to work at a place like Mobify that offers free lunchtime yoga classes? Recruiting and retaining top talent is always a challenge and a strong employee wellness program is just one more advantage in your toolbox.
(3) Better health
The main benefit of an employee wellness program is healthier, happier employees. Encouraging employees to make their wellness a priority can have far-reaching benefits. In her book, Next-Generation Wellness at Work, Stephenie Overman notes that a robust smoking cessation program at Union Pacific Railroad helped drastically bring down the percentage of employees who smoked — from 40% in the 1990s to just 17% by 2007.
While cost cutting is certainly helpful, it only makes up one part of the equation. Less quantifiable benefits such as “enhanced morale, higher employee job satisfaction and less absenteeism and presenteeism (at work but with a lack of focus or productivity)” are also important to consider.
Related reading: A Systems-Based Approach to Holistic Health and Wellness Employee Programs: Boosting Productivity, High Performance, Employee Engagement and Profits
9 Wellness Activities to Incorporate Into Your Corporate Health and Wellness Program
1. Throw a monthly healthy potluck
The lowest stress, easiest-to-plan celebrations come in the form of the classic potluck. Everyone helps, everyone eats, and no one has to do a bunch of crazy cleanup. A feast of this size would be impossible for just one person to throw.
Exactly how easy are potlucks to plan? Well, you can “plan” one this very second.
Just create a sign-up sheet with 2 columns (one for a name and one for the food item). Add a date and a location at the top and then post the sheet to the fridge in the main break room for people to list what they’re bringing.
You can even give your potluck a theme to make it easy for people to decide what to bring and also to make sure all the dishes have something in common. (Although there’s nothing wrong with a delightfully random assortment!)
2. Order in lunch for the office, especially during crunch time on big projects.
Reward your team for putting in the extra hours by ordering in lunch for them. Stick to something healthy of course – salads, wraps, Mediterranean, or a taco-salad bar or all good options.
3. Show your employees how they can improve their health
Bring in a specialist who offers biometric screenings and health assessments, and more importantly, can give people a roadmap to improved health.
If you find someone willing to spend some of their precious time at your office, be sure to make the process as easy as possible for them. Have an outline or a list of questions ready so the person knows what they should cover. (And of course, a thoughtful thank-you present is certainly in order!)
Most practicing physicians don’t make office visits. Here are some tips for finding a health expert to come to your office:
- Work your network! Does anyone in the office have a doctor in the family?
- Consider fitness experts you know. Yoga instructors, gym teachers, personal trainers, and people in similar roles often have a strong command of basic fitness and nutritional needs.
- Contact your local public health office. Many of these offices have people dedicated to public education.
4. Incentivize smoking cessation
In a study conducted by The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Wharton School, employees who were financially incentivized to quit smoking were 3 times more successful at ditching the habit than non-incentivized employees.
5. . Celebrate “Wellness Wednesday”
Dedicate hump day to try out any of the ideas on this list. This is a great tactic if you have an office that is set in their ways or otherwise resistant to change. One day a week seems much more manageable (and less overwhelming), and can be a gateway to healthier lifestyles.
Wednesday is great because it’s in the middle of the week when employees usually experience a bit of a lull.
6. Help combat eye strain
Staring at a computer for hours on end can take a toll on your vision. The blurred edges of computerized typeface force your eye to constantly focus in and out for hours on end, which can lead to headaches and fatigue.
Here are a few of our favorite tools to help prevent eye strain.
- Flux adapts the color of your screen to the time of day.
- Time Out reminds you when to take a break.
- Pangobright is a free utility for Windows that dims the light on your screen according to your preference.
7. Survey your employees to find out what is working and what is not
Don’t waste time and energy on corporate wellness initiatives that employees don’t find engaging or beneficial. Use Survey Monkey or Google Forms to create a survey to collect feedback from employees.
Creating programs to deal with each level of human mind- behavior produce results. The science proves it. If you’re not sure how, I have options. You’re always free to CLICK HERE and start a conversation with me about how a holistic systems approach can best help you and your team be more resilient, more productive and in harmony… and help grow your business!