Workplace wellness is any program that aims to improve the health of your employees and their families while reducing your health-related costs as an employer. Many companies implement comprehensive wellness programs that focus on preventive health and lifestyle modification. This means encouraging employees to focus on key health behaviors such as increasing physical activity, improving eating habits, reducing stress, and ceasing tobacco use.
Wellness programs are linked to greater productivity, less absenteeism, and a reduction of long-term health care costs. To ensure the health of your workforce, here are eight ideas to bring your company closer to wellness:
- Promote preventive care. Bring vaccination to the workplace for flu season. Encouraging and even funding vaccinations for employees has one of the clearest returns on investment. When your employees avoid the flu, they avoid missing out on days, if not weeks, of work.
- Encourage exercise. Turn your office into an active campus. If you can make changes at your facility, consider offering covered, secure bike parking for commuters. Or encourage the entire office to use the stairs.
- Emphasize education. Brown bag luncheons or break-time seminars are prime opportunities for helping employees learn more about healthy habits. Recruit speakers to lead sessions on cooking healthy meals, staying healthy while travelling, or quick stress management skills.
- Bring the doctor in. On-site health clinics give employees the opportunity to schedule office visits for routine care without taking time off work.
- Invest in incentives. Employee incentive programs offer rewards—financial or otherwise—for employees who engage in healthy behavior.
- Hone hunger options. Offer your employees healthy meal and snack options that help fuel their performance while also meeting their nutritional needs.
- Be mindful of mental health. Unmanaged stress has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep trouble. At the workplace, it can lead to inefficiency, job dissatisfaction, and absence from work for related health conditions. Consider offering an employee assistance program for employees who have financial troubles, excess stress, or depression symptoms.
- Recommend behavioral resources. For some employees, a few work-based activities may not be enough to make lasting change. In these cases, coaching and disease management programs may be the way to go.
If any of these ideas appeal to you, it may be time to take a step in the wellness direction. The main tenants of a workplace wellness program are awareness, education, and behavioral change. Try focusing on just one of these to start. If it’s successful, try another idea a few weeks later. If, after a few trials, a wellness program seems right for your company, consider a comprehensive program. This article has a quite a few ideas you can explore if you’re interested in starting a wellness program at your workplace. (Image via Shutterstock)