As part of the Human Resource team in the company, I witness a lot of employees experience burnout. In this cutthroat digital era, more and more workers experience the constant pressure. These individuals tend to check their work emails regularly and continuously come up with plans to move up the corporate ladder. At some point, everything will be too much to handle.
So, how can corporate wellness programs help address employee burnout? For most people who prioritize work above all, finding time to look after their health seems nearly impossible. Over the years, companies and organizations have taken notice of this. Many experiments have already been done to prevent the eventual burnout. One of these innovations is the implementation of corporate wellness programs. These are programs designed to improve the health of employees.
It takes a holistic approach in encouraging employees to subscribe to healthy habits and follow a healthy lifestyle. Bringing work home, working on weekends, and even pulling all-nighters to finish their tasks are just some of the harsh realities workers are facing today. Work–life balance remains just a concept that can still be far from reach for the typical employee. We have written a detailed article, “25 Problems with Social Media in the Workplace (Employee and Employer Adverse Effects),” which tackles how social media overuse can pose problems in the workplace.
In this article, we will be exploring the importance of corporate wellness programs, from its benefits to examples that your company can adopt as well. We will also cover how technology can help in this process.
Corporate wellness programs provide different benefits for both the employees and employers. Below are some of these benefits.
Perhaps the most expected benefit of corporate wellness programs is an increase in worker productivity. Several studies have shown that when you put a premium on your workers’ health, you will see the difference in their outputs and performances. Employees finish their tasks more efficiently because they are more motivated to do it. Engaging in physical activities can make them more energized and happy. Consequently, the number of absent workers in a month or a year lowers as sick days also lessen.
In line with this, the company will incur fewer health costs. Although many companies have been skeptical about the importance of wellness programs at the beginning, implementing one has yielded excellent results for many companies, even financially speaking.
As employees enjoy the freedom to follow their healthy habits, the company is also earning more due to their increased productivity. Moreover, the number of office-related injuries also minimizes, given that employees participate in regular physical activities. Indeed, starting and sustaining a good wellness program is an investment all companies should prioritize.
Engaging in activities outside of work serves as a social experience for a team. Being stressed from work has been one of the top contributors to health issues for employees. It has been such a typical instance that it has become a norm, and usually, this stress comes from working with others.
Sometimes, the load gets too heavy that you get consumed by all the things you need to do all at once, and you can’t help but project that stress to others, creating friction with your workmates. Wellness programs seek to prevent situations such as this.
By subscribing to these programs as a team, employees can find the time to talk to their co-workers more about their own lives. It can be helpful as workers can understand their co-workers’ situations better—why they reacted like that, why they weren’t able to do this task, and other things that they usually can’t and don’t talk about during work hours.
Undergoing a wellness program also translates to others. Once a person is energized and happy in doing their work, this also influences others. Happiness is contagious, and so is motivation. Once people find the time to focus on themselves, their energy also gravitates positively, especially if all of your team members can share this experience.
Undergoing a company wellness program together makes for a shared experience that everyone can always remember. Doing this also boosts the morale of the team and also improves the current work culture.
Lastly, a good employee wellness program is successful if it has attracted and retained more employees. Higher job satisfaction equates to easier recruiting of new employees. It also amplifies through the employees’ word of mouth stories.
People don’t need to advertise anymore for their company just because they were told to do so. Instead, promoting their company would be merely sharing a happy experience to others. In this aspect, satisfaction from work is not only a figure in an annual report that seems foreign for the employees but also a tangible reality seen and experienced through the employees’ lifestyles and behaviors.
Although it is a good jump-off point for companies to increase work productivity, you should carefully plan your corporate wellness program. It must be created for your own company, implemented effectively, and monitored regularly. A corporate wellness program should be tailor-fit as companies differ from one another.
Choosing a wellness program should start with considering the realities of your work situation. What are your company's goals? Which aspects should you focus on? What resources do you have? These are just some of the basic questions you need to ask in your company before committing to a wellness program. Challenges will arise sooner or later, and they could stem from different situations. Sometimes, participation rates drop, and the chosen corporate wellness program is not sustainable enough for the employees to commit to in the long run.
Many factors determine a successful corporate wellness program, and big and small businesses alike have succeeded in implementing their own. Whether it be small or big steps, one activity can go a long way if executed right. These activities are enumerated below and categorized according to the financial resources a company has.
These programs require only a minimal cost. As such, these activities capitalize on the company’s policies and culture on starting their wellness program.
First of all, wellness programs won’t succeed if it is not widely accepted by many. People should practice welcoming this concept with open arms because they will be the ones to benefit from it in the end. Do away with the stigma around it and encourage each other to be healthier. Avoiding the sedentary lifestyle takes the effort of the whole company to succeed.
Maximize the different messaging channels your company has. Promote healthy eating habits, fitness updates, and other relevant information by sending newsletters or even posting a thread in your local online groups. Just make sure that the data is accurate and consulted with experts as much as possible. You can also make use of bulletin boards for physical promotions. Sharing information can be an effective way to sustain wellness programs in the long run.
One of the easiest and cheapest strategies out there is engaging in short physical activities throughout the day. It can be quickly done by walking around during breaks, taking the stairs, or even doing some light stretching from time to time. What’s important is that you can refocus your energy into something else for a short while to break the monotony at work. Doing this is particularly useful for people working in desk jobs where their eyes are usually glued to their computers all day.
Incentives are always a good idea to boost performance. In this case, you can reward employees whenever they achieve something from your employment wellness bucket list, such as an activity tracker or walking challenges. In this way, they will take it more seriously, and monitoring their progress will also be more efficient.
If possible, you can also implement flexible work hours. Several countries are already practicing it, and it showed excellent results, especially in increasing work productivity. Providing flexible work hours can be a step closer to achieving a work–life balance for many employees. In this way, they can also engage in their hobbies and other activities that can stir them away from work even for just a short while.
Let’s take it a notch higher. These strategies are still easy to implement and would require only a small budget. Nevertheless, these activities make use of your network and the local opportunities around your worksite.
Instead of going to the nearest fast-food chain for a quick lunch break, employees should enjoy a healthy bowl of food in their canteen. Time is of the essence here, especially for those with regular work hours. The least the company can do is to provide an accessible place for their employees to eat a balanced diet at least three times a day.
If possible, encourage biking as much as you can. Biking has many benefits that go beyond the employees using it. Aside from the help it provides to your body, you can also beat the traffic and help the environment as it has less carbon footprint than taking a vehicle. Imagine doing that three times in a week, a month, and, eventually, a year.
Nothing can equate to the feeling of someone supporting you. Support is critical, especially for company clubs that do not have regular operations and meetings. Ultimately, work still comes first, and extracurricular activities like this only come second. Thus, it is essential for club members to feel the support for them to continue doing what they’re doing. This support can be in-kind by linking them to other people who can join the club or conducting activities to raise funds and support the club’s advocacies.
Aside from physical activities, it is also important to cater to your employees’ mental well-being. One way to do this is to create recreational activities for workers to enjoy. Allow them to explore their hobbies and make time for it. Working nonstop for years can be repetitive at times, so it will be good if they have at least something to relieve their minds from their workload.
Another way to create more experiences with your teammates is to go out together and schedule a day or two in a week for “me time.” You can meditate at a workmate’s house, attend Zumba classes, or jog around the park. Make use of what you currently have and maximize the opportunities around you.
Lastly, high-cost strategies require a hefty amount of money. These kinds of activities are usually planned out ahead of time as these will be a considerable investment for the company. The following are some examples:
One of the oldest tricks in the book is providing a space for your employees to unwind and exercise. Fitness centers serve that purpose well, but on-site centers that are a walking distance from your office make it even better. They are useful for companies that demand regular work hours from their employees since most of them can be too preoccupied with the things they need to do for the rest of the day. By doing this, employees need not look any further, and they can be on-the-go for the gym whenever they want.
Perhaps one of the best ways to teach the importance of maintaining a wellness program in the company is by implementing and following a well-planned, tailor-fit education program for everyone. Here, you can give them a brief background of why wellness programs are essential, along with some of the things they should do with their teams and the policies and incentives your company has come up with. This activity strongly reinforces the need for employees to abide by these programs.
“Wellness Wednesdays” can be a reality for all of your employees if done right. Some of the activities that you can include in this program are the following:
- Sports Festival
- Fitness Challenge
- Free Paramedical Services
- Scavenger Hunt
You can modify these activities to meet the needs of your employees, so make sure you have the right data to start with in the first place.
Hiring your own company’s psychologist can be a step higher in providing quality service to your employees. Health involves all aspects of your well-being, and your mental health is not an exception. If you’re dealing with high-stress situations all the time, it is only advisable for you to consult with a psychologist at least once so that it won’t snowball into something more sever later on.
“It takes a village to raise a child.” This famous saying can also be a metaphor for supporting a wellness program for your employees. One way to reinforce your plans is by extending this to your employees’ families. Inviting them during forums or fairs is one way for them to be more knowledgeable about what they should also observe as a family. Having a reliable support system behind your back can be one of the best motivators of all time.
These organizations can be large non-profit organizations that seek to implement their advocacies for wellness to small Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. Teaming up with CSA programs can be an excellent opportunity for your employees to ensure what they’re eating is safe and healthy. At the same time, you also get to support the local farmers in your community.
Dealing with non-profit organizations can also be another way for you to get more insights, especially since they have a different culture. With this, learning can be more diverse, and ideas can be shared with other people easily.
These strategies are just some of the many other ways to kickstart corporate wellness programs. A low-cost strategy can be combined with medium- or high-cost activities as long as they cater to what your employees need. These strategies can be mixed and paired with other wellness activities to align with the mission, vision, and goals of your company to provide a more cohesive and well-thought-out plan.
Do note that not everything on this list may apply to your worksite, but all of them have their pros and cons that can help you decide what’s best for your own company.
Another thing to take note of is that wellness programs may not always have an additive effect. Sometimes, relieving them of work once in a while and giving them a free day in a month can still reap the same benefits as the additive programs.
The point is regardless of how big or small your company is and whatever the budget you have, you can already start your corporate wellness program. Work with what you have and what you can do until you find that perfect balance for your wellness program that will complement your company work culture.
If you want more ideas, check out our article, “150 Employee Wellness Program Ideas (Why You Need an Employee Wellness Program),” which offers splendid ideas to help you establish a corporate wellness program.
Today, top companies are already integrating wellness programs into their own work culture, which are made more accessible through technology. Using online tools allows better coverage in monitoring the wellness program of a company.
In recent years, there has been a surge of companies subscribing to online tools. They offer an easy-to-use interface and are cheap alternatives to wellness programs, especially for small companies that can’t subsidize their employees’ wellness activities.
Because of these benefits, online wellness tools are slowly transforming workplace health. The following are some examples of these tools:
Before different wellness tools online branched out, wellness platforms were the pioneers. Wellness platforms are web-based computer systems, much like a website that helps you facilitate and participate in a wellness program. (Check out our reviews of Corporate Wellness Companies)
Usually, it contains the necessary information that you need in all wellness programs: a health bulletin board on your homepage, relevant news articles, and studies that help support the activities in your applications. Some platforms even have a tracker of your progress.
Today, wellness platforms have changed their form since everything can be found in a much bigger platform: Google. Within a few clicks, you can already find hundreds of wellness programs you can do on your own or even read about the original studies that contain these tips if you want.
However, without proper implementation and monitoring, wellness platforms can only do so much. Thankfully, more advanced tools and technologies are already available so that you can be closer to achieving your wellness goals.
With a small investment, your employees can learn more about their health. You can do this by offering online courses for them. Educating them about their bodies and what affects them is always the first step in conducting wellness programs. Many online programs can be used, such as OpenSesame.
In sites like OpenSesame, a range of topics is available for you to choose from. These include smart eating, stress management lessons, inspiration and motivation boosts, and a lot of other related issues.
Another site that can help you is MindValley. MindValley is an up and coming personal development education company. It considers itself the most extensive online personal growth platform in the world, sharing content from world-renowned experts on dealing with yourself. They take pride in their curriculum that caters to the mind, body, and spirit, and it has already attracted 10 million students worldwide.
A cheaper alternative to subscribing to eLearning wellness programs is through webinars. WellSteps, another online service that provides short, specialized webinars, can help your employees take care of their health better. The slides and materials used in the webinars are also available for download afterward, along with its recording. With this, they can replay the webinar at their own home and still proceed with continuing their programs.
If this is still expensive, the most efficient way of doing webinars is for the company to host its own. They need to maximize the network that they have and invite speakers who can talk about a topic needed by their workers. In this way, it is more customized for your employees, and it can still be an open space for everyone to share their situations.
If you have the budget, you can enroll your employees in health management software such as Sonic Boom Wellness.
Sonic Boom Wellness promotes the optimization of the wellness programs by integrating on-site functions in a digital platform. This kind of software can also be used in desktop computers and even in your smartphones. It encourages active participation by gamifying its program. Rewards are obtainable once you accomplish a challenge or do it with a friend. Rewards can be cash or in kind, depending on what your company decides.
Another thing that Sonic Boom Wellness takes pride in is their hands-on consultancy services, which provide fast transactions with their partners. It can come in handy in the last-minute and surprise challenges that can motivate and excite your employees more.
One of the top corporate wellness providers, Fitspot has been recognized by many companies for its comprehensive digital workplace wellness program.
Claiming to be a “wellness solution revolution,” Fitspot encourages its members to do little activities as frequently as possible according to their schedule. It has on-site weekly workouts that you can program, and their content is updated monthly to help the employees decide on their next steps in the program. It highlights an extensive coverage spanning from healthy food recipes to emphasizing the importance of sleep and the presence of mind in whatever you do.
Companies known for using Fitspot are Tinder and SnackNation.
Another online wellness technology is Fitbit, which boasts a wearable technology that can monitor the wellness progress of your employees. The Fitbit One Wireless Activity + Sleep Tracker is a product of Fitness Corporate Wellness. Some of the information it collects includes the person’s fitness levels, sleeping hours, and the number of steps you take in a day. Knowing this information empowers the employees to decide on what they want to do now that they know their current status.
Another feature of Fitbit is that you can invite and challenge your friends to enroll in some of the programs it provides. This kind of interaction can help teams to be more active by allowing them to engage in friendly competition from time to time. Being in a community with your team and other employees who subscribe to Fitbit can also be more sustainable in the long run. It strengthens personal relationships, and the interface can accommodate these kinds of interactions.
3 Birds Marketing is a company that uses this platform.
These tools and technologies vary in their key features and the objectives they want to target. Corporate wellness programs, be it on-site or online, are valuable investments for a company.
What sets online wellness programs apart from their traditional counterparts is their digital interface, which helps run and track the whole wellness program more efficiently. Now that almost everything is up in the cloud, information is more accessible, and companies need to ensure that the information presented to their employees are the ones that they need.
Moreover, having it in your smartphones can also be more practical since they can easily see their progress, and updates are quick. Whenever you want to announce something, you don’t need to hold a meeting now and then to tell them about the things they still need to do. Instead, you can even give them the additional freedom to take matters into their own hands, empowering them to take control of their health.
The aspects of gamification and providing friendly competition among workmates are also great contributors to fostering a healthy working environment. As mentioned before, a healthy working environment translates to an increase in productivity. An outstanding corporate wellness program is a holistic process that puts the employees’ emotional, physical, mental, and financial wellness as their priority.
Indeed, making your employees healthy and happy remains to be the ultimate recipe for a successful business. If done right, the return on investment of corporate wellness programs would always outweigh its costs.
What are the top causes of employee burnout? Burnout does not necessarily result from overworked employees in pressure-packed environments. Instead, multiple stressors can lead to employee burnout. Some of these include unmanageable workload, lack of clarity of role, lack of support from managers, lack of communication between co-workers, and feeling of discrimination. We have written a detailed article, “15 Ways Your Office is Giving You a Headache,” which explains the top 15 factors that cause headache at work.
What are the symptoms of employee burnout? Your employees may exhibit the following symptoms when burned out: increased errors in work, low levels of motivation, reduced efficiency, constant irritability, fatigue and headaches, and reduced energy.
How would I know which corporate wellness program to implement? Admit it: you can't implement all the corporate wellness programs mentioned above. With this in mind, you have to prioritize. Coming up with the best decision should depend on your company's realities. First, you have to check the history: Which kinds of programs worked? Which did not? Then, you will have to ask your employees which ones will uplift their spirits as well. Make sure to consult them with your plans so that they can assist you with your decision-making.
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