I have been working in the Human Resource Department for several years now, and one thing I have learned throughout the years is the importance of implementing wellness activities for the employees. These initiatives enable the company to reduce turnover, attract top talent, and boost employee productivity and morale. These are some of the upsides you can expect if you make a conscious effort in improving employee wellness.
What are workplace wellness activities? Wellness programs refer to initiatives which help employees to make smart lifestyle choices to make sure they stay healthy while at work. These activities vary from physical activities, nutrition, mental wellness, as well as co-worker relationships.
The good news? You don’t have to pay for it for some lofty and expensive wellness initiatives. As a result, we have broken down 26 workplace wellness activities which you can consider implementing in your office. Let’s check them one by one.
Some employees take the Human Resources Department for granted. In reality, however, this department is the main proprietor when it comes to implementing wellness activities. What you can do in the company is to utilize the functionality of the HR department and work hand in hand in creating a financial fitness campaign for your employees.
This is a campaign which can improve your employees’ financial handling. The goal of this initiative is to help them identify their personal financial goals, discuss the road on how to reach this, and give access to resources and tools which may improve how they handle their money more responsibly. After all, the financial health of an individual has the same weight as that of their mental and physical health.
The financial fitness campaign can also be an avenue to introduce the different types of investment strategies. It includes insurance, stocks, bonds, and many more. Taking part in these investment strategies will also diversify your employees’ profiles, which will make them more financially secured in the future.
The only time that employees feel the need to conduct physical check-ups is when the company hires them for the first time. Basically, they are just doing it to comply with the requirements of their job. After that, they neglect the need of seeking the said check-ups and never get another one as the years pass by.
The problem with this is that they do not know whether their health is deteriorating by the day or not. Hence, this is where a health screening program may come in. It can be an avenue for them to have them tested for a variety of health disorders and problems.
The health screening process may include checking the employee’s blood pressure, bone density, cholesterol levels, glucose levels, hearing, Hemoglobin A1C, mammography, lung spirometry for asthma, COPD, and cotinine. This initiative can be conducted every year or a rotational one depending on their departments.
A lot of companies tend to forget to address their employees’ problems on their physical and mental wellbeing. They only spearhead activities which are connected to the improvement of the operations and leave out initiatives which can help manage the overall wellbeing of their employees.
With this in mind, one program you can take part in is the integration of a health coach in the company. Some individuals tend to read online or watch videos regarding their physical and mental state. However, this technique cannot offer a guaranteed solution. The only way that they are going to learn about the ins and outs of handling their overall wellbeing is to consult a health coach. The main job of the health coach is to guide individuals in terms of making healthier choices in life.
These choices encompass several fields - food, finances, exercise, social life, and so on. Health coaching is not just going to give you temporary choices. It conducts integrative health coaching, which will enable your employees to slowly improve their decision-making skills and create long-lasting changes to their health behavior.
In short, health coaches help your employees improve their lifestyle and teach them how to maintain this even after they have left the company.
Most companies often overlook the establishment of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). EAPs are extra services which should be integrated into the company’s business operations. Often, employees have a lot of stressful things going on in their lives. In some circumstances, these problems are not related to their job at all. They may be stressed from family problems, substance abuse, psychological disorders, and many other more.
It is essential to set up an EAP in the office so that the employees will have an avenue to air their distress. It is a way for the employees to get help should they be experiencing any kinds of psychological issues. If they don’t have spaces like this, the tendency is these problems might be a hindrance for an excellent work performance from them. It will generally affect the performance of the company as well.
If a company truly cares about the physical wellness of its employees, it is crucial to make these onsite initiatives accessible and readily available. Studies show that workers are less stressed on the job after having an opportunity to exercise.
However, the problem with this is that not a lot of people have the time to go back and forth from the gym and the office. Other individuals also say that they have not experienced proper fitness practices, so they never attempt to do it on their own.
The best part of having an onsite fitness class is they do not have to travel far away to get avail the services of gyms. Employees can exercise either before or after work. If your business is operating on a flexible time setting, they may also opt to exercise in between work.
Employees can be guided on how to exercise properly if they have fitness classes readily available in the workplace. Being physically healthy will not only affect the image of their body but will also increase their confidence level. The more confident your employees are, the more productive they will be.
Ergonomics refer to a study of people’s efficiency in a working setting. Every company either has an over-productive or underproductive worker in some positions and departments. Since you are investing in your employees, through their wages, seminars, and training sessions, you have to ensure that the company is making the most out of your investment. Hence, the best approach for these issues is to assess the productivity of your employees, depending on their positions.
The main questions when assessing employee ergonomics are the following:
- Is their productivity and wages and benefits equal in values?
- Is there any other job position where you can place other employees so that they can be more productive?
- What can other physical changes be made to increase worker productivity?
Assessing these employee ergonomics is not only for the good of the business, but it also improves the engagement and overall well being of the employees. Every employee has a reason for not performing that well in their job - some might be bored while others are uncomfortable with certain work aspects. Either way, ergonomics allows you to place them in a better position, which will transform them into better workers and increase the overall company productivity over time.
You might feel that this purchase is just an unnecessary luxurious item. However, the truth is massage chairs relax people and can do wonders for your body. It can be useful to your employees, especially when they experience physical pain throughout the day due to stress. Massage chairs will relieve employees who are required to face the computer and sit down at a desk for 8 hours a day or those who work in construction all day.
You can set up these massage chairs in an empty room, which you can designate as a relaxing room. Or you may also opt to place it in the break room. Just remember to provide your employees with clear ground rules. These rules may include the maximum time of using it per day so that everyone can experience it, instructions on how to use it, and many more.
Newsletters are one effective strategy when it comes to providing various kinds of wellness content to your employees. Do not limit yourself to just a few articles. In fact, you can establish a permanent section in your newsletter that is purely devoted in posting these articles.
The articles can range from topics such as nutrition, exercising, healthy recipes, walking, running, etc. You may also survey your employees on what kinds of topics they want to tackle in these newsletters. Consolidate it and create content based on the results of the survey. This will ensure you are catering to the needs and wants of your subordinates.
Another tip for this initiative to be successful is to place these newsletters in the common rooms such as the break rooms or the pantry. They can read them just in case they are on a meal break or want to kill time. Allow them also to take the newsletter home whenever a topic appeals to them. This way, they will be able to follow the wellness advice in the corners of their home.
One of the best ways to keep your employee morale at a high is to inspire them with employee success stories which they can relate. If they are having a hard time on something, try to post real-life success stories related to this. If they happen to read a person’s story battling and hurdling an issue they are also facing; the tendency is that they will also be motivated to try to achieve the same kind of success which was presented to them.
Some topics which you can bank on include corporate promotions, sporting event wins, weight loss, productivity hacks, or anything which will tackle an employee’s overall wellbeing. Collect as many stories as you can from your employees and tell them to make it as detailed as possible. Make them submit some proof as well to make your articles more credible.
For example, if you are tackling physical transformation, what you can do is to ask for a before and after photographs which will visually show them the gravity of this success story. After collecting these, you may publish them in your company newsletter, post them around the office, or share them through email marketing.
Showing appreciation for the efforts of your employees may motivate them to go the extra mile. It will definitely be a significant boost to their mental wellness. This wall of fame does not necessarily have to be connected to workplace productivity. You can also place challenges related to their health and wellness.
Perhaps you can create a challenge for your employees to reward the person with the most weight loss in a month or two. Just make sure your challenges are something the majority of your employees can take part in. As more pictures get posted to the Wall of Fame, more employees will be encouraged to try their best so they can get their names added on it.
To make this initiative smooth flowing as possible, make sure to provide instructional materials that are comprehensive and easy to understand. You may opt to release them through your monthly newsletter, email, or a memo.
Another strategy that you can use is to create sports teams of their choice and spearhead sport and recreation events once in a while. This is a way to mix fun in a professional kind of setting. It also enables them to make sure that they have a work-life balanced through playing sports that they are passionate about.
These recreation teams can also be the ones you can tap whenever there are corporate sporting events. Although these events are outside the professional work setting scope, companies like to collaborate in spearheading such activities to advertise their products and services or to simply add some spice and fun into the lives of their employees.
What some businesses do is they create their company competitions internally, and the winner from these will be the ones who will represent them in the corporate sporting events in the area. This way, the employees will also have the motivation to the best that they can in winning.
Water is essential for everyone to be able to house a healthy mind and body. Hence, it is the role of the employer to provide fresh, safe, and clean water at all times. There are different ways on how to go about this. You may have water jugs placed at the corners of the office, or you may provide them with bottled waters in bulk cases.
No matter what system you will choose, make sure that you will be able to sustain this initiative properly.
According to research, the United States is a snacking capital of the corporate world. Recent data shows that 91 percent of the employees in companies eat snacks multiple times a day.
However, what employers offer to their workers are the traditional, unhealthy, and low-quality office vending machines. This includes snacks ranging from candies, chips, sodas, and other food loaded with saturated fat, chemicals, and sugar. Aside from crashing energy and derailing productivity, these snacks also put a toll on the physical health of the employees in the long run.
To promote wellness into your employees, the role of the employer is to find a way to encourage a healthy snacking lifestyle. There are several companies which offer services that provide healthy snacks to offices. They usually give curated boxes of better-for-you snack options which positively impact your team’s overall nutrition. These snacks do not contain the usual sugar and fat content offered by other food.
Do you know the natural effect if you grant access to our furry four-legged friends? It’s higher productivity, less stress, and increased collaboration. This is backed up by one study spearheaded by the Central Michigan University. They found out that the mere presence of dogs in the office makes it easier for the employees to collaborate with other people.
What’s critical about this initiative, however, is the proper implementation itself. We do not want to resort in an office with a dozen of loose dogs which disrupts the business operations. To avoid this kind of situation, some companies opt to have an aquarium or a playroom where the employees can leave their dogs when they are working and play with them when they are free.
A variety of studies have released access to nature results in increased sociability, lowered stress, and increased energy levels. Being outdoors helps soothe a variety of mental illnesses, which then boosts job satisfaction. Aside from this, this kind of setting also provides improved physical wellness such as lowering blood pressure and many more.
What you can do to bring the outdoors to the inside is by creating a green space atmosphere inside the office. You may place potted plants on the tables, create lush vertical gardens, or put glass walls overlooking a garden.
If you want to establish an initiative which will cost you next to nothing, building walk or bike paths may be the best for you. All you have to do is to have your field or open space placed with markers which will be the path.
These walk or bike paths are placed for employees to have a space to clear their minds if they are stressed. They can also use this during lunchtime walks or as an avenue to hang out with their co-employees.
One initiative that can be integrated with this is to hand out cheap pedometers so the employees can track their movement and steps. You may also opt to buy a selection of bikes which they can use for free inside the work premises during their breaks.
Tea is a drink which relaxes the mind, body, and soul. Drinking this beverage will enable your employees to forget the stress they are getting from their work. The best thing to do is to host a regular short tea break. Encourage every employee at least to have a 20 to 30 disengagement from work and enjoy the aroma brought about by tea. It is also a way for them to recharge and be able to provide higher productivity.
Make sure your employees receive the best tea time experience. This can be achieved by offering a variety of flavors to them. Here are some of the best ones with their corresponding purpose:
Rooibos - It is known as an adaptogen, which helps increase the body’s resistance to stressors. Its antispasmodic properties also help address digestive discomforts.
Mint - Perfect for those who are always feeling sick in terms of digestion problems or nausea. It also relieves the headaches which are associated with menstrual cramps.
Green - Green tea is composed of catechins which have antimicrobial actions. They are proven to inhibit blood pressure increase and lower cholesterol levels.
Oolong - This is recommended for those who are trying to lose some weight. Oolong is also known for its antioxidant properties.
More and more companies are now open to the idea of ditching the traditional company dress code. If you are still not on board with this, ask yourself what the reason behind implementing this policy. Yes, the usual answer is to establish a form of office etiquette, but sometimes, this hinders your employees from being productive.
For example, would it be a big deal if someone wears jeans to work or color their hair bright? We think not. Other companies only impose the dress code policy if they are in a professional gathering such as big company events and sales meetings. However, if they are only working on desks in the office, you might want to reconsider allowing them to wear what they want and what makes them comfortable in the first place.
If you are still hesitant into eliminating this traditional policy, why not consider at least implementing a casual day once or twice a week. It can be a space where the workers can let loose away from their formal attire.
Believe it or not, there had been a recent shift back towards cubicles. This work environment sometimes annoys workers due to the feeling of lack of privacy. Although this setting is a plus in terms of easier collaboration with co-employees, there is also a downside to it that people lose their focus due to the lack of privacy. Not everyone is an extrovert which can handle people surrounding them at all times.
To be able to address this problem, the best way to go about this is to establish a quiet space where they can do their work peacefully. Employers should confirm this room should have a library vibe. Whether it is just a portion of the corners of the office or a dedicated small room, there should be a clear signal for everyone to respect this space.
According to studies, approximately 50 percent of the workers are afraid to speak their mind at work. The reason for this is that they are scared that management would discriminate them if they are to give negative feedback. They do not want to experience this kind of repercussion.
With this in mind, you should try to establish an anonymous employee feedback system which will enable the employees to provide honest and constructive feedback on whatever company issue they want. It is also beneficial to the company since you will have a solid basis for improving your operations.
You may use digital onhand surveys, such as SurveyMonkey or Officevibe, or you may place physical suggestion boxes where they can drop their feedback.
Are you aware 28 percent of new employees quit within the first 90 days of work? According to these people, the reason for doing so is they do not know what they are doing. It is where the lack of mentorship goes in. If they have someone to consult with any time, through having an established mentor, it would be easier for them to adjust to the new culture of the company.
Sometimes, as simple as posting positive signages in the office can boost morale and improve the mood of your employees. Some things you can post can range from your mission, and vision statements or motivation quotes from famous personalities. It can serve as a motivation for those who are feeling the work pressures in the office.
Some companies look beyond the postings. As an additional initiative, they decide to place a blank wall on the office corner where the employees have the freedom to write their own motivational quotes. This is also another way to empower themselves and their co-workers.
You don’t have to pay for an instructor who can lead the class. What the employers can do is to offer a large conference room and set up their own yoga classes. To start, you may opt to project Youtube yoga videos and let the employees follow the instructions provided by the video.
Yoga helps in promoting a balanced development of the physical, mental, and spiritual aspect of an individual. This exercise recharges the body with its cosmic energy, promotes self-healing, provide greater self-awareness, reduces tension and stress in the physical body, and removes negative blocks in the mind.
The best way for the employees to be more engaged with the wellness programs of the company is to develop a rewards system. For example, employees can earn points from accomplishing or completing some wellness challenges.
Once they have accumulated enough points, they may opt to exchange this with tangible prizes such as exercise ball chairs, adjustable desks, or any healthy office gear that they can use to improve their wellness as well.
To provide the best prizes for your employees, you may survey what kinds of rewards they are interested in. This will increase their involvement since they are interested in the incentives.
If you want to promote a healthy lifestyle among your employees, you can achieve this by setting up a make-your-own-smoothie bar. Buy a selection of vegetables, fruits, nut milk, and protein powders alongside a blender. You may set this up in the office break room or the office pantry.
You may encourage your workers also to bring healthy toppings such as coconut flakes, low-sugar granola, or chia seeds to add to their delicious smoothies.
It is essential to highlight the importance of remote work. It will enable your employees to be at a space, such as inside their own houses, where they will be most comfortable to work. This can also be a way for them to catch up with the lost time with their own families.
With this, consider implementing specific days for employees to have their remote work days. It can be an opportunity for them to have a breather from the office setting and a change of pace to improve their worker productivity.
What are the steps in planning your employee wellness program? There are several steps on how to go about this. It starts with involving the employees in the planning phase to ensure that they are on board with this. Then, create a budget for the program. The third step is to promote these initiatives comprehensively. Lastly, ask for feedback every time an initiative has been completed. (We have written 10 Evidence-Based Ways to Boost Employee Wellbeing that may provide additional ideas)
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