Workplace wellness is not only a perk for big companies anymore. Instead, it has become a common workplace practice for supporting healthy behaviors across small and medium-sized companies as well.
But, what are workplace wellness objectives? Companies need to take several actions or objectives, such as providing healthy food options through on-site kitchens, naps, on-site fitness center, yoga classes, wellness challenges, etc, to encourage a holistic approach to the wellbeing of the employees and create a healthy corporate culture.
Employees are spending most of their days at the office. Healthy and happy employees are the keys to a successful company. Workplace wellness is designed so it can improve the overall well-being, the physical and mental health of the employees. Well-made wellness program helps in the prevention of injuries and illness, and thus reducing absenteeism and health costs, as well as increasing the productivity of the employees because of their better health.
Creating workplace wellness objectives takes time since they are the ones that need to create awareness for healthy habits, develop healthy practices, provide education, and create environments for support.
Every company is different and needs to understand the evolving needs of the employees so it can create a healthy environment tailored for their personal and professional growth. Also, to retain and attract the most valuable talents in the company.
Although some of these actions require more resources and some can be quite cost-effective, make sure to include more options from which your employees can choose.
Investing in an on-site fitness center with workout equipment takes a lot more resources, but is an exceptional addition in the activities for promoting workplace wellness. Building a fitness center might be considered as one of the oldest options when creating a wellness program. Employees can use the gym during their breaks, or whenever they feel the need for working out, in the morning or in the afternoon.
This will help the employees to move away from their desks, during working hours, change the surroundings, and get more active. All of this will improve the productivity of the employees. Also, offering a free fitness center on-site will relieve the employees of having to pay monthly memberships somewhere else.
Since building a gym on-site costs a lot, and not every company can afford that, the company can offer certain vouchers or discounts from particular fitness centers to encourage the employees to exercise and get active.
A lot of companies are implementing yoga classes or practicing mindfulness in their company’s culture. Yoga and meditation are exceptional ways of reducing stress. Also, they are an effective way of incorporating self-care during work hours, especially for team members who often deal with overtime and deadlines.
Implementing these practices don’t cost very much since you can ask an employee that practice yoga to hold a class, or find an app for mindfulness and gather a group to participate in the session.
One of the most important requirements for holding a yoga class is space. That can be easily resolved by using the break rooms or conference rooms. Team members can have yoga classes a couple of times per week.
Start by promoting healthy eating in the workplace, and stock up the office kitchen with healthy snacks, protein bars, seasonal vegetables, and fruits. Promote healthier lunches during meetings, instead of simply ordering pizza.
The usual lunch break is 30 minutes, which means most of the employees eat fast food, so they can more free time for some other activity outside the office. A lot of companies are having a top-notch kitchen with specially catered lunches for the employees throughout the whole working day. Another option is to use the services of restaurants that deliver healthy foods directly into the office.
Providing healthy food as part of the workplace wellness program is appealing to every employee and is benefiting everyone. At the same time, the cafeteria or the designated space for lunch is presenting opportunities for interaction between employees from different teams.
Companies can hire nutritionist part-time or occasionally to offer free advice on healthy nutrition. Helping the employees to learn how to eat healthily, can improve their overall work-life balance. The nutritionist can help the employees fulfilling their nutrition goals, which supplements to take, what’s the best water intake, as well as discuss different topics regarding energy levels, allergies, sleep, etc.
Wellness challenges are health and fitness challenges, set with the sole purpose of promoting healthy behaviors amongst the employees. These wellness challenges can be great incentives for active participation in workouts, drinking more water, etc.
These challenges can help to create a healthy culture, motivating the employees to improve their habits, stay hydrated, as well as interact with other employees.
At the end of each challenge, you might offer some kind of prize, such as a few hours off, cash prize, a donation to a certain charity, healthy products, etc.
Another interesting incentive is encouraging the employees to nominate certain coworkers who find them healthy and active, for a monthly wellness award. This award might encourage most of the employees to be more physically active.
Google is one of the companies that recognized the need for having a massage therapist in their offices. Having regular massages help in improving blood flow, relieving stress, preventing injuries, better productivity, etc. At the end of the day, you will have relaxed and calm employees motivated to work better and harder.
Also, at Google, very often, coworkers give each other “credits for massage”, when the other person showed exceptional results or done a very good job on the project. Then these credits can be redeemed for a massage.
If the scope of the company’s work allows that, make sure to offer flexible working hours or remote working. When employees are allowed to plan their working hours, they can easily avoid the morning commute to work, which will reduce the stress levels. Flexible hours offer the opportunity for having better work-life balance. For example, flexible hours can be used for going to run in the morning before work or leaving early from going to a yoga class.
Working remotely or from home will allow the employees to stay at home whenever they have a need for it, whether they have a sick kid, or need to go to a doctor’s appointment.
Encourage the employees to use alternative transportation means, such as taking the bike to the office, or some discounts for using public transportation. You can even buy a certain amount of bikes, which can be used by the employees on a daily basis. Of course, you need to have a dedicated area for parking bicycles. Employees will have the opportunity to exercise and at the same time avoid the busy periods in the morning.
Most of the employees sit all day at their desks, which can be very bad for their posture and overall health. Invest in ergonomic furniture - chair, standing desks, mats, monitor holders, etc. Standing desks allow the employees to stand while working and improve their posture. Ergonomic furniture not only improves the health of the employees but also increase their productivity. (we created a related article - 25 Desks Your Office Needs for Health & Wellness)
Having health assessments in the office from time to time allow the employees to check their overall health, detect disease or potential risk factors, and learn what to do as a precaution. By offering health assessments, your employees can avoid health issues in the long-term, like discovering high blood pressure, or high cholesterol which can put them at risk for a heart issue.
Several innovative companies such as Facebook, Asana, etc, are having specialized nap rooms, that allow the employees to have a power nap, and fill their batteries. Since most of the companies have flexible work hours, employees can have a nap and then return to their tasks feeling refreshed.
We have all felt an after lunch slumber, and different employees use different ways for recharging. Some of the employees will use the nap rooms, some will go for a walk outside the office building, some will just stay in a quiet room and hibernate. For improving the productivity and mental wellness of the employees, find out the ways that people prefer for energizing.
Usually, people who smoke have more health problems than coworkers who don’t. At the same time, they cost the company more money because of health issues. A lot of companies offer programs for employees who want to quit smoking. These programs can consist of lifestyle coaching, pharmacological assistance, etc.
Creating wellness newsletter is a very cost-effective option and it is providing useful information and tips to the employees on how to reduce stress, nutrition tips and how to eat healthy, physical activity, fitness exercises, etc. also, you can ask the employees to contribute by writing articles or distribute the newsletter.
Another cost-effective option is to offer free wellness/health books, so your employees can learn how to better their lifestyle by living healthier.
The main purpose of a wellness program is to promote healthier lifestyles and encourage the employees to be more active and eat healthily. When employees are healthy, they have a lot more energy and improved concentration. These factors help employees to have better productivity and they will be prone to having fewer accidents due to not being tired, overweight, stressed, out of shape, etc.
Increased employee’s health means fewer health costs for the company. The company won’t have to pay as much for sick leaves due to work-related injuries, mental health, or some other health problems, as well as pay for high health insurance premiums.
Check out a related Open Sourced Workplace Article - Reduce Stress and Anxiety at Work - Not Your Average Stress and Anxiety Relief Products
With a good wellness program, companies can reduce absenteeism by 50 percent. Healthy employees don’t take time off work very often. The well-planned wellness program also helps the company to prevent presenteeism - this is when employees come to the office even though they are not capable of doing their job properly. The number of people who come to work and wait for the day to pass by so they can go home due to some sickness is very high.
A well-designed wellness program helps employees to feel that they are cared for and supported at work. Different initiatives such as health screenings, fitness exercises, nutrition tips, programs for managing stress at work and outside work, etc., help in creating positive behavior toward the company. Happy and healthy employees work harder, are more efficient and are more open to collaboration with other coworkers. On the other hand, unhealthy employees are unhappy, fatigued, and sluggish, which will ultimately affect their job
Company loyalty is an intangible asset that is priceless. When the company has loyalty from its employees means that all costs related to new recruitments, training, and overall turnover can be reduced. Also, it means that the company has a positive culture, and the employees are motivated to do their tasks with top-notch efficiency.
Employees help to build a great corporate brand and image. Employees who feel appreciated by their employers want to stay in the company for a long period. Having a great wellness program can help in creating a great culture full of devoted employees. When employees are happy and healthy, their performance and productivity improve. All of this contributes to retaining the best employees, as well as attracting top talent.
What is a corporate wellness program? A wellness program is well organized and coordinated plan with the sole purpose of promoting healthy lifestyles and enhancing the physical, mental, and emotional health of the employees. The wellness program is an addition to the benefit of having health insurance. A well-designed program can offer different types of incentives, social support, tools, and strategies for maintaining healthy behavior.
This program usually consists of several activities such as nutrition tips, proper exercising, in-house fitness center, in-house yoga classes, discounts for gym memberships, programs for quitting smoking, health assessments, educational seminars for improving the overall health, etc.
How to create a corporate wellness program? Creating a corporate wellness program is not an easy task, and it can be very complicated to design and implement. (We created a related article - 150 Employee Wellness Program Ideas (Why You Need an Employee Wellness Program))
There are a few steps you need to make while creating the wellness program:
1. Talk with your employees - One of the most important steps when creating a wellness program is to talk with your employees, and gather information on what they need most. When they are included in the creating process, they will feel much more appreciated and you will be on a path of creating a successful wellness program. Start off by having team meetings for brainstorming, sharing a thought, sending surveys to get opinions from people who want to stay anonymous, and launching a vote.
2. Make sure your wellness program align with your corporate brand and image - For a wellness program to be successfully implemented it needs to be a crucial part of the company’s culture. This means that the wellness program needs to align with the company’s mission, vision, and overall brand. Make sure that supporting the wellbeing of your employees match with the thoughts of what you stand for as a company.
3. Creating a program - Give a thorough thought in what type of wellness program you’ll create, and how that program will match your brand image. You need to choose how many options to include in your program according to your employees' preferences. For example, including a yoga class, or implementing counseling several times a week for the employees that are stressed or feel anxiety.
4. Measure the results - You need to choose tools for measuring the results of your program. For example, set your goals and use them as a benchmark to measure the success of the program. Then try to collect as much feedback as you can all the time by giving multiple options to your employees to share their thoughts about the program. Keep an eye on metrics such as days of absence, sickness, etc.
What are the benefits from wellness program from an employee perspective?
- Improved personal wellbeing and health;
- Taking preventing measures for reducing the risk of appearing chronic disease, like diabetes or heart disease;
- Reducing the costs regarding personal health and care;
- The body will be less prone to injuries or illness’
- A better company culture that will motivate and encourage the employees to be a better version of themselves;
- Improved productivity and performance;
- Increased levels of job satisfaction;
- Employees are more willing to make changes to improve their personal health.
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