7 Ways to Promote Health and Well-Being in the Workplace
Wellness programs are actually a much smaller investment than many brands realize. In fact, research indicates that promoting health can save money over the long run. Studies by Buck Consultants have found that cost saving is a primary motivation for 74% of companies with wellness programs in place, and secondary benefits can include improving productivity, reducing sick days, and retaining workers. The logic is simple: Employees in great health are better able to perform better in their role, and are less likely to suffer health issues that require days out of the office.
Here are some expert suggestions on how you can promote a corporate culture of proactive well-being, on a variety of budgets:
1. Pay for Preventative Care
While the cost of bringing in staff to provide flu vaccines to each of your colleagues isn’t low, it can drastically reduce the number of sick days taken each winter. As Alan Kohll points out in Forbes, "not only will an onsite flu shot clinic save company dollars, it will also decrease absenteeism an loss of employee productivity caused by the illness." Regardless of whether the shot is included in your company’s health care package, providing the service on-site can increase the convenience of signing up for the service.
2. Incorporate Integrative Medicine
It’s clear that stress has a significant impact on health. Organizations which include more than just physical fitness in their well-being initiatives often see larger changes among staff. Ways to promote behavioral, not just temporary changes, include on-site farmers’ markets, smoking cessation counseling, and assistance lines to provide confidential advice to employees.
3. Make Well-being Convenient
Employees with convenient access to fitness facilities are more likely to use them. Many top-notch business parks offer these facilities as a part of the lease agreement, so you may seek these out when locating your next office space. If you don’t have the option of moving, consider designating an area of your office building as your company fitness center. As a last option, if you don’t have the space for a dedicated fitness center, you may offer memberships to local gyms as a part of employee benefits. Even a discounted rate can increase employee interest in fitness.
4. Provide Healthy Meal Options
If your company provides a cafeteria for employees, healthy options can easily be exchanged for the current offerings. While the food may cost more at the outset, the investment is well worth the cost. Companies that do not have cafeterias may consider offering meals during the day as a benefit for hard-working team members. In addition, you can also offer discounts and gift cards to health food stores instead of the usual fast food or chain restaurant prizes.
5. Promote Health Education
Sometimes your employees just don’t know how to be the healthiest they can be in the time they have each day. With work, families, and extracurricular activities, finding time to be active and seek out better eating options just doesn’t seem possible. By bringing in educational speakers and chefs for special classes, your employees can learn how to leverage the time they have for better health. You can also allow fitness classes during the day, such as tai chi, yoga, or even aerobics.
6. Make Downtime a Priority
Employees can’t give 100% all the time without soon experiencing fatigue and mental distress. By giving relaxation time during the day, you give your team members a chance to recuperate, rebuild focus, and attack again with even more fervor. Employees can use their downtime for a brief powernap, fitness classes, a healthy snack, or just conversation with friends.
7. Don’t Forget Mental Health
Physical well-being is certainly important and often overlooked, but overall health includes mental, social, and behavioral disorders, too. If you don’t offer counseling services for your employees, you may want to consider beginning a program. Keep in mind that unmanaged stress and mental exhaustion can lead to much bigger problems in the long run, such as heart disease, sleep deprivation, anxiety, high blood pressure, and depression.
Many health initiatives are expensive to implement, but the benefits far outweigh the cost. Before you discard any of the above ideas, consider the potential pitfalls you could face. In addition to lower productivity, you could also face high turnover as employees seek out bigger, better, healthier employment options. If that cost is too high, consider making steps toward better health in your office today.
Image Credit: Shutterstock, Ella Olsson, Shutterstock,