Workplace wellness programs are a growing workplace trend is quickly becoming a corporate standard across the nation.
We see Google doing it. Adobe, Southwest Airlines, and every corporate culture leader out there seems to focus on employee wellness. But why is that?
To understand that, we need to understand what workplace wellness really is.
Why Workplace Wellness Matters
Most experts agree that "Wellness is a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of well-being."
This can be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social or financial. The best companies I see out there are implementing a little bit of all of these facets of wellness into their employee wellness programs.
Who cares about workplace wellness?
Some of you may be thinking that this is great and all, but your employees' social well being is really no concern of yours. Well I beg to differ. Everything in an employee's life has an effect, positive or negative, on their work performance.
Let's look at a negative example of corporate wellness: Let's say Sally is very financially stressed at the moment. She can't make ends meet and is worried about losing her house if she can't get a handle on her bills. Will Sally's mind be on her workplace responsibilities and trying to provide the best service for your customers? Or will Sally be mentally preoccupied worrying about buying groceries and making sure her lights stay on?
Now let's take a positive example of corporate wellness: Bob has struggled with smoking since he was 16. Deep down he's felt like a failure since he's tried to quit on his own three times with no success. Through a smoking cessation program at work, with the support from his coworkers and a solid program, he was able to finally overcome his addiction. How will Bob feel about himself? How will those feelings of empowerment and improved self esteem be reflected in his work performance?
I hope you can see my point here. Anything in an employee's life will affect their work performance. Divorce, heart health, finances, anxiety, eating habits, stress. Anything in life, positive or negative, will affect your employees at work.
The cost of the un-well worker
Now that we understand wellness, it’s makes sense why successful organizations out there are so focused on helping their employees enhance their individual wellness. We know healthy employees with lower stress levels are far more productive than employees who are under a lot of stress. In fact, it's been proven that stressed employees actually cost more to an organization; DOUBLE to be exact.
Implementing a wellness solution within your business is a fun and interactive way to help decrease the overall stress of the people who work for and with you.
Additional benefits of employee wellness
Two words: employee retention.
You want to keep your good employees around. Hiring and training new people takes time and money. If you take good care of the employees you have, they will stick with you. When employees feel valued and part of the team, they are loyal to the company. Employee loyalty is crucial to the success of any business. You need a team who is on your side and who believe strongly in the mission, and this will happen naturally if people feel valued and taken care of.
4 Workplace Wellness Ideas That Really Work
With so many options out there these days, it’s hard to choose which ones will best suit your business. Here are some of the favorite wellness solutions for small businesses.
1. Employee health fairs
Providing valuable information to your employees through a health fair is always a good idea. This gives you an opportunity to get everybody up to date on all the current health information. Insurance information, vision/dental plan information, nutrition plan guidance, relaxation techniques, and much more. It’s usually most beneficial to run a Health Fair during business hours so the employees will attend.
Make it a fun, stress free environment where the employees get to step away from their desks for a bit and let loose.
Newsletters with helpful health tips and articles is a great way to start off each week! Motivate your employees to make healthy choices throughout the week.
2. Monthly wellness allowance
Instead of (or in addition to) implementing a full-on wellness program, you may want to consider offering a wellness allowance. This gives your employees a way to do the things they love, activities that make them feel well, and it's easy on the administrative side for you.
Yoga classes, massages, and running shoes and races fees are all excellent examples of things that can be reimbursed. This just might motivate people who would otherwise not join a gym, or get a massage, or take up running. Whatever it may be, your employees are sure to thank you for helping them out.
3. Fitness tracking tools
Wearables are awesome, aren't they? I mean, I can see how many steps I take, how many calories I burn, and how much sleep I am getting. There are so many choices of workplace wearables to choose from, but there whatever route you go, the employees who get on board are always stunned by what they learn, and the positive results that come from using a device like this.
All that data also makes for some pretty sweet competitions, which leads me to my next idea...
4. Corporate wellness challenges
Who doesn't love some fun competition? We do! And we created a great list of employee incentive ideas to reward these achievers as well. People are more likely to get involved in healthy life changes if they are not alone.
Some people just need the motivation of a group, or a challenge to step up to! So start a health challenge in your organization and light a little fire under them. Some people just thrive on that "healthy" competition.
Here are a few of our favorite corporate wellness challenges:
Challenge #1: Nutrition
Stocking the office break room with healthy snacks for the employees to munch on throughout the day is an excellent way to be a positive force for good in your employees' lives.
For some people, this will be the only real healthy food they are around any given day. And they spend 8 hours a day in your organization! Just think about how much of a positive change that can bring about in the lives of your team.
Not to mention this benefits the company as well. If your employees are eating nutritious foods instead of filling up on junk food, they will likely be more productive. You can help them avoid that afternoon sugar crash that leaves employees sluggish and unmotivated, which is also great for the bottom line.
Challenge #2: Weight loss
Who doesn't love a good Biggest Loser competition? Many organizations see the benefits of these competitions in really kickstarting a healthy lifestyle for their employees who need that extra help getting there. Not everyone is motivated by competition, but the ones who are really get results in a challenge like this!
Challenge #3: Walk-a-thon
We've seen a lot of companies experience some very successful results with walking programs. Get the team a few pedometers and log their steps. This gets people motivated to move more at work and at home. If you want a challenge that doesn't pit people against each other, you can have employees compete against themselves with goals based on their current level and reward all who meet those goals.
Build your workplace wellness program one step at a time
Simply making a few changes in the workplace can drastically improve morale. Start small. Don’t get overwhelmed in trying to change everything at once or you will burn out and quit. Pick one thing to implement and see how it goes. Test it out. Find out just how happy you can make your employees, and your organization as a whole.