A great emphasis on employee health and wellness has emerged in the past decade or so, and for good reason. Besides providing health and wellness support simply because it is the right thing to do, healthy and happy workers typically perform better, have fewer sick days and report increased job satisfaction. The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress explores the necessity of corporate wellness in their article “Tips to Optimize Wellness in the Workplace.”
One organized way in which corporations and organizations are promoting health and wellness is by instituting corporate wellness programs. Corporate wellness programs highlight potential efforts that an organization can adopt to enhance well-being among its employees. In 2017, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported in a press release titled “CDC: Half of Workplaces Offer Health/Wellness Programs” that a government survey found that almost half of all U.S. worksites offered some form of health and wellness program. This is a trend that is growing and appears to be here to stay, which is a good thing with over 156 million Americans working full-time and, therefore, spending most of their daily waking hours at work.
Where to start
If you are ever able to create and promote a workplace wellness program, remember to set employee well-being as the founding basis of corporate efforts. Let’s consider these top four tips to build a well-utilized and effective program:
- Include employees in the process. Often the people working day in and day out in a particular workplace will have a much better idea of what they might need to work and feel better, so be sure to ask for that constructive input. The primary focus should be on advocating for work satisfaction and employee engagement in healthful behaviors. Identify what factors are most important for them in supporting their physical, mental and social well-being. Be open to suggestions regarding services and opportunities to which employees appear to be receptive.
- Offer relevant services for all main health aspects. It’s important to have services available that address relevant physical, mental and social needs. A diligent effort to let employees know of these services and how to access them is also critical.
- Physical: Consider offering services beyond a basic healthcare plan. This might include offering access to chiropractic services or other healthcare professionals that can help employees better understand how to stay healthy. Creating an on-campus gym or workout space can be very helpful, especially if employees are allowed time to utilize it during the workday. Alternatively, creating a company culture that encourages an occasional brisk walk around the block or regularly hosts health classes can also be beneficial and boost morale.
- Mental: Counseling services can be a crucial outlet for stress. Meditation and yoga groups can also prove helpful. Implement courses designed to reduce workplace stress and allow for mental health days as appropriate. Flexible hours, if possible, can also serve to relieve outside pressures for employees.
- Social: Create physical spaces that foster an inclusive spirit where people can gather (i.e., a modern water cooler scenario). Promote team-based activities, such as a wellness challenge or an interdepartmental social. A casual café area or other meeting space is also a good avenue for people to spend more time together face-to-face and engage in meaningful conservations on a regular basis.
- Promote positivity and provide small incentives, if possible. A wellness program will probably not achieve desired outcomes if employees feel forced into participating or if they will be punished in some way for not participating. Here at Life University (Life U), we base all our faculty and staff learning and wellness opportunities around the concept of Lasting Purpose and a spirited service mindset. Offering small incentives and branded SWAG items for participation in various campaigns has also yielded positive responses.
- Imagine what is possible given your infrastructure and budget. A little bit of intentional creativity can go a long way. Is there a space in your facility that could reasonably be repurposed into a café, meeting place or gym area? Are on-site food service options healthful, nutritious and appealing?
Start small and utilize existing resources as a starting point. Life U offers a comprehensive wellness program, Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT). CIT is a multi-part training program that cultivates basic human values as skills for the purpose of increasing individual, social and environmental flourishing. Visit compassionateintegrity.org for more information.
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