There are several reasons that an employer should care about the wellbeing of his or her employees. These reasons extend from benefits to the business to truly caring about the people that have been hired to do great things for the company. When people spend at least 8 hours a day at work, the question arises as to how to encourage employee wellness. In some cases, wellness at work is the only healthy living a person will get. Promoting wellness is key to having healthy, well-rounded employees.
How do you promote wellness in the workplace? Offer employees programs such as weight loss help, smoking cessation assistance, or general life counseling. The promotion of wellness programs is a great start to developing a healthier staff. Just knowing that help is available when he or she is ready will help to encourage an employee to live a wellness-centered life.
Implementing wellness programs will aid employees in a variety of ways. There are also changes that can be made around the office to inspire lifestyle changes. Employee wellness will benefit both the company and its workers. However, even with the obvious benefits, a quality company will feel a deep responsibility to its people.
Employee Wellness Programs
When it comes to wellness, people most often think of physical fitness and healthy eating. While these aspects are large parts of wellness, there is much more to it. Wellness also extends to emotional, social, and financial well being. Developing programs and encouraging better habits when it comes to the specifics of wellness is the beginning of a quality wellness promotion.
Many companies offer programs to assist employees with their physical wellness. Although it might be a wonderful perk, promoting physical wellness does not necessarily mean your company should build an on-site gym. You might arrange a discount for a local gym membership or create company-wide challenges with activity monitors or smart watches.
Other programs that help employees with physical wellness would be to bring needs to the office. For example, you might arrange for flu shots to be provided at work or offer healthy snack options. Rather than having a vending machine with sugary items or potato chips, consider providing fresh fruit or yogurt.
It is also important for all employees to be educated on physical wellness. Ask a health professional to come to the office for a short class a couple of times each year. Staying up to date on current information can inspire people to do better. Classes might include information on eating right or exercising. It’s also a good idea to explain to employees why their wellness is of importance.
Having a bi-weekly yoga session in the morning hours can be an optional event for employees to take part in. Not only does yoga improve physical wellness, but it helps to better emotional wellness as well.
Emotional wellness is an important aspect that employers should invest in for employees. Having emotionally adjusted employees benefits employers in a variety of ways, but many companies wonder how they might be able to help.
A simple way to encourage emotional wellness is to promote meditation and breathing exercises. There are apps like Headspace that teaches the process of meditation via guides and videos. Since the app requires a monthly subscription, a company could absorb the cost in order to have more emotionally well employees.
If paying for an app would be too much of a cost, an alternative would be to bring in a meditation expert for a brief class. Paid company retreats allow for more meditation time as well. If something that extravagant is out of the budget, maybe short massage sessions from qualified massage therapists can help employees to decompress.
Maybe allowing a mental health day of sorts would allow employees a bit more time to decompress. While a full missed day of work can crush productivity, allowing employees to work from home when that isn’t the norm will allow them to skip the commute and deal with fewer people on days they feel the need to be more alone.
If possible, allowing remote work per the employee’s discretion can help emotional health in a number of ways. Working from home often allows employees the chance to get away from the stresses of the office without missing a day of work. While many positions make this possible all days of the work week, others might need to make an appearance in the office a few days a week. Creating a policy for this type of destresser will allow for better wellness.
Another option would be to ensure that employees have a good work-life balance. Sometimes people have a hard time turning their work-mode off. This allows stress to creep in at all times of the day. By allowing employees to take real, undisturbed days off work, their emotional wellbeing will be much better off.
For situations that are not necessarily work-related, having insurance that covers counseling should be a priority. Many companies also offer in-house or contracted counselors. There are sometimes even phone numbers that a stressed-out employee can call to speak anonymously. Providing an outlet for employees that don’t have any other way to let it out can be instrumental in good emotional wellness.
Social wellness is related to the ability to communicate with others and establish lasting relationships. While a lot of companies expect employees to communicate well before being hired, there is something to be said about a company that invests in the quality of social interaction.
Social interactions might come easily to some people, but others have to work at it. Even then, communication and relationship building skills can always be improved. They are creating a team that is well-communicated benefits both employees and employer in various ways. A company can promote social wellness by encouraging a sense of teamwork.
Teamwork allows employees to feel more connected to their coworkers. It often helps to develop a true support system and network in which employees feel they belong. Having a culture that is based around the team is ideal for social wellness in all employees.
Building that culture can be helped along by having regular group interaction. For example, in addition to the year-end holiday party, create social interactions between coworkers by having a monthly networking event. Employees and their families might enjoy going to a baseball game, having a BBQ in the park, or even going bowling.
For communication and relationship building in between company-wide activities, try having comfortable and plenty of seating in the break room or other areas. This will encourage employees to eat lunch in the building, leaving more time to converse with coworkers.
Those that do struggle with building relationships can benefit from company provided training. While it can be difficult for an introvert to accomplish some of the tasks needed to become great at social interaction, it is often worth the training. By including all personnel in training and not singling certain individuals out, a sense of inclusivity can be established.
Establishing financial wellbeing is another aspect of an employee’s wellbeing that an employer should promote. Learning how to manage our own money is often a difficult task for employees. Many people are thrown into adulthood with no prior knowledge of how to handle bills and their income.
Having an employer that is willing to teach or bring someone in to teach personnel about personal finance can go far in financial wellness. Many credit unions offer this service for free. There are often a variety of classes to choose from, including retirement, investment options, and building credit to name a few.
Encouraging employees to use a budget will help to eliminate some stress from their lives, thus developing financial wellness. In order to promote the use of a budget for personal finance reasons, an employer might share budgeting worksheets with their team. Another, possibly more attractive option, would be to introduce employees to popular budgeting apps. There are both free and paid options that employers can recommend or even pay for.
With a variety of options, a company can find the correct mix for their own group to promote wellness. While these options will help employees in their personal lives, it is important to understand the benefits of wellness to the company. It is great for staff members’ personal lives, but it can be harder to see exactly what it does for the business side of things.
Benefits of Wellness to a Business
Understanding why the overall wellbeing of a company’s employees makes an impact often helps employers to become an advocate for it. While it often seems like simple human decency to care about others, there is, in fact, more to wellness.
Perhaps the most obvious advantages to promoting wellness in the workplace is the ability to draw in new candidates with a great benefits package. Those in the talent pool are often looking for what a company can do for them. Motivated individuals are looking for long term jobs with benefits packages that indicate that they plan on keeping their employees on board for the long haul. A lacking benefits package does not inspire good workers to stick around for long.
Another common benefit is the added work that a company can get out of an employee when he or she is healthier. A staff member that it at a healthy weight, eats well, has little stress and/ or emotional health concerns, work well with others, and are financially stable are often the ones that a company wants to keep around. This is because people that are aware of wellness often take less sick days and stay employed for longer.
A person that is healthier will likely do better work, as well. This is because these employees are often more able to focus and get more done in a shorter time period. The quality of his or her work will also be of a higher caliber. Productivity levels will soar with a staff that is focused on their wellbeing. On the other hand, without the promotion of wellness in the workplace, productivity levels will suffer.
Promoting wellness often allows companies to pay far less in healthcare costs. In fact, one source says that every $1 spent on wellness programs saves $3 on healthcare costs. Even if the bare minimum is done to promote wellness in the workplace, changes in the lives of employees can be made. For many companies, that is benefit enough.
Implementing a wellness program will also create higher company morale and great culture. Morale not only makes people feel good, but it keeps turnover rates low and recruitment levels high. It makes an impact on the success of the business, therefore allowing employees to truly love their jobs.
Wellness programs also create a sense of family within the company. It makes employees feel as though they matter to their employers. Rather than just filling the positions with a warm body, the business has hired a living, breathing person with needs and feelings. Seeing employees as people allows corporations and big companies to retain a quality workforce.
As it has been made apparent, promoting wellness in the workplace will allow companies to have better employees overall. From recruiting to attendance, the potential and current staff members will find that the work they do is more productive. Wellness will improve in all aspects when employers put a focus on the topic.
Physical, emotional, social, and financial wellness are facets that can ultimately improve if employers were to give a push. Employers might do this to better productivity levels or improve attendance, but no matter the drive behind it, the employees’ lives will be better because of it. Promote wellness in the workplace!
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What is needed to allow employees to work remotely? While this ultimately depends on the work, many positions can be taken elsewhere with a computer and a company phone. Some computers might require VPN (virtual private network), which provides security with internet usage and other aspects of the company network.
Is creating a fitness center on site worth the cost? Depending on the size of the facility, creating a gym can be a pricey undertaking. It is also important to consider if any insurance needs would arise in case of injury on site. However, if there are no gyms nearby, providing a few treadmills, stationary bikes, and weights can go a long way.
How do you get employees interested in group outings? In most cases, employees will be willing to spend more time with coworkers for two reasons: free food and free entertainment. Expecting employees to pay their own way for what is essentially a more relaxed work environment would not interest many people.