Why is employee wellness so important? Wellness programs don’t just promote healthy behaviour, they also reduce absenteeism due to stress and illness, increase productivity, lower healthcare costs, and boost employee morale.
In a stressful world where depression and anxiety are increasingly common, wellness programs aren’t a luxury, they’re necessary.
It’s the responsibility of employers to create work environments that support health and well-being and ensure employees have the resources they need to set healthy goals and stick to them.
Companies are investing in employee health and wellness programs. Here's why your company should as well.
team members' wellness impacts the bottom line.
If having healthier employees isn’t reason enough for you, there’s plenty of evidence that workplace health and wellness also affects your bottom line:
- employee wellness is closely tied to employee morale, performance, and productivity
- corporate wellness initiatives attract and engage top performers, reduce healthcare costs, reduce staff turnover, and contribute to loyalty
- According to the CDC, workplace health programs can lead to 25% savings each on absenteeism, health care costs, and workers’ compensation and disability management claims costs
Employee wellness programs are mutually beneficial. From a business perspective, they’re a win-win: they’re good for employees and employers.
Regardless of size, organizations can incorporate wellness initiatives into their work culture. Create wellness challenges to encourage and inspire employees to carry their healthy pursuits into their personal lives.
Here are some suggestions for programs and initiatives you can implement in your workplace to support your employees so they can, in turn, support you.
create opportunities for healthy eating.
An easy way to increase healthy behaviours in the workplace is to encourage healthy eating. If your company holds a ‘snack day’ or potluck event, encourage everyone to focus on healthy foods.
If you’re providing food for meetings or lunch-and-learns, ensure there are healthy options, keeping in mind food allergies and nutritional requirements.
Invite employees to bring their lunch instead of eating out or ordering in. That means you must provide refrigeration and manage its upkeep and cleanliness.
If you do want to get out of the office, invite everyone to bring their lunch to the nearest green space; they’ll benefit from being together and eating healthily in natural surroundings.
By encouraging healthy eating habits, you can increase employees’ mental and physical health by ensuring they eat right and have that social connection during their breaks.
help employees stay physically active.
Research shows a sedentary life is one of the biggest threats to human health.
Encourage your employee's physical health by making them move more. If your organization doesn’t have a gym, arrange a corporate membership rate for employees at a nearby gym.
Encouraging physical activity can be as simple as launching a step or a ‘take the stair's day’ competition where employees log the number of steps or stairs they climb in a week.
Form a walking club where people don their running shoes and walk the neighbourhood a few times a week.
There are many health benefits to physical activity, and will improve employee health.
motivate team members to stop sitting around.
Many businesses are installing ergonomic standing desks employees take turns using to reduce the time spent sitting in one place. Some employees work while sitting or bouncing on exercise balls. Not only do they burn calories, but they’re more active and focus better as well.
Improve employee health by ensuring team members step away from their computers several times during the day.
Promote healthy behaviour from your team members by encouraging them to move around during the day.
Workplace wellness programs don’t always need to be about physical health. Workplace wellness programs should also be about team members' mental health.
Initiating opportunities for mindfulness and meditation is one of the most effective ways to help employees manage stress. Provide coaching through workshops or online programs.
Help team members with stress management by inviting a yoga instructor to coach your teams during lunch or after work.
Create a quiet spot in your workplace where people can practice meditative mindfulness or simply go when work becomes overwhelming.
You’ll be rewarded with a calmer, more focused workforce that will, in turn, be more productive.
bring in professionals for workplace wellness programs.
Consider having a nutrition or health consultant visit the workplace regularly to help boost employees' physical and mental health.
Try bringing in a mental health coach, or wellness companies hold on-site weekly meetings.
During these meetings, team members are guided and supported holistically to eat healthier, increase their exercise levels and practice work-life balance.
Consider inviting a health practitioner or counsellor to your workplace to provide practical, manageable tools to help employees reduce their unhealthy habits, which in turn will help reduce healthcare costs.
Where employee health and wellness programs used to be nice-to-haves, they’re now necessary for organizations that want to attract and retain their best employees and partner with them in their health initiatives.
Companies need to be investing in employee health and wellness programs.
If you’re unsure, remember this: healthy employees create healthy businesses.