For some time now, organizations have been bearing the load of high healthcare expenses for their employees. This is probably why many companies have started taking employee wellness programs more seriously; programs aimed at combating the rising mental and physical health issues among employees.
For comprehensive wellness programs to be successful they must focus on employee engagement. Apart from that, a effective employee wellness program should support employees with essential information and motivation to lead a healthy lifestyle.
If you are serious about maintaining the health of your employees and reaping the benefits of greater participation and improved productivity, consult these tips to design your employee wellness program.
1. Promote a pro-fitness company culture.
Rigid wellness programs are not generally welcomed by employees. So, it’s important to imbibe a pro-fitness approach at your workplace. A health-conscious company can start to implement a fit-first ideology by serving healthy food. You can offer affordable, tasty food in your break room and replace candy bars and soft drinks with healthy vending options.
Apart from healthy food options, setting up workout spaces with indoor exercise bikes or installing indoor walking tracks to encourage physical activity are great ways to promote office wellness.
2. Personalize employee wellness activities.
An effective wellness program should cater to employees not only as a unit, but also on an individual basis, taking their medical history into consideration. If a wellness program does not address an individual’s pre-existing medical condition, it is difficult to achieve results at large.
The challenge, however, is not just about overcoming employee health issues, but also about willingness to participate. It is essential to make a health expert available to plan a health chart and schedule based on individual progress and needs.
3. Make wellness fun.
It is important to keep your employees interested in your company’s wellness program. One way to start is to get feedback from your staff on the type of activities they value the most. Consider physical activities and stress-reduction exercises like yoga or massage therapy.
Also, you can organize seminars on topics including stress management, work-life balance, or weight management. These sessions should provide action points that can be easily implemented. Organizational support for healthy living can instill positivity and boost productivity, thereby enhancing your company’s profile to attract and retain high-quality talent.
4. Lead by example.
The best way to motivate your employees to participate in your company’s wellness program is to ensure leadership participates. Your active involvement, along with senior level team members, will boost overall program participation. Not only will you gain health benefits, but you can promote healthier behaviors by example.
5. Plan group activities.
Just like working in teams can draw faster and better results, good health can be achieved through collaboration. Shared accountability “keeps people accountable and gives them the support they need at those inevitable derailing moments.”
You can create interest-based groups for specific activities. For instance, if a group of employees wants to take up Zumba, Pilates or Yoga then you can hire a professional trainer to conduct sessions at work. Group activities can motivate other employees to join collective wellness efforts and help spread the program’s reach.
6. Use a wellness reward system.
Reward systems are among the best gestures of appreciation, and can help you encourage employee participation. Similarly, reward points can be allocated to employees who work diligently towards becoming healthier. Their health goals can be monitored through personal wellness program designed for them. For instance, wellness program trainers can nominate employees who have undergone medical assessments or achieved the required benchmarks for cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight management.
Experiment with different methods to acknowledge healthy employees. It will benefit the overall health of their team, lower medical costs, and make their investment in employee wellness a feasible idea for the company.
Long work hours and stress make it difficult to find time to act on wellness goals. As a result, many companies end up with high healthcare costs and lost productivity. It’s beneficial to invest in wellness programs and help your employees achieve professional and personal goals.
If you are considering developing an employee wellness program, it is important to consult health experts to address common issues surrounding the body and the mind. Investing in the well-being of your employees leads to increased productivity and a company culture competitive advantage. Start thinking about how you can incorporate health and wellness into your culture.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Swati Kapoor is a qualified dietitian at Practo. She has a Masters degree in Dietetics and Food Service Management. She is a strong believer in spreading the goodness of nutrition through healthy eating. Swati has been helping people live healthy and active for the past 4 years, by recommending diet plans that fit individual preferences and health parameters. Connect with @Practo on Twitter.