Fun and Effective Ways to Encourage Workplace Wellness
Stress, body aches, weight gain, high blood pressure, and even depression are all medical issues that can derive as a result of the type of working environment employees are exposed to on the daily basis. From the typical 9 to 5 office workers to the warehouse or construction site for manual workers, each work environment creates the potential for an employee to fall ill. While most employers don’t intentionally provide poor working environments, the stress of a job can weigh on employees at any time.
So, how do you make a difference as an employer? You start by promoting wellness in the workplace to improve the overall health of your staff.
Benefits Promoting Wellness
Are you wondering how your encouragement of wellness for your staff will ultimately benefit your business? There are many benefits to improving the overall quality of your employees’ health while in the workplace. Some of those benefits include:
- Decrease in healthcare costs
- Decline in employee call outs (due to illness)
- Decrease in costs associated with injuries and illnesses including disability and workmen’s compensation
- Improved employee productivity
- Respect and loyalty of staff
The Society for Human Resource Management points out various studies that support the above benefits.
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Reinventing the Wheel
Okay, now that you have a full understanding of the benefits to encouraging workplace wellness for your business and staff, it’s time to get down to business. The thing is however, you have to draw in the attention of your staff for it to be effective. Simply placing pamphlets in the lunchroom about dieting and exercise is not enough to get your staff interested. You really have to be creative and come up with innovative ways to draw in their attention. You need to make it part of your company’s culture. Below are a few suggestions on how to add a little fun to your wellness ideas:
1. Event Participation Incentives – Want your employees to get more involved in community health events (i.e. MS walk, breast cancer walk, etc.)? Well, it’s not enough to post the flyers and signup forms around the office and hope that they participate. You need to get a little more creative than that. A great idea in this instance would be to provide incentives that would gain more employee participation. For instance, maybe you give staff who participate in local events a little bump in their next paycheck, a free lunch to a place of their choosing, or comp time that they can use to take a day off from work.
2. Bye-Bye Vending Machines – Vending machines can be a huge culprit in weight gain in the workplace. Employees who need a quick snack are going to go for what is easily accessible. Most vending machines are filled with nothing but processed, sugary, fatty foods and drinks that do more harm than good. So a great way to change the environment is to offer healthier options. If you can find vending machines that offer healthy alternatives such as baked chips, trail mix, granola, etc. that would be great, but if not ditch the machines altogether and get healthy office snack delivery service instead.
Encourage staff to bring in healthy snacks on their own, and even offer to bring in some yourself. Also, be sure to have healthy alternatives for drinks. It may be worth investing in a bottleless water cooler so the staff has fresh, filtered water that they can drink instead of consuming sugary sodas and caffeine filled coffee.
3. Wellness Contests – Maybe you want to have a yoga instructor come to the office or a Weight Watcher’s representative start a program for your company… these are all great choices, but again, probably not enough to get employees interested. You can kick things up a notch by incorporating contests into the programs. For example, if your company is involved with a program such as Weight Watchers, you could introduce a departmental contest. The department that sticks to the program the longest and loses the most weight will win some form of reward. This then introduces healthy competition and also encourages your employees to work together as a team.
4. Company Sporting Events – A tried and true classic for introducing wellness in the workplace is having company sporting events. Whether you simply compete against other departments in your company, or you’re able to get surrounding companies involved, creating a team is a great way to get everyone moving around. Start a basketball team, baseball team, or kickball team and get the ball rolling. Your staff will enjoy being able to let their hair down and simply have fun.
Though the health of your employees is ultimately up to them as individuals, you can do wonders as a manager, owner, or human resource representative by encouraging wellness in the workplace. Not only do you receive the above mentioned benefits, but you also become an integral part of improving the lives of others for the better. By coming up with creative and effective ways to get your staff motivated and committed, you’ll soon see the difference you’ve made and how it will translate into the overall success of your business.