Companies are beginning to take workplace wellness more seriously now than they have in the past. This is excellent news, for both the companies themselves and for their employees. These businesses have figured out that by taking better care of their employees at work – and encouraging them to take care of themselves – they stand a better chance of effectively combating the problems of a rising number of absences due to health issues and rising healthcare costs in general.
However, one of the problems that many of these businesses face is that they try to implement workplace wellness programs without really understanding how it should be done effectively or just why they are doing it. Management has heard it's a good idea, but they haven't quite pinned down why. As a result, sadly, at the moment, more corporate wellness programs seem to fail rather than succeed.
That does not have to be the case though. With an understanding of the benefits of implementing such programs and a willingness to actually work on building them alongside employees, they can work very well.
With all of this in mind, here are some of the things to consider as you go about designing a corporate wellness program for your company.
A Higher Level of Awareness Helps Spur Success
As a whole, Americans are becoming more health conscious in general. However, due to longer work hours, more frequent multitasking and, in many cases, increased financial challenges many do find it hard to act on the types of wellness goals they know they should be working towards.
That's why bringing as much of the program into the workplace – and making it available during work hours – is so important. Gym discounts are great, but your employees have no time to go to the gym before or after work. That's why they don't. Bring a gym onsite, that they can visit during their lunch hour and things are almost certain to change.
The same is true of nutrition initiatives. You can give out lots of recipe books and even bring in a speaker to offer some culinary tricks to your employees but that still won't help them find the time to implement them when they get home.
If however, you change the contents of your vending machines to feature healthier fare, or provide healthy snacks in break rooms and actual cookery classes you are far more likely to 'convince' more employees to change their dietary ways.
Get Creative to Get Employees Engaged
Having healthier employees leads to decreased absenteeism, increased productivity, increased employee satisfaction and even a rise in employee retention. These, however, are all benefits for the company. To make your corporate wellness program a success you'll need to show your employees what's in it for them.
Handing out leaflets and staging mandatory meetings and lectures is not the way to go. Just one more thing that the boss insists they have to do? Just the mere thought will discourage many from taking part (unless they have to, which they may then resent)
However, if you get creative and make things fun – and optional – you are far more likely to get better results. Organize family picnic days (with healthy food laid on) Set interdepartmental fitness challenges (and offer decent prizes for the winners) Offer a graduated rewards system for those who meet certain health goals (and make them actually useful, like a half day off with pay, something really worth working towards.)
Workplace wellness programs are important, and the more businesses that can be persuaded to implement them the better. But it has to be done in the right way. Take your time, understand what such initiatives really have to offer and they could work wonders for your employees and your business too.