6 Tips on How to Promote Health and Wellness in the Workplace in 2023
With so much time spent at work, employers are in a powerful and unique position to contribute to the wellbeing of their entire workplace. When they do, it benefits employees and the business alike. Employees feel better, they’re more collaborative, they develop stronger bonds with colleagues, and that all bodes well for organizations.
Seeking meaningful ways to promote health and wellness should be a priority of every company. After all, 84% of businesses have reported improved performance solely because of wellness programs. To help you get started, here are six strategies that have proven successful in multiple organizations.
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Why promote health and wellness?
An employee’s health and wellbeing directly impact their work. We’ve all had moments when we didn’t feel our best and in those moments, it can feel near impossible to do your best work. It’s important to understand how healthy behaviors influence one’s health and the organization as a whole.
Let’s begin by clearly identifying what’s meant by an individual’s health and wellness. Seven dimensions define a person’s overall wellness:
When organizations promote wellness at work, they reap countless benefits. When workers’ mental and physical health are cared for, they’re more likely to stay motivated and productive. From an individual standpoint, an employee limits their exposure to health risks and doesn’t find their job daunting. More than 80% of employees whose employers invest in their wellbeing say they enjoy their work.
From an organizational standpoint, you’re boosting employee morale, satisfaction, and retention rates at scale. You also reduce absenteeism and healthcare costs. Interestingly, 72% of companies implementing these programs saw a better company culture and reduced healthcare expenses.
So, what exactly happens when an employee’s wellness suffers? The domino effect. Their performance will suffer as a result, which could have a negative impact on their team and, eventually, the entire organization.
Three examples of health and wellness activities
Every employee has a distinct life created with their own set of habits. What appears to benefit one person doesn’t always necessarily benefit another.
Thus, the first step in promoting employee health and wellness is to incorporate diverse approaches and activities.
In a moment, we’ll see how leaders can foster and track the success of a wellness program. For now, let’s look at three health and wellness activities that have been shown to positively impact employees.
Physical health initiatives
Physical wellbeing benefits are some of the most common in a workplace wellness package. Exercise in all forms can be beneficial and there is real value in finding ways to move your body during work hours, like going for a walk or taking time to stretch and reset. It helps with finding mental focus, relaxing the body, and calming the mind. You may even see a boost in energy if you make it a habit.
Exercise, in about any form, can boost endorphins and act as a stress reliever. Since 83% of U.S. employees suffer from occupational stress, this has the potential to be a major initiative. Employees that are happy at work often say that they’re not likely to leave.
Exercise can even improve social connections among employees and employers. Organizing running, biking, or yoga clubs, for instance, can create more opportunities for employees across the company to develop community at work.
Did you know that 5 minutes of meditation can reduce stress and boost overall productivity? Everyone in the organization benefits from mental breaks.
Mindfulness is linked to increased creativity as it broadens cognitive ability and boosts insight into problem-solving. It can also remarkably improve concentration and relieve stress and anxiety.
Encourage brief meditation group sessions into employees’ schedules. If you have on-site employees, think about creating a space for this practice that serves as a calm setting.
Stress reduction programs
Workplace stress is a widespread problem. According to Harvard Business Review, it can account for 8% of all healthcare costs. As an employer, you can’t eliminate stress in your employees’ lives as so much happens outside of the office. But you do have the power to initiate programs aimed at alleviating stress as much as possible.
Flexible work hours can help those with caregiving or childcare responsibilities. Transportation benefits can ease the anxiety of commutes. Financial anxiety is also a huge stressor in the workplace. Educational resources that help employees manage their finances confidently can be a huge stress reliever.
Three ways to promote full health and wellness programs
Wellness benefits are only as good as their adoption rate. It should be your goal as an organization to make sure employees know what benefits are available to them and encourage them to provide feedback to improve them moving forward. Here’s how to set yourself up for success.
Encourage open communication
To structure a health and wellness program that’ll benefit employees, you first need to hear from employees directly. Workers are more likely to give honest feedback when they feel safe, recognized, and valued for their input.
Therefore, creating an open communication channel is the cornerstone when preparing for a meaningful program. Besides, giving workers a voice to discuss workplace issues affecting their wellbeing can help strengthen their bond with the organization and help you create a more targeted approach.
One study found that allowing workers to identify and resolve problems in the workplace reduced burnout and increased job satisfaction.
Now that you’ve established a health and wellness program that meets the needs of employees, what happens next? Creating a program is just the beginning; the real work lies ahead.
Monitoring and evaluating the impact of these wellness initiatives on employees is how you make sure they’re working. The results will determine whether the program is actually useful or whether it still needs some tweaks.
Generally speaking, celebrating employee accomplishments is one of the simple tactics to maintain a positive working environment. It deepens social connections within the workplace and fosters a sense of belonging.
Consequently, celebrating milestones in the wellness program is a wonderful way to encourage workers to participate and stick with it. You can also incorporate a reward program with an announced or unexpected gift for all big wins.
Promoting health and wellness is a process of allowing individuals to improve and gain control over their overall wellbeing. During this process, you’ll need to support, direct, and motivate them to take more positive steps toward the seven primary dimensions of wellness.
There are multiple strategies for promoting remote workers’ health and wellness. To begin, make them feel valued and included in the organization. Check-in with them via email or video/audio call to see how they’re doing. Then offer some thoughtful initiatives, such as:
- Creating virtual meditation groups
- Sending equipment for exercising outside of work
- Creating communities around common activities
Offering rewards and holding community celebrations for achievements within wellness programs is a great way to incentivize participation. As much as you can, you want to promote the benefits that come out of a holistic view of wellness.
People-first workplaces promote health and wellness initiatives. They understand that central to a connected, collaborative workplace are employees that are feeling supported. Organizations can play a powerful role in creating that feeling.
The more committed you are to improving an employee’s health and wellbeing, the more rewarding it becomes. This is one of the strategies where you’ll need to trust the process. The results might not appear right away, but when they do, they’ll be revolutionary.
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