Wellness in the workplace: Empty hype or important trend?

January 15, 2020 6:15 pm

Over the past decade wellness in the workplace has been gaining more attention. Why is that? Consider this:

• Employees spend 2/3 of their awake time at work.
• The workplace has the greatest impact on health and health-related behaviours.
• Health affects how an employee does their job and consequently affects productivity.
• The workplace offers an excellent opportunity to promote health given all of the above.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder wellness is on the minds of so many managers and employees.

Wellness in the workplace: The Benefits

Let’s dig a little deeper into why an employer should promote a healthier workplace.

$aves money – By investing in your employee wellness at work, you will reduce absenteeism, reap health benefits in your benefits plan, have fewer employee accidents and injuries, and improve the productivity of your organization. This all translates into an improved bottom line.

Improves workplace culture – Healthier employees have improved morale, present a better corporate image, enhance recruiting abilities, have better labour relationships, and improve employee satisfaction as a whole.

For employees, a healthier workplace has one very significant impact: employees are happier. Happier employees feel better, have a reduced risk of chronic diseases, are better able to make the necessary changes to improve their personal health, have reduced healthcare expenses, and derive more job satisfaction. These benefits all impact an employer’s bottom line.

So, with all this evidence supporting why wellness is beneficial for both the employer and the employee, why aren’t all organizations eagerly implementing a wellness initiative? Is it the changing workforce dynamic and its demands that are distracting us from this important focus? Work has changed so much in recent years, with regards to how we work and where we work… could this be complicating any wellness solutions? Or is it that we’re just not adapting quickly enough and haven’t yet changed our mindsets to fully embrace broadening our work perspective in order to do what we need to do to help our employees? In today’s fast-paced, competitive world, it appears that doing nothing is no longer an option when it comes to managing the health of our employees in the workplace.

Wellness in the workplace: How to get started

To help get you started, we have summarized a few quick and easy wellness initiatives that we have seen our clients implement. They cost you nothing but the time and focus to get them started. Maybe this will help you start your own Wellness Program or at least spark the flow of ideas:

1. Start a walking group at lunch.
2. Food at meetings: put out a bowl of apples as a snack, rather than unhealthy options.
3. Create a health committee to help promote the education of healthy living in your workplace; you may be surprised what employees come up with!
4. For employees who are offsite or work from home, do a stop-drop-and-exercise email blast to engage those employees who are not physically with the rest of the organization. Have them participate and communicate back to you what they did to partake.
5. Start a FaceTime walking group, so that all employees can partake in the walk regardless of where they work.
6. If you have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), tap into this amazing resource and do a regular lunch with your employees to educate them on subjects that are and will be of interest to them.
7. Bring in guest speakers to address different health issues. A nutritionist to talk about healthy eating choices on the run; a chiropractor to talk about stretching and the importance of doing so for good health; or implement a smoke cessation program, available at 1-877-513-5333 or https://www.smokershelpline.ca/. Smokers’ Helpline offers a free and personalized tool to help employees to quit smoking.

Whatever you decide to implement, research shows that doing nothing will cost your organization money, and doing something will most certainly pay your organization dividends.

For more information on how to develop your employee wellness next steps or to discuss benefits in general, please call Rosemary Marsh at 905-777-9990, ext. 202, or email her at rmarsh@bisinc.caat rmarsh@bisinc.ca. Our expertise is your advantage!

This post was written by Rosemary Marsh

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