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Tips for Successful Office Wellness Programs

10/28/2016

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If it wasn’t apparent enough, there’s a mass of evidence proving the effectiveness of workplace wellness programs. However, even when presented with well-documented results, many companies fail to offer comprehensive programs designed to enhance the wellbeing of their employees.

Maybe that’s because getting the ball rolling on such benefits is easier said than done. Below are some tips for implementing and maintaining employee health and wellbeing initiatives.

Instill the Philosophy

Make improving the health and wellness of employees a core value. The environment where one makes a livelihood should be one that supports a healthy lifestyle. However, it might be a challenge for many human resources departments to get employees to buy in at the beginning. 

This is where you can lean on leadership for help. Whether it’s the C-suite in a typical organization or higher-ups in a corporation where titles are more loosely defined, wellness must be embraced and valued at the top. Budget for it. Make time for it. Make it practical. Make it a priority.

Certainly not all employees will be as willing to dive into a company’s offering, but expect participation to be contagious. The more health conscious a work environment becomes, the easier bad habits are to break. 

Go a Step Farther

While it may be fitting to offer pre screening, smoking cessation, or fitness opportunities, go beyond those plans if you have the resources. For example, provide alternatives to reduce stress that’ll replace an employee’s usual “smoke breaks.” Some ideas include establishing walking trails on campus, stocking the break room with healthy snack options or dedicating office space to an exercise or quiet area that employees can visit to refresh. Or perhaps, instead of simply hosting or incentivizing health screens, host health workshops focused on disease prevention.  

Evolve

What works today, may not work in the future. Workplace health promotion programs need to be specific to a particular organization. Send out surveys to poll the employees on what activities they would enjoy participating in. Measure the success, and make decisions based on data. If something isn’t working, change it. Don’t be afraid to embrace new technology, such as, wearable fitness trackers, robust management software and virtual coaching/care if it streamlines the access and quality of initiatives. 

Promote It

Once health management programs are in place, make them easily accessible and communicate their value to employees. 

We’re in a social media age, so share the success of an event, celebrate a milestone reached, and let other’s know the company is investing in the health of its employees. This is a good method to keep current employees engaged, as well as, attract new recruits.  

It’s easy to see that as happiness and health in the workplace increases so does productivity, health care savings, and overall job satisfaction. But establishing a successful wellness program has its difficulties. It goes beyond simply providing healthy snacks and running a 5K every once in awhile. However, once a well-designed and comprehensive workplace health promotion strategy is executed, it does change both the employee’s and a company’s condition for the better.