In response to growing workplace stress, employers are focusing more on methods that help keep their workforces happy and healthy. Wellbeing News reports that an increase in workplace stress management, associated with younger workers in the UK, has resulted in a rise in companies investing in wellness. Businesses have been increasingly featuring health-based activities into their company plans.
Other employers who haven’t done so should start considering implementing a well-thought-out wellness programme as well. Not only can it help solve the problem of ever-increasing health insurance costs. It also benefits both the employee’s health and the employer’s bottom line.
But what are the steps to designing a good employee wellness programme?
The first step is to take relevant feedback from the people who’ll actually be affected by the health plan — your employees. It’s important to listen to what employees have to say at this stage. Sheena Bergado writes on Pain Free Working that it’s very easy for upper management to fail in understanding what exactly workers need, and instead go for the knee-jerk reaction of investing in on-site gyms and expensive catering. Often, however, it’s the simpler things that make the most impact, like better air quality and lighting.
So, an employee wellness survey is a great way to collect employees’ opinions on what they want in their health care initiatives. It’s also a great way to make them feel in control over important corporate decisions that’ll affect their daily lives.
Every workplace is unique with its own set of health risks and problems. It’s important to know which health care problems your employees want to address first. Then, categorise them as physical or mental health care concerns (or even both) before coming up with objectives. After which, you try to identify the ideal short-term and long-term results as goals. Then you can move on to estimating the budget for your wellness programme.
Health risk assessments can identify problem areas that employees face, such as an unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, and regular smoking. They come with health screening of vitals such as blood pressure, sugar levels, BMI, and cholesterol. The main aim is to make employees aware of the consequences of poor lifestyle choices. However, we can’t really expect employees to have an instant lifestyle change from simple health screenings.
Hosting health-oriented workplace challenges can tap into the competitive nature of employees and make them do tasks that’ll be ultimately beneficial for their health.
The popularity of workplace challenges is increasing because not only are they effective, they’re also enjoyable and exciting. Entrepreneur recommends at least 12 different fun challenges you can try in your company. A popular one is the ‘Biggest Loser,’ based on the rules of the famous TV show, where the one who loses the most weight wins.
Awarding incentives upon reaching a health goal is a good way to encourage employees to stick to their newfound healthy habits. Fitness contests with some form of reward, in the end, prove to be effective in boosting participation rates in the programme and see long-term results in promoting a fit work environment. In much simpler situations, like if an employee always takes the stairs instead of the elevator, or if someone makes phone calls while walking, giving some kind of recognition can also encourage more people to do the same.
Leadership support is integral to promoting the wellness plan in your workplace. It’s about setting a good example and showing that you consider health to be a priority in your company values.
One way a leader can show commitment to the overall wellbeing of the employees is through planning and organising support groups or teambuilding activities. Luke Smith points out how teambuilding exercises can provide an opportunity to socialise, unite the team, and maintain a positive, healthy company culture. It simply lets your team feel you’re with them on this health journey.
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