Having happy and healthy employees has proven to result in better productivity, lower healthcare costs, and less turnover. With the modern-day work environment consisting of long periods of sitting, computer screen eye strain and quick takeout meals eaten over hefty presentations, it’s more important than ever for companies to develop effective wellness programmes to improve the mental and physical well-being of employees.
Gallup and Healthways have developed a ‘Gallup-Healthways Well-Being 5’, which defines five essentials elements of well-being:
- Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals.
- Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life.
- Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security.
- Community: liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community.
- Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily.
According to Gallup’s research, ‘many employers have hopped on the wellness bandwagon in recent years, recognising that they can play an influential role in helping employees curtail unhealthy behaviours that can lead to costly chronic conditions. A recent RAND Corporation study found that more than 85% of U.S. companies employing 1,000 people or more offer some sort of workplace wellness programme. It’s safe to assume that these companies genuinely want to help their employees lead healthier lives while seeing a healthier bottom line too. Not only do employers spend a fortune on subsiding employees’ healthcare costs, but they also see greater productivity, and fewer missed workdays from employees with higher well-being.’
Many companies may feel unable to invest in wellness programmes due to tight budgets and limited resources, but wellness programmes can actually help companies save money. For example, Health Affairs found every $1 invested in wellness programmes saves $3 in healthcare coasts for corporations.
While implementing a strong wellness programme isn’t going to happen overnight, there are plenty of cost-effective steps companies can take to get started. Here are # wellness programme ideas:
1. Offer flexible hours: Flexible office hours enables employees to avoid busy traffic times, which could help reduce stress.
2. Offer lunchtime mindfulness or yoga sessions: Google, LinkedIn, and Apple already implement mindfulness into their culture, and rightly so; it can reduce stress and is cheap to implement.
3. Provide standing desks: We’re reading more and more about the dangers of sitting in place for several hours every day. By offering standing desks to employees, employees can improve their posture and core strength, and standing desks have also been found to increase productivity.
4. Provide access to health assessments: Office health checks allow employees to get a general overview of their health status, detect disease or risk factors and learn about potential issues.
5. Provide healthy snacks: Instead of having vending machines loaded with sugary sweets, crisps and chocolates, stock the office kitchen with healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, energy bars.
6. Build a fitness centre or offer gym membership: If possible, offering a gym with all the essential workout equipment is an excellent way to promote workplace wellness. Having a fitness centre on the grounds enables employees to get their fitness fix before/after or during their lunch break. If the resources aren’t there to have a built-in gym, offer memberships to encourage employees to improve their physical well-being.