Implementing a successful wellness program takes more than just a few health incentives and a biometric screening. Here are seven ways to go beyond the basic wellness program and create a true culture of health:
To establish a healthy environment for employees, it’s necessary to start from the top. Encourage office leaders and managers to endorse, support and act as a role model for the wellness program. Ensure that the CEO, department heads, and group/peer leaders are championing a healthy lifestyle. When these individuals pave the road to wellness, getting other employees involved becomes a lot easier.
Physical activity is a crucial part of individual wellness. Unfortunately, the typical office doesn’t encourage fitness at all; in fact, most involve sitting for eight hours a day. To combat the unhealthy effects of a desk job, provide opportunities for employees to become more active. Whether it’s creating an in-house gym, walking meetings or providing discounted memberships to local fitness facilities, find ways to encourage more physical activity throughout the day.
A wellness program needs to be backed by the fundamentals of a healthy diet. Provide employees with the educational tools they need to learn the importance of eating real food. Replace the vending machine with nuts and fresh fruits, cater in healthy foods and give employees with a list of good-for-you to-go options from local restaurants.
4.) Stress Relief
The American Institute of Stress recently reported that 80% of workers feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress and 42% say their coworkers need such help. Employers that build cultures of wellness work to identify stressful aspects of the office (i.e. workload, inconsistency, lack of clear expectations, etc.), lessen or eliminate those stressors, improve working conditions, and help employees develop the necessary skills to handle stress (i.e. self confidence, time management, etc.).
5.) Open Communication
Social wellness is an often overlooked aspect of the office, and one of the easiest ways to ensure it’s a priority is by opening up a dialogue about well-being issues. Employers must create a culture of openness and communication where their staff feels comfortable talking to managers about worries with their work-life balance and stress issues; and leaders should feel comfortable and empowered to help employees address those concerns. By creating those channels of communication, managers are also helping to keep the wellness conversation constantly evolving and promote an open exchange of ideas.
6.) Positive Mindset
Too many wellness programs assume that people can change their habits quickly and easily based purely on their own willpower. Instead of focusing on those negative risk factors and scaring employees into getting on the treadmill, learn how to help them rewire their brains for success. Provide positive reinforcement for healthy behaviors and provide employees with the tools that they need to take action and achieve their goals.
Employees need to know where they can access wellness resources if a program is going to be successful. When the staff understands that there is a genuine atmosphere of assistance and encouragement, they’ll feel engaged and want to participate. Make wellness initiatives about more than just incentives; celebrate employee successes, involve their families, and encourage buddy systems and team participation.
Developing a culture of wellness is far more beneficial than simply developing a plain program, and these steps will help any company create lasting positive change in its employees.