WHY ARE CORPORATE WELLNESS PROGRAMS IMPORTANT?
Imagine the reaction from your CEO if you told them that you had found a way for the business to save $1685 per employee. According to the Center For Disease Control, $1685 is the average amount of money per employee that businesses lose every year due to sickness. By finding a way to reduce sickness and increase employee attendance drastically, the potential savings available to any company are staggering. The question is, how can you solve the problem and improve your employee’s health?
There are lots of great ways that you can encourage your staff to improve their health. Here are some ideas that are easy to implement within the workplace, are not exorbitantly expensive, and should encourage participation amongst a large portion of your team.
WHAT ARE SOME POPULAR WELLNESS ACTIVITIES?
EXAMINE THE FOOD AND BEVERAGES IN YOUR BREAK ROOM
Take a walk around your break room and assess what refreshments you currently offer your staff. If an employee wants to eat and drink healthily, is it possible in your establishment, or have you inadvertently placed barriers in the way? One of the most staggering health statistics published by the Harvard School of Public Health was that whenever someone consumes one can of soda a day, their chances of contracting Type 2 Diabetes increases by 26%. If that wasn’t enough to discourage you, that same can of soda per day also increases your chances of a heart attack by 20% compared with people who consume a lesser quantity of sugary drinks.
Explore healthier alternatives to soda and energy drinks. It’s hard to cut out soda altogether, but you also don’t need it every day. At Novel Coworking, our kitchens are stocked with water bottles, fruit drinks, and naturally flavored beverages. We also have a water fountain with a built-in filter. You can still find chips and cookies, but there are healthy snack options such as pistachio nuts, granola, and fruits. These incremental changes in the workplace kitchen can make a huge difference to everybody’s health.
HOW ABOUT SOME HEALTHY COMPETITION?
Fitbit is a small, relatively inexpensive pedometer, that counts the number of steps an individual takes per day. Fitbit’s software enables competition between individuals or even teams. Imagine a challenge between the accounting department and the design department for instance, with the winning team earning an incentive. Not only will this encourage a bit of competition, but hopefully it will also encourage people to be more active, to walk rather than drive, or even to take the stairs rather than the elevator. Companies can even set up walking clubs early in the morning before work. It also encourages people to think about their lifestyle, and helps to motivate them to change their eating habits and increase their daily exercise.
OFFER A FLU SHOT CLINIC IN THE FALL
Perhaps the busiest time of the year for the vast majority of businesses is in the run-up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Unfortunately, that also tends to be flu season, and consequently the time of year when sickness levels peak. One of the ways to tackle this is by offering a flu shot clinic at your workplace. This is a simple and effective method for tackling the issue and provides 4 main benefits:
- It demonstrates that you are concerned about your employee’s health, which in turn encourages and develops employee loyalty.
- Staff won’t have to miss work to visit their regular physician.
- Fewer days are taken off due to the vaccination process.
- Because a significant proportion of the employees are likely to take advantage of the flu shot, the likelihood of a large proportion of the staff being ill is drastically reduced.
Organizing a flu shot clinic is a simple process because medical organizations will come in and set everything up for your company, leaving you with an easy day and chance for your employees to get vaccinated.
OFFER FREE OR SUBSIDIZED GYM MEMBERSHIPS
Another excellent idea to encourage and promote health and wellness programs in your company is to offer a subsidy or even a free membership to a local gym for your employees. This need not be as expensive as it might sound and for many employees, it may provide the motivation they require to change their lifestyle. Speak to the local gyms and enquire about the various promotions of deals they may be willing to offer. This could easily be a win-win for both businesses, and it has the added advantage of demonstrating the caring side of your company to the employees.
HOW CAN CORPORATE WELLNESS PROGRAMS BE IMPROVED?
GET FEEDBACK FROM THE TEAM
Wellness programs are only as effective as the team members they serve. It’s important to continually request feedback to better gauge how successful each wellness initiative actually is. Choose an interval of time, whether it’s quarterly or monthly, and issue an anonymous survey or feedback form. Provide a 1-10 scale for rating efficacy and an open-ended answer box.
CREATE METRICS FOR SUCCESS
Surveys measure just one dimension of wellness program success: satisfaction. In actuality, there are many more categories and metrics that determine success. The Society for Human Resource Management lists the following:
- Financial outcomes
- Health impact
- Organizational support
- Productivity and performance
- Value on investment (VOI)
Be sure to include these metrics in your reviews to more accurately determine program success and employee engagement. To learn more about how to measure each one, visit SHRM’s article for more information.
REWARD TEAM MEMBERS FOR THEIR CHOICES
Living healthily should be a reward on its own, but it never hurts to add extra incentive for making the right choices. Consider offering rewards for healthy living, such as a branded water bottle or a Fitbit. For higher tier rewards, offer discounts to the gym, or gift cards for Whole Foods or similar healthy supermarket.
One common concern among non-smokers is the amount of break time that smokers are able to take. To even things out, reward additional time for non-smokers and create smoking cessation rewards, such as extra downtime, or a charitable donation to a foundation of their choice. Whenever possible, recognize the efforts made by a hardworking employee to set an example for the rest of the team.
At Novel Coworking, we are continually striving to find ways to assist and encourage business owners in their journey to success. One way to keep your employees mentally healthy is to find a relaxing and open office environment. Consider looking into coworking spaces that your team can use and collaborate in.
We are always coming up with new and exciting ways to increase sales or improve the morale of your staff, through tips on our blog.