A guide to promoting health and wellness in the workplace
As summer approaches and we all start to pull out our swimsuits, some of us may start to notice the effect of all those months in quarantine doing nothing.
I sure do!
Quarantine may be over but the quarantine fifteen we gained will still remain. Some may start to hyper-focus on whipping in shape last minute before beach days are before us. However, despite our physical appearances, which ultimately does not matter, we are all aware of the implications of fitness on our health in the long term.
Although this is widely understood, we continuously neglect consistently prioritizing your health for greater wellbeing long term. Often, the overworked “grind” of corporate America is glorified in such toxic ways that workers today put their success at work over their health. As a result, there has been an urge for workplace wellness programs that focus on holistic approaches to increasing the employee's overall wellbeing.
Programs or even an emphasis on healthy lifestyles within the workplace are important and can increase the long-term productivity and satisfaction of the employees.
Greater impacts of unhealthy lifestyles besides appearances
Healthy workplaces have not always been a priority. It was not until the late 1970s did a focus on health become something even relevant. We started to understand that health affects so many aspects of our lives. This in turn can have negative or positive implications within the workplace.
A study done by Harvard Health shows obesity can lead to airways being blocked during sleep. This then causes the person to wake up during sleep or never go into a deep sleep. Subsequently, the person is then at greater risk of heart attack, stroke, or high blood pressure.
Furthermore, this unease the person may have can in return prevent them from being an alert and prepared worker. Employees may face a lack of productivity or an inability to focus on the task at hand with a poor quality of sleep. This is one of the many ways that unhealthy lifestyles may affect the workplace.
Another serious factor that plays a role in the overall quality of life is mental health. There are some studies that have evaluated the way weight can be a cause of mental health issues. Added weight or health issues could cause mental health to suffer. Emotional distress, on the other hand, could do the opposite and be the cause of weight issues. This link, regardless, is a negative implication in the work environment.
These are two of the direct factors that poor health choices can have in the workplace. However, there is a multitude of indirect factors.
How your business benefits from wellness programs
Within the workplace, it may seem cheesy to do “competitions” to see who can lose the most or have the most steps in a day but there are bigger things that come as a result of this.
Generally, this can help decrease illness as a whole. Part of implementing a healthier environment is overall health education. Spotting risk factors of major illness early on is important and key to keeping employees in the office to work.
Lower levels of stress and lack of concentration can be positive factors as a result as well. This can help increase productivity and attitude within the workplace.
Company morale will go up as a whole because of the increased communication among the group, shared values, and competition.
How to implement a health promotion
There is no set way that a company can go about doing this but there are things that have worked for other companies. Implementing healthier workplace practices can adversely affect the employee's daily habits.
Providing snack and drink options
Office parties are far too often stocked with chips and pizza, soda, and coffee. While these are tasty treats, this habit can be negative in the long term. It is not even about completely cutting those options but rather providing other options as well, such as fruit trays and water.
Having water coolers or bottled water is also beneficial. Taking the thought and effort for making good choices makes it that much easier on the employees.
One effective way to get everyone involved is to do a challenge for the employees. This is a fun way to get everyone working together towards a common goal. This goal could be to walk every other day after work or even to log their water intake for a week. Winners of the competition could get a day off, or a gift card, even something such as an extra hour for lunch.
One way to make this program effective is to provide devices, such as Fitbits for employees. By investing in them and the goal, they will see how seriously you take their health. Products such as Fitbits are great tools to track daily steps.
Education and Resources
Other options that focus on health as a whole would be educational videos or seminars. This could be on a multitude of subjects such as mental health, prevention, and early detection of things. Health education and information aid in the longevity of life to improve overall.
These resources do not necessarily need to be a mandatory thing for employees to partake in but can be available for them.
Another fun way is if the company has a monthly blog or newsletter to include tips on health and wellness. Whether that's a fun fact about skincare or even foods that lower blood pressure. This can be an informative and interesting aspect for the employees to look forward to.
Various benefits that could be offered could be things such as discounted rates to gyms, partnering with local massage therapists, or even getting someone to come in and talk to employees on local opportunities to promote wellness.
Invest in your businesses future
As a whole, taking care of employees has long-term effects that result in employee retention, satisfaction, and overall increased quality of the workplace. By doing this it can increase job satisfaction and in return job loyalty among your workers.
Generally, if you don't already implement health practices in the workweek, it is a good idea to start. Invest in your employees so they can invest in you!