Companies are starting to realize the importance of wellness in the workplace. The evidence that fit and happy employees are more productive is mounting. But according to the folks at the Harvard Business Review, there is a right and a wrong way to go about implementing a wellness program. We’ve read the report and came up with a few suggestions you can start with.
Inspire Friendly Rivalry With A Ping Pong Table
If you are a small business owner than installing and outfitting a gym probably isn’t in the budget. But there are still ways to get people up and moving! A ping pong table is an inexpensive way to get people away from their desk. Not only does it get the heart rate up, it also stimulates the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Plus, who doesn’t want the outlet of acing a serve against their manager?
Keep Healthy Snacks in the Break room
Get rid of that ancient vending machine with its stale chips and sticky candy bars. Spend a little extra to make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks in the break room. Fresh vegetables, hummus, fruits, string cheese, and plain Greek yogurt will help people power through the 2pm doldrums.
Offer Discounted Gym Memberships
Many major insurance providers offer discounted rates for joining gyms. Make sure that your employees know about this benefit if your insurance company provides it.
Company Sports Teams
Nothing builds teamwork like being part of a team. Create a sense of togetherness and rekindle the inner child in your employees by letting them go out and kick a ball around together. See if your city has any intramural teams and incentivize your employees to join one.
Empower your employees to eat healthy by offering cooking classes! Most employees are tired of being drained by greasy takeout lunches (and tired of spending so much of their paycheck on them). But lunch is the bright spot in many people’s day, and a healthy take-home lunch can be a drag unless you know how to cook well. Corporate cooking programs are available in many large urban areas, and can get employees excited about eating healthy.
In-Office Health Screenings
Out of sight out of mind… That’s the unfortunate approach many take to their health. But in between 40+ hour work weeks, kids, home repairs, and more, it’s understandable that routine health screenings can slip lower on the priority list. Preventative care and early detection are important, it’s about finding a way to make it work for everyone. Bring the health screening to work so that employees can get a check-up while they’re on the clock.
Let Employees Be Themselves
All the items on this list will help make employees healthier, which could lead to an increase in productivity. But the best way to improve morale and keep employees stress free is to let them home to their families. Let them unplug from email on evenings and weekends. Don’t have them stay late and overburdened. Implementing a wellness program only nets benefits if it leads to a balanced work/home balance. Don’t force employees into a 6am zumba class they don’t want to go to.
OPTIONAL Step Competitions
To step, or not to step? That is the question. There’s no doubt that fitness trackers have turned office place step competitions into one of the most popular wellness initiatives out there. But forcing your employees to step in line can actually backfire. Cynics might suspect that their coworkers are cheating (and let’s face it: that totally happens). Meanwhile, employees might be resentful that their work life is imposing on their personal time. That little fitness tracker might keep people’s stress high if they are reminded of work every time they look down at their wrists.
That said, a step competition has obvious health benefits for those who are open to the idea. So give interested people the outlet if they want it. Just don’t make it mandatory.
Start A Wellness Library
If only every company could afford to have a professional nutritionist and yoga guru on permanent retainer. Then employees could have constant access to a qualified expert on matters relating to their health. Since that isn’t feasible, invest in a small library of cookbooks, yoga manuals, and other reads. The books don’t all need to be health related, since reading has health benefits of its own.