It’s the start of Q2, and you just received an email that makes you consider implementing a “wellness challenge” at the office. It’s not the first time you’ve heard this word used. Wellness is a highly publicized buzzword flying around these days. The real question is, are there really any benefits in implementing workplace wellness programs for the employer and employees?
Sure, there’s a general increase in well-being and feeling good, that’s great. But what are some concrete benefits in the work setting? Furthermore, why should you consider to bring about this wellness challenge given that you have several Q2 goals to hit with your team.
We’ve put together a brief list addressing frequently asked questions to solve all your qualms and prepare you for a wellness benefits meeting with your team.
To start, what is a workplace wellness program?
You can’t consider workplace wellness before you understand the history. In the 1920s during the Progressive Era, US labor rights advocates were drawing awareness to sweatshops, occupational health hazards, and various campaigns for better labor practices. As the workforce began to shift more toward desk jobs, employers continued to ensure the health and safety of their employees while maintaining the same principals from the past. Wellness programs began as an extension of the labor rights movement.
A workplace wellness program is generally customized to the company culture and preferences on the team members onboard. It reflects industry best practices and places the company on a roadmap for achieving its health & wellness goals.
A wellness program can look like anything from a workshop on health education, weekly onsite yoga and mindfulness classes for stress management, a special one-time class on nutrition, or team building events and activities.
During each initial assessment, a good corporate wellness expert will ask a series of specific questions developed through various high-profile consulting agencies to determine the right blend of wellness activities to fit company culture and budget.
Why does my company need workplace wellness?
While the decision to implement a workplace wellness program varies by team and company culture, today's average full-time employee spends about 9 hours a day at work, not including commute time or any work completed after hours.
When workplace wellness is offered on site to employees, it has been shown to reduce stress, alleviate physical ailments common to sedentary work environments, and boost energy levels and focused productivity.
A strategically implemented wellness program can, therefore, reduce health care costs, increase productivity and lower attrition rates over time. Additionally, attracting the right talent means offering the right mix of salary, benefits, and perks.
What are the benefits of implementing a workplace wellness program?
As mentioned above, stress management, alleviating physical ailments, and boosting energy levels are just a few of the benefits reaped from implementing wellness programs at work.
Research reports and news articles consistently tout the benefits of weekly wellness programming including energizing employees, improving immunity, boosting levels of concentration and memory and so much more when implemented properly. Best of all, these classes add a little extra fun to the workplace!
Furthermore, studies are proving that incorporating workplace wellness programs into people’s lives increases the chance of long-term healthy behavior such as increased exercise habits, smoking cessation, and mood enhancement. The key to success in implementing a workplace wellness program is consistency for employees, pulling data, and documenting the results.
Additionally, there’s a social benefit to it allowing different teams and individuals to come together outside of meetings or project deadlines. Often co-workers from different departments don’t get a chance to get to know each other especially when companies start to reach the 100 + employees mark. Wellness programming allows for healthy social gathering across different departments.
Who participates in them?
This will depend on the specific wellness program offered but generally, employees motivated by the stick who are looking to relieve aches and pains will partake because they truly need the activities as a therapeutic tool. On the other side employees who like the carrot, seeking relaxation, gratitude, and contentment will also partake in the fun opportunities to do something else in the office.
Why do people participate in workplace wellness programs?
Namely, trying to stay focused, motivated and productive for 9-plus hours a day can be stressful. When a well-executed wellness program is implemented, people are given mindful breaks throughout their workday allowing them to consistently refocus and show up better upon their return. They’re also inspired by the fun and energy they feel after participating, encouraging them to further pursue similar activities outside of work.
Here’s a direct quote from someone receiving onsite corporate wellness classes that summarizes employee experience:
"Thank you for offering an awesome yoga class. Not only does it get me away from my desk for a break but also I come back feeling tons better. I can let things go for an hour then come back and tackle my job without stress. I am grateful for this class. It is truly a healthy way to decompress and refocus. Many thanks!"
How do I get started?
If you’re ready to implement the wellness challenge into your office you’ll need to consider the following:
Start by looking at your budget. How much can you allocate per month for a wellness program?
Secondly, assess the needs of your employees by taking a quick survey on what they prefer, want and need.
Or save time and reach out to corporate wellness experts, like NWCY! As experts in the industry, we assist you through the process, including strategically designed surveys, engagement opportunities, and proper implementation techniques to build your personalized wellness program.
Want more info? Enter your email address to download an infographic with the highlights of wellness programs for employers and employees to help spread the word about your new on-site wellness program today!
In summary, reviewing the competitive advantage of including on-site wellness programs is to your advantage. Employees will enjoy increased focus, relaxation, stress-relief, and fewer aches and pains. Employers enjoy a positive work environment with employees who know you care, increased retention rates, and decreased healthcare costs when implemented correctly over time.