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May, 2019

4 Ways to Kickstart Your Employee Wellness Program

Four Ways to Kickstart Your Employee Wellness Program

In today’s business world, it seems there are more employee programs available than ever before. Whether it’s a mentorship, volunteer, or health and wellness program, these perks are becoming the norm for most businesses.

Employees are looking beyond paychecks and vacation plans when it comes to company benefits. They want to work for a company that cares about its employees’ well-being. Employee Health and Wellness programs need to be a priority for companies because of the positive benefits for employees and employers. We are celebrating Global Employee Health and Fitness Month in May with a few ideas to kickstart your company’s wellness program.

Why Employee Health and Wellness is Important

Employees who take advantage of work-sponsored health and wellness programs are more productive than their less involved coworkers. More than half of employers offering and measuring wellness efforts saw a decrease in absenteeism and 67% said their employees are more satisfied at work. You can reap these kinds of benefits without creating a robust wellness program. Simply implementing a few events and activities can create a better employee experience.

Incorporating Wellness into the Workplace

Not only do health and fitness programs reduce absenteeism and increase productivity among employees, but they also decrease employee costs. Absenteeism can cost small businesses between $16 and $81 per employee, and large employers between $17 and $286 annually. Cut these unnecessary costs by introducing a few of these ideas into your employee health and wellness program:

Host Health Awareness Events

Host Health Awareness Events

Not sure where to begin with your employee health and fitness program? Start by talking to your employees and learning what health-related causes are important to them. Then you can develop awareness events like seminars, weekly and monthly fitness challenges, or even health-check reminders. Not to mention, this can be a great way to improve employee engagement. Need a few more ideas? Try hosting a seminar on heart-healthy office snacks in February for American Heart Month or starting a company-wide fitness day on the American Diabetes Association’s National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day.

Start a Company Garden

Start a Company Garden

If paying for employee gym memberships or extended lunch hours for exercising doesn’t fit in the budget, consider starting a company garden. Employees will reap many benefits from company gardens including physical activity, fresh produce, an outside break with fresh air, and social interactions with other departments. Still not sure about the health benefits of gardening? Tilling some soil can compare to moderate cardiovascular exercise (think jogging, swimming, biking) and gardening 30-45 minutes a day can burn anywhere from 150-300 calories.

Create a Weekly Fitness Day

Create a Weekly Fitness Day

Employees can find it difficult to fit in a workout along with other responsibilities they hold inside and outside of work. Dedicate a weekly fitness day for employees to go for a walk, meditate, or head to the gym. With 60% of employees not getting adequate exercise, holding a weekly fitness day may help your employees jumpstart their fitness journey, even if it’s just an hour a week.

Don't Forget About Emotional Wellness

Don’t Forget About Emotional Wellness

While most employers think of physical health when it comes to employee health, don’t let the emotional wellness of your employees go unchecked. It’s crucial to make employee emotional health just as important as physical health, as one in five adults in the United States experiences mental illness in a given year. Employees who have positive emotional wellness perform better in their career duties because they are feeling their best while at work. Consider providing meditation and stress management programs, mental health educational seminars, and mental health days to keep your workers happy emotionally.

Let’s Get Active

Global Employee Health and Fitness Month is celebrated in May, but you can create your employee wellness program any time of the year. Start with small activities like a company garden or a weekly fitness day, then survey employees to get their feedback on initial activities and things they would like to see in the program. You can develop a program based on employee feedback that includes activities your staff will actually want to participate in. Any health and wellness opportunities you provide for your employees today will help promote positive emotional wellness, productivity, and employee satisfaction at work tomorrow.

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