Companies throughout the world are beginning to implement wellness initiatives in the workplace in an effort to curb rising healthcare costs. These wellness initiatives can also empower employees to lead healthier lives, which in turn can lead to improved performance in the workplace.
A survey conducted in 2013 by the Rand Corporation on behalf of the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that approximately half of U.S. employers offer wellness initiatives in the workplace. That same survey found that these initiatives often involve wellness-screening activities designed to identify health risks and interventions to reduce risks and promote healthy lifestyles.
But wellness initiatives are not just about keeping the healthy, healthy. The most successful wellness initiatives in the workplace feature a little something for everyone — thereby attracting all types of employees.
And as evidence has shown, employees are more likely to take part in wellness initiatives in the workplace when the programming features a variety of activities. If your company is considering initiating a wellness program, take a look these 9 great wellness initiatives in the workplace:
- Health Interventions
A health intervention is an effort a company can employ to promote behaviors that optimize an employee’s physical health, as well as discourage them from taking part in behaviors considered potentially health-averse. These interventions are all about communicating with members in a serious and straightforward manner.
- Health Education
Education is perhaps one of the MOST important wellness initiatives in the workplace. Whether it is a lunchtime class or afternoon workshop, it’s important to teach employees about the relationships between diet and disease, evidence-based health outcomes achievable through healthy nutrition, food label reading, portion control and identifying healthy choices, to name a few.
- Encourage Physical Exercise
There are many ways an employer can turn the office into an active workplace, whether it be encouraging employees to walk/bike to work or providing shower facilities and lockers rooms for those who like to work out at lunch. And for those employees who aren’t quite ready to make physical exercise a daily routine, offering simple wellness activities like walking clubs or other incentives can be beneficial.
- Health Screenings
Bringing a health care professional into the workplace can be a good initiative because it adds another level of legitimacy to the overall wellness program. On-site health clinics are also effective because it allows employees to schedule office visits without having to take time off from work.
- Incentivize Wellness
A company can offer incentives to employees by paying for some or all of a gym membership. Some companies send their employees to personal trainers at lunchtime as a way to invest in their health as well as to encourage productivity.
- Specialized Programming
This wellness initiative targets a certain demographic within the workplace, such as those who smoke or others who may be considered obese. Providing specialized programming along with other activities is an inclusionary strategy that shows your employees that everyone’s health and wellness is important
- Cooking Classes
This wellness initiative is another form of education that will help an employee learn how to eat healthy both at work and at home. A company can bring in a dietitian or nutritionist during the lunch hour to demonstrate how to prepare simple, healthy meals and provide some suggestions on how to fit cooking into their busy work schedule
- Create Workplace Wellness Policies
Having a defined policy when it comes to wellness within the workplace is a fundamental initiative every company should have.
- Hire a Registered Dietitian
A registered dietitian can help employees convert nutrition knowledge into behavior change. The best way to accomplish this behavior change is by using a food tracking tool, such as a food journal. Food journaling serves many purposes: it helps individuals raise awareness about their eating habits, it serves as a tool of accountability (people are going to think twice about eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s if they know they have to write it down), and most importantly, it is a means for the dietitian to provide individual feedback to the employee and guide them in making healthier choices.
So as you can see, it’s not just about encouraging your employees to eat right or take the stairs every once in a while. These activities, while helpful, will do little to cut corporate healthcare costs and improve overall wellness. Variation in educational and interactive activities is what makes wellness initiatives in the workplace successful.
Culled From: www.kareliahealth.com