What does organisational wellness mean for the workplace?
Stress and poor health and wellbeing cost the British economy billions every year (Who, 2017 ¹). Introducing wellness activities in your company can turn this around, improving employee productivity and motivation. Furthermore, a wellness program in your organisation can enhance your reputation amongst future employees and reduce attrition for the current workforce.
What does a wellness program involve?
Workplace wellness is any workplace health initiatives or organisational policy designed to support and encourage healthy behaviour in the workplace and to improve the health of the employees (Wikipedia, 2018 ²). Workplace wellness is also known as corporate wellbeing.
Examples of such programs include screenings for high blood pressure or other cardiovascular disease-related risk factors or smoking cessation programs. Here are some ideas that you could implement at your workplace from stress management to exercise and healthy eating promotion. There are also prevention programs which target reducing behaviour that is considered a risk factor for poor health.
Set up a fitness centre or gym discounts
Do you have a spare empty room? Why not turn it into a makeshift gym complete with a few fitness machines if you can afford it. Or if there is a gym nearby, they should be happy to offer a discounted rate if you encourage your employees to sign up.
You can provide your staff with healthy cereals, fresh fruit and low-fat yoghurt at least once a week. Furthermore, you can educate your staff about healthy eating habits by bringing a nutritionist. Alternatively, if your workplace has a functional kitchen, you could hire a professional chef to show your employees some healthy and straightforward recipes they can prepare for work or home.
Why not provide your employee with a healthy food snack like fruits? The fruit is an excellent and appealing dietary choice that combines great taste and dense nutrition. It offers a source of natural energy, as well as providing essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre which will help prevent chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer, and diabetes.
Provide health checks
Arranging routine check-ups at your office means your workforce will stay on top of their health without having to take time off. From blood pressure to checking the cholesterol levels, eyesight or BIM tests could be something you could offer to your staff. Health checks only take a few minutes.
This is one of the most popular wellness programs, and there are many companies available that can help you with this services. On-site massage therapy works wonders for physical and mental wellbeing.
For those companies that don't have a big budget here are some ideas:
As numerous studies have shown, sitting for prolonged periods of time can be harmful to the health of employees. Our bodies were not designed to sit for long periods, which is why doing so creates a lot of health risks (Geraci Spine and Sports, 2015 ³). A standing desk can improve staff health and reduce the chance of getting ill and for employees to take sick days.
You don't need to pay an instructor it can be another member of the staff that can be the fitness instructor, lead your colleagues in a morning walk, yoga class, stretching session or even a Zumba class.
Spending your lunch break in a state of calm and contemplation can eliminate stress and anxiety and improve mindfulness throughout the workday. Those who have tried meditation at work have reported a 46% increase in innovation and creativity, and 66% said they felt less stressed (Chopra, 2017 ⁴).
Flexible working hours
It’s no surprise that employees want flexible working schedule as it can give them the right balance between the work and personal life. It can also help them for example not being stuck in rush hour traffic or with the school run. By giving your staff the freedom to organise their schedules, you’ll have a happier, more productive team.
Flexible annual holiday
Some British companies now offer unlimited yearly leave to their employees. By putting trust in your staff, you’re encouraging them to take responsibility and better appreciate their job.
Healthy Employees = Healthy Business
Offering your staff, a wide range of wellness activities will ensure the organisational culture of your workplace is a healthy one, with staff productivity and mood being positive all-round. But don't forget if you offer your staff a benefits package makes sure it’s communicated. Benefits such as free eye tests or reduced gym membership work wonders in making personnel feel valued and increase productivity, but that could get lost if is not communicated.
- World Health Organization (2017) “Stress at the workplace” [online] available from: http://www.who.int/occupational_health/topics/stressatwp/en/ [accessed January 2018]
- Wikipedia (2018) “Workplace Wellness” [online] available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workplace_wellness [accessed January 2018]
- Geraci Spine and Sports (2015) The Problem With Sitting [online] accessed from: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-40415555 [accessed 6th July 2017]
- Tamara Lechner (2017) Corporate Meditation How and Why Big Businesses are promoting Meditation [online] available from: http://www.chopra.com/articles/corporate-meditation-how-and-why-big-businesses-are-promoting-meditation [accessed January 2018]