Wellness denotes our awareness of the current state of our health in the physical capacity as well as mental, social, spiritual, and our overall lifestyle as a whole which includes the workplace where employee wellness programs have started to be implemented. In developing wellness, we are being given the necessary tools, motivation, and support that we require in order to make changes to live the optimal life. All of the primary dimensions of wellness have their own sub-dimensions.
- Physical wellness. This dimension includes your physical health, appearance, physical fitness. The idea with physical wellness is not to only understand and avoid illness or disease but to realize that your health can be fleeting and the body needs to be prepared with the proper exercise regimen as well as a whole, healthy diet plan and a strong mind through the use of some type of anti-stress method such as meditation.
- Mental wellness. Within this dimension there is a need to maintain a certain aptitude for learning, produce a strong personal philosophy, and achieve a foundation that is full of knowledge that is useful.
- Social wellness. You should always be sure to create and sustain close, positive and healthy relationships. The character that you portray along with the role that you maintain in the area in which you live as well as your portion of the world has a great impact on those around you.
- Spiritual wellness. Being spiritually aware means that you are beginning to understand your life’s purpose. You have started to develop the gifts and talents that you have been given in such a way that has a positive influence on the world and you are in touch with your own spirituality.
- Lifestyle Wellness. When you are aware as far as your lifestyle is concerned, this will affect your work and your workplace as well as the time that you spend off hours at home. Many of us spend a large portion of the day within the work environment meaning that the workplace affects your wellness greatly.
Benefits of An Employee Wellness Program
Because the workplace affects your wellness so significantly, it would make sense that employers do their part to implement an employee wellness program within the company benefits programs as an incentive to their employees. Many businesses in the modern workplace are finding benefit with these programs such as decreased absenteeism, lower healthcare costs, and higher recruitment rates. Other advantages include:
- Healthy employees. Offering incentives such as exercise facilities are allowing employees opportunities to workout where they had none previously. This is leading to employees with much better overall health which is a priority for the employer in order to decrease missed work and the need for frequent visits to the doctor. As obesity in America has reached staggering levels, businesses need to play a role in promoting exercise and healthy living as part of their wellness programs. Exercise is a surefire way for employees to learn how to burn calories at work and stay in shape overall.
- Productive employees. If the employees are much healthier and becoming more active, they will also produce more in their work. A large part of this is because they won’t be missing time and, while at work, they will be more motivated to get the work done. The companies whose employees are producing more have a much lower bottom line at the end of the day than those in competition with them.
- Happy Employees. Employees who are healthier are going to be much happier as well. A wellness program being implemented into the workplace is a major boost to the employees’ morale. When teamwork is a priority within a business, it is crucial that the employees be happy and find coming to work enjoyable. It is also critical that each member be motivated to work compatible with each other.
- Healthcare. There are many insurance companies that are providing businesses with a decrease in costs for offering their employees the opportunity to use fitness devices in order to encourage activity within the workplace. In using the data that the devices gather, the providers can decrease their rates for those companies that are promoting healthier lifestyles to their employees.
- Recruitment. Competition for new talent can be tough in businesses today. Offering a good wellness program as part of a company benefits package is very attractive to a potential employee and gives an employer an edge over their competition in the marketplace. Someone with top skills has the opportunity to work anywhere they choose, but if they see that a business cares about their employees enough to provide them with a solid wellness program, they’ll sign on with that company over one that is paying top dollar.
7 Great Examples Of Employee Wellness Programs That Work
As the work environments around us progress into the future, one of the signs of a top-notch company is the quality of the wellness program that they implement into their benefits package in order to entice new talent and retain the ones that they have on board. Whether the company is large or small, having some type of wellness program is going to be beneficial for that business in the long run.
** Encourage Alternative Journeys to Work
This wellness program is two-fold as it promotes employee health while at the same time providing for an eco-friendly environment. Rather than driving to work, employees are given the opportunity to use alternatives to come to work each day. Those who live close have the opportunity to walk in. There is also the option of cycling or grouping together for car pools in order to save fuel.
By encouraging the employees who live close to walk into work, employers are promoting an active lifestyle for their employees which in turn brings health benefits. The benefits of walking daily for 30 minutes alone has the potential to increase a person’s cardiovascular fitness, reduce excess body fat, strengthen your bones, elevate the power of muscles and increase your endurance. These walks also have the potential to decrease your risks for diseases inclusive of heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and some forms of cancers. Not to mention, with walking for 30 minutes each day, you have the likelihood of losing weight. But if it’s simply too far to walk, there is always cycling.
If you trade your vehicle in for a bicycle, you’ll see massive benefits as far as your health, financially, and in the traffic that you run into.
- Financial savings. No need to pay for gas, particularly the amount that you burn up while sitting in traffic and you save on the wear and tear from driving your car back and forth to work every single day as well as parking.
- Health. You’ll enhance your health and fitness by starting and ending the day with a good cardio workout which improves heart health and increases muscle strength. There is also the decrease in risk for diabetes, some forms of cancer, and an overall healthy body weight.
- Mental benefits. There is an elevation in mood when you perform a good cardio activity in the fresh air. This can potentially decrease the chances for depression.
- Environment. You’ll be doing your part for the environment when you stop driving and start cycling. This decreases your carbon footprint and we know every little bit helps.
Those who are just unable to come to work without using a vehicle should gather together with others who are in the same situation and car pool. This saves the entire group from the costs of fuel, encourages employee interaction and socialization, and is eco-friendly all at the same time.
**Try Office Yoga
Yoga is finding its way into many workplaces as part of their wellness programs. Many employees practice during their lunch breaks or while they have free time. Those who are enjoying this perk are finding a lower stress level in the workplace, enjoying less back pain, much greater confidence, better focus, and a greater sense of peace of mind. In addition they are experiencing higher energy levels to combat the afternoon slump that is typical of a standard workday. Practicing Yoga also gives the employee a much needed break away from work to refresh, regroup, and renew.
**Enforcing Lunch Breaks
Employees strive regularly to perform at their peak in the workplace oftentimes working above and beyond their hours, working through breaks and skipping lunch altogether. Ultimately, this approach is not only ineffective, it’s not healthy. Working by chaining yourself to the desk leads to poor mental well-being, production, and overall work performance as well as chronic stress which eventually lands on job burnout.
Regular breaks in the workplace in turn create much better employees. Taking a lunch break allows the employee to rejuvenate themselves and feel prepared to get back to work at top performance. This is why it’s important for employers to encourage their employees to not only take a break at lunch time but engage in regular breaks throughout the course of their work day.
** Introduce Mindfulness Practices
It can be difficult to tune out all of the distractions running through our brain at any given time throughout the day in order to focus on specific tasks or particular conversations, especially in the work environment. Being mindful and present, however, denotes a person who is able to concentrate and be productive. As an employer, it is becoming essential to show your employees how to practice mindfulness at work in an effort to reduce stress and increase the level of efficiency among the workforce. In order to do this, the employer must first be able to lead by example with their own level of mindfulness and then incorporate these time periods during the day where employees have the opportunity to break away from work in order to practice their own techniques.
**Stress Management Strategies At Work
Excess stress on the work front can cause many real physical health symptoms including stomach upset, headaches, chest pain, increased blood pressure, and difficulty with sleeping as well as playing a part with mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Employers are finding ways to encourage employees to participate in a variety of different stress management strategies with their employee wellness programs in an effort to relieve some of this.
- Positive relationships. By forming positive relationships, this encourages the employees to talk about their stresses which can actually alleviate some of it. Friends are not able to always solve issues, but just being able to speak about it and get it out in the open with someone you trust, decreases the severity and, at times, can clear things up for you.
- Exercise. Endorphins are released and moods are elevated with regular exercise which is a natural stress reliever. Exercise can serve as a form of active meditation and provide a calming effect on the mind and body. You should allow for approximately 30 minutes of regular exercise each day.
- Whole, healthy, nutrition. A majority of people will turn to comfort foods when they are stressed which typically equals unhealthy snacks. Generally stress causes our brain to release cortisol, a hormone that causes us to crave sweet, salty, and fatty foods for the limited comfort that they allow. These foods only cause our bodies to become lazy and unable to focus where healthy foods enhance concentration, fuel our brains, and allow us to deal with whatever problems we may be facing.
- Sleep. Stress and insomnia go hand-in-hand and not sleeping affects your ability to deal with any amount of stress in an effective way. Lack of sleep affects the outlook that you have and your mood in a negative way. You shouldn’t expect that you’ll be able to decrease stress when you’re already on edge and irritated from not having any sleep.
Dealing with stress at work is a real problem, but employers are taking note of it and finding ways to teach their employees ways in which to manage their levels so that it doesn’t get to a point where it’s affecting their health.
** Supplying Healthy Snacks
Businesses are turning to wholesome, healthy, nutritional snack foods for employees as this is what a majority of people are turning to in order to satisfy their hunger, stay fit and remain healthy. Providing healthy snacks as part of your employee wellness program shows employees that they are cared for, that their welfare is important, and that they are appreciated. Studies show that employees who receive free, healthy food in the workplace feel valued and are happy within their work environment.
There are also benefits of healthy snacks for the employer. An employee who is snacking on healthy food is going to experience a boost in brain power, regulated mood, curbed cravings during the long day, and be energized enough to stay motivated throughout the course of the day. These employees will be efficient, effective, and productive.
A good wellness program is going to create an environment where the employee morale is uplifted and easily maintained. This is going to improve the lives of those who work there while they're at work and on their off time. And it will ultimately result in the success of the company as a whole.