Implementing a workplace wellness program is in the best interests of both employers and employees. A workplace wellness program reflects of an organization’s commitment to helping their employees make healthy lifestyle choices and improve their health. This can include providing tools and information about health-related topics, as well as establishing company policies that encourage and support healthy choices, such as guidelines for healthy snacks at meetings.
The impressive benefits of comprehensive workplace wellness programs have been established in numerous studies that have demonstrated increases in employee morale and productivity, improved appeal to potential recruits, and decreases in absenteeism and the costs associated with sick and disability leave.
Keys to success
The most successful workplace wellness programs are those that are embraced at the highest levels in the organization. When senior management recognize the benefits of a healthy workplace to both the business and the employees, they are more likely to get behind the idea with time and resources. By visibly showing their commitment and “walking the walk”, senior management influence and increase buy-in and participation of employees.
A workplace wellness champion is another key to success. Whether that champion is the top executive or someone else in the organization whose job description includes heading up the program, it’s most important that the champion is personally invested in improving their own health and engaging others to do the same.
It’s also important that a workplace wellness program meets the needs of all employees — no matter their current level of health. Asking your employees about the kind of information and activities they want can provide a sense of ownership and lead them to feel more engaged in the program’s success.
Creative, not costly
Wellness programs don’t need to be expensive. A little creativity can go a long way. Inexpensive incentive prizes, like gift cards for friendly wellness-based competition, or even just bragging rights on the company intranet or newsletter can keep employees interested, participating and having fun. That same newsletter is the perfect space for some information about healthy eating or other wellness tips. Adding a physical activity or healthy food choice to staff events and social activities is another simple way to enhance a workplace wellness program.
If you like the sound of workplace wellness but feel overwhelmed about where to start or are worried implementing a program will cost too much, check out WellnessFits – a free comprehensive workplace wellness program developed by the
Canadian Cancer Society and Healthy Families BC.
WellnessFits offers the resources and support you need to create healthy workplace programs. This includes online tools and information on healthy eating, physical activity, healthy minds, being tobacco-free, and sun and UV awareness. They offer options to address the different needs of small and medium sized businesses as well as customized support and consultation via phone, email and on-site visits. And all of this is completely free!