Every business relies on its employees for its success. Healthy staff members are happier, more productive, and contribute the most to your bottom line. As a responsible employer, you can help your employees lead healthier lifestyles, improve their well being, and lower your absentee costs.
Create a wellness program and resources for your employees
The best place to start is with a wellness program that directly addresses your employee’s health care and lifestyle needs. The breadth and depth of the program is up to you. At a minimum it should provide access to resources, articles, and tools to help employees measure, understand, and manage their health risks. For example:
- Advice on eating well, getting the right nutrition, and changing eating habits.
- Building exercise into daily life and effective fitness routines for all ages and abilities.
- Common medical and healthcare issues, including how to identify and treat them.
- Health guidelines on smoking, alcohol, and other areas.
When you have a health program in place, you will need to get your staff to sign up. That means positive communications focusing on the benefits of looking after yourself, combined with a practical approach to well being. Demonstrate how small changes in behavior can lead to big improvements in well being.
Encourage staff with positive feedback
Reward, recognition, and feedback create a virtuous circle. When employees start to use the wellness program, ensure they’re recognized and rewarded. That means giving positive encouragement, incentivizing them, and good conversations between them and their colleagues.
Positive social peer pressure at work can help maintain the momentum of a wellness program, so create social programs. Customize feedback and encouragement to individual staff members and reward the behaviors that matter.
Provide the right subsidies and incentives
One of the best ways to motivate your staff is through financial incentives and subsidies. Provide discounts to healthy eating food chains or restaurants. Offer to partly subsidize gym memberships or personal trainers. Offer paid time off for healthy activities, especially if it’s helping out in your local community. Grant small loans for in-home gym equipment or bicycles.
You could even provide wearable technology to track activity levels, or smartphone apps that can help employees monitor calorie consumption.
Get health experts to talk to your staff
Bring in outside experts to talk to your employees about healthier living. You could hire a nutritionist to talk about dieting, or a fitness instructor to discuss exercise routines. Think about holding classes over several weeks, designed to help your employees get and stay fit.
Create a well being environment
Support employee wellness through policies and processes. Ensure everyone gets enough break time to get outside and take a walk. Create a working environment that’s good for the mind and the body. Well being is about more than just physical health, so ask your managers to help staff discuss any anxieties or issues that are causing them stress.
Well being doesn’t happen overnight. It’s all about making small, iterative changes that add up to lifestyle change. Make well being part of the DNA of your business, and you’ll find that health and happiness are good for everyone.
Dave Sinclair, CEO The WorkPlace Solution