In the first part of our wellness in the workplace series, we talked about the benefits of having wellness in the workplace, if you have not read it, click here to read that article. Today, we will be sharing examples of workplace wellness initiatives to be implemented in the wellness program. This article would be particularly useful for employers who do not have any wellness program in place or would like to make sure they are providing a comprehensive wellness program.
A good company’s wellness program should incorporate different types of initiatives to nourish the mind, body, and soul of their people. Some initiatives could cost a lot of money, however, a good wellness program does not need to be too costly. There are many little things that a company can adopt immediately that do not cost extra. I will be sharing both the low-cost and high-cost wellness initiatives, but remember that in the end, the benefits will outweigh the cost of the program.
- Healthy snacks/ lunch
Most companies have a pantry and are already offering snacks to their employees. However, most of the time, those snacks are not the healthiest option. Companies could simply replace half of the unhealthy snacks with healthier snacks such as fruits, nuts, dark chocolate, and yoghurt. When we are hungry, we eat whatever we can see and find. Therefore, another small tweak that companies could implement is to place the healthier option on the counter of the pantry and at eye level while keeping the unhealthier snacks out of sight.
Companies can take a step further to provide healthy lunch to employees as well, this will significantly decrease the amount of unhealthy food that the employees will consume in the day.
Another initiative that does not involve additional cost is to allow employees to have naps. In the past napping at work is highly frowned upon, employees who are caught napping are thought to be lazy and unproductive. However, over the years more companies are starting to embrace ‘power’ naps and they even have sleeping pods in the offices and their employees could use them anytime. This is because according to several pieces of research conducted over the years, a 20-minute nap can help improve productivity, memory, lift mood and reduce stress. There are also times when an employee may have to work extra-long hours due to tight deadlines, a short nap can help an employee to push through without having to consume extra caffeine that may affect the sleep of the employee at night.
- Gamification of health program
Even though not everyone has a fitness tracker, almost everyone has a smartphone that can track the number of steps a person takes each day. Companies could create a challenge and reward the most active employee each week or month. This is just one example of how companies can use gamification to make their health program more interesting and motivating for employees. Companies could also allow employees to share photos of their healthy meals and rewarding those who shared a specific number of times per month. Another way to make fitness fun is to get a Nintendo Switch with games such as Ring Fit Adventure or Fitness Boxing. Companies can also outsource this process to third-party companies, many third-party companies offer fun and easy solutions can help to challenge employees to stay active.
- Fitness area in the office
If space permits, companies could consider dedicating a small area of the office to fitness, as it is not good to be sitting at the desk for 8 hours. It could include yoga mats, treadmills, dumbbells, punching bags, table tennis tables, etc. Employees can get together during lunch hour to do group yoga together or walk on the treadmill if they are experiencing the post-lunch slump. If it is not possible to have a fitness area in the office, companies can consider providing gym membership to their employees or tie-up with fitness centres to allow their employees to join at a discounted price.
- Fitness related team building events
Most companies already have team-building events, and they could make sure that a certain percentage of the events are related to health and fitness to get their employees moving.
- Health seminars and talks
There are times when people want to make changes, but they do not know how to, there are so many myths regarding health and wellness. Having a professional or someone from the organisation who is knowledgeable on the topic of health and wellness to give talks to employees could help to clear doubts, debunk myths, and even motivate employees to start making healthy changes in their lives.
- Smoking cessation programs.
It is not easy to quit smoking and many people tried but failed due to the lack of education and support. Having a smoking cessation program can help the employee’s chances of quitting, which could help improve their quality of life and health. It would also be beneficial to employers as this would help reduce the cost of medical and absenteeism.
- Office/ workspace design
The design of the office not only reflects on the organisation’s brand but also their work culture. Employees and future employees can get a sense of the culture and whether the company cares for their employees just by looking at the office design and layout. When talking about workspace design, people often only associate it with the aesthetic of the workplace. However, there is so much more than that, a well-designed office can promote good mental health and reduce burnout as it addresses several factors including lighting, air quality, and comfort. There is so much more to workspace design and how it can affect the wellbeing of employees and it is a whole topic on its own, therefore, I will be sharing more in the third part of this series.
Here are just some examples of wellness initiatives that an organisation can implement, the list goes on and on, even small, seemingly simple actions and gestures can have a significant impact on the wellbeing of an employee. There is no hard and fast rule of what you must include and how much you must spend when it comes to your company’s wellness program. The key is to get inputs from your employees to find out what they want.