Implementing a workplace wellness program can seem like a huge undertaking. Employers and HR managers may wonder: Is subsidized healthcare enough? Am I responsible for getting my employees to eat healthy? Companies with fewer than 500 employees may find these questions especially perplexing.
Yet, it’s possible to create a stellar wellness program—one that approaches health holistically and takes into account how healthy employees benefit a company overall. Shining examples can be found across industries, from consumer products to tech. Spotlighted here are practices that companies can employ to amp up their wellness offerings, and small-to-medium size companies who lead by example when it comes to workplace wellness.
Nutritious onsite meals have become part of the new normal in office health, but some companies go well beyond healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner offerings. Onsite chefs sourcing local, in-season produce for daily three square meals can raise a company’s food game, making employees likely to eat these nutritious meals since they are provided in-house.
To help employees with their physical health, a daily yoga and a nap room can also make a world of a difference. Both have been shown to reduce stress. Yoga’s manifold benefits are widely known: practicing during the working day can help employees lower anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, and even help boost and maintain weight loss. It can also counteract the negative impact of all-day sitting. Adequate sleep is elusive to many, and a lack of it is detrimental to work. A nap room provides people with the opportunity to reset and de-stress.
With holistic health in mind, it is also important to pay close attention to the mental well-being of employees. Companies that can look at the health needs and goals of individuals and shape wellness offerings accordingly help to set employees up for success. Of course, this benefits employers, whose ultimate goal is to have more productive employees who are better equipped to handle the challenges of the workplace, and to position a company for success.
It is one thing to give employees healthy options, it is quite another to get them to act. Proximity to nature certainly helps. This Boulder ad agency encourages employees to climb a Colorado 14er (a mountain peak at least 14,000 feet high) and snap a picture, to earn $1,000 for the charity of their choice. The mountains tend to make a good gym: Park City’s Skullcandy, a performance audio brand, gives its employees discounted season ski passes, and “powder days,” no-questions-asked late days after a fresh snow. For those less inclined to hit the slopes, Skullcandy also reimburses employees for gym memberships and offers weekly lunchtime workout classes. It also has some of the best trail running and mountain biking outside its new HQ for employees to get some fresh air at lunch.
Giving employees time and space away from work is also part of the wellness approach. Communications software company Bandwidth encourages 90-minute lunch breaks, so that employees have time to exercise, rest, or even prepare a healthy, thoughtful meal. There’s no guarantee that employees will make the right choices during this time—but the rest and time away from the office will at least give minds and eyes a break, and will probably improve overall productivity.
Good health may be invaluable, but healthy employees could mean increased productivity and better company output. By neglecting to invest in the wellness of their people, employers fail to get the most out of their talent because they likely aren’t as productive—or even present. Even at smaller companies, where funds and resources for health programs may be scarce, options for workplace wellness can be found organically by prioritizing the wellness of employees for the greater good of the company. Employers that capture and capitalize on those options are bound to reap the reward: the wealth of health.
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