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Building a Culture of Wellness: Practical Strategies for National Employee Wellness Month A company’s employees must be healthy as well. Despite this, spending all day sitting at a desk can harm a person. This sedentary lifestyle can lead to serious health issues,...

By John Rampton

This story originally appeared on Calendar

A company’s employees must be healthy as well. Despite this, spending all day sitting at a desk can harm a person. This sedentary lifestyle can lead to serious health issues, such as diabetes, cancer, poor cardiovascular health, and premature death.

Aware of the need to enhance awareness surrounding these topics, Virgin Pulse launched Employee Wellbeing Month in 2009. Since then, organizations have celebrated workplace health improvement every June.

In short, this month-long campaign promotes physical, mental, and emotional health through a variety of programs and activities. It seeks to support employees’ well-being. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of employee wellness and the ways organizations can participate.

Why is Employee Wellness Important?

The benefits of prioritizing employee wellness are numerous. Here are a few reasons why it’s important:

  • Improved employee health. Healthy employees take fewer sick days, resulting in lower healthcare costs for the company and employees. Healthy habits, such as exercise, nutrition, and stress management, can be encouraged through wellness programs.
  • Increased productivity and engagement. Employees who are happy and healthy are more focused and productive. They also take initiative and strive for excellence and are more likely to be engaged in their work.
  • Reduced absenteeism and presenteeism. Stress and burnout are less likely to cause employees to miss work when they feel supported and valued. In addition, they are less likely to be physically present but mentally exhausted, a condition known as presenteeism.
  • Enhanced employee retention. A strong wellness program tends to decrease employee turnover in companies. When employees feel their well-being is a priority, they are more likely to be loyal and satisfied, which reduces recruitment and onboarding costs.
  • Improved Company Culture: Focusing on employee wellness creates a positive and supportive work environment where employees feel respected and valued. This fosters collaboration, teamwork, and a sense of belonging.

Making National Employee Wellness Month More Than Just a Slogan

National Employee Wellness Month can be celebrated in a variety of ways, but more importantly, wellness initiatives can be integrated year-round. To get you started, here are some ideas:

Physical Wellness

  • On-site fitness classes or gym memberships. Provide yoga, pilates, and other fitness classes at the office or provide discounts at local gyms.
  • Healthy food options. Encourage healthy eating by providing healthy snacks in the break room or subsidizing local cafe lunches.
  • Walking challenges or walking meetings. You can encourage movement by organizing walking challenges or holding meetings while walking outside.
  • Ergonomic assessments and equipment. Invest in standing desks, chairs, and other equipment to prevent musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Host wellness events. Promote wellness. This can be through events such as health fairs, wellness challenges, and speaker sessions on topics such as nutrition, fitness, and mental health. In addition to being informative, these events can motivate employees as well.

Mental Wellness

  • Stress management workshops. Provide time management workshops, mindfulness meditation workshops, or training in mindfulness meditation.
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). Provide confidential counseling services to help employees manage work or personal stress.
  • Normalize power napping. It has been proven that taking a mid-day snooze or ‘power nap’ can reduce personal stress, improve focus, help memory, and increase health.
  • Paid time off and flexible work arrangements. Offer flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options, to improve work-life balance.
  • Mental health awareness campaigns. Promoting awareness and encouraging open conversations about mental health are ways to raise awareness.

Financial Wellness

  • Financial literacy workshops. Organize workshops to teach employees how to budget, save for retirement, and manage their debt effectively.
  • Discounted financial services. Offer discounted financial counseling or investment services to employees in partnership with financial institutions or advisors.
  • Employee wellness programs that include financial incentives. Some wellness programs offer rewards or incentives to help people complete healthy activities or reach wellness goals. The key is to ensure that these programs do not create pressure or unhealthy competition but promotes healthy habits.

Social Wellness

  • Team-building activities. Provide social events and team-building activities to help employees connect with each other and build relationships.
  • Host fun office events. Corporate events are a great way to liven up the workplace and create lasting memories. Employees can also bond with their colleagues and de-stress by attending these events. Think about throwing a fun-filled party to celebrate your company’s anniversary.
  • Volunteer opportunities. Provide paid time off for employee volunteering or organize company-wide volunteer events to encourage employee volunteerism.
  • Employee recognition programs. Foster a positive and supportive work environment by recognizing and celebrating employee achievements.
  • Establish employee resource groups (ERGs). ERGs based on shared interests, backgrounds, or experiences provide employees with the opportunity to connect and feel a sense of belonging.

Engaging Your Employees in Wellness Activities

In addition to offering a variety of wellness options, employers must also ensure employee participation. Here are some tips for maximizing employee engagement:

  • Leadership buy-in. Leadership should actively support and participate in wellness initiatives. Employees will see this as a powerful message.
  • Communication is key. Provide employees with clear information about the program’s benefits and how to participate.
  • Get employee input. To develop effective wellness initiatives, you should survey your employees to learn about their needs and interests.
  • Make wellness programs accessible and inclusive. Offer programs and activities at different times and locations to accommodate diverse schedules and needs.
  • Promote programs effectively. Promote your wellness programs’ benefits through multiple channels, including company newsletters.
  • Celebrate successes. To foster motivation, recognize and celebrate employee achievements in wellness programs.

Shining Examples: How Companies are Prioritizing Employee Well-being

Many companies go the extra mile to create a culture of well-being for their employees. Let’s take Google as an example. As a wellness leader, the company offers employees benefits such as onsite wellness centers, mental health apps, and financial coaching.

Having focused on employee wellness since 1978, Johnson & Johnson continues to lead the way with innovative benefits such as a resilience app for new parents, childcare support for new families, and daily well-being reminders.

Furthermore, American Express has received recognition from the Business Group on Health for 11 consecutive years for its commitment to employee wellness. The company offers a wide range of wellness services, including free coaching, onsite and virtual fitness classes, in-house wellness centers, and Healthy Minds mental health programs.

Building a Healthier Future

It’s no secret that employee health is fundamental to a company’s success, and National Employee Wellness Month highlights this link. By prioritizing wellness, businesses cultivate a healthier, happier, and more productive environment. As a result, thriving organizational cultures and improved performance are fostered.

FAQs

What is National Employee Wellness Month?

During National Employee Wellness Month in June, organizations focus on employee well-being. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the connection between a healthy workforce and a successful company.

Why is Employee Wellness Important?

Employees who are happy and healthy are more productive, engaged, and loyal. Wellness programs can reduce absenteeism, improve morale, and create a more positive and productive work environment.

What can Employers do to Foster Employee Wellness?

  • Offer wellness programs. Various activities can be offered, such as health screenings, fitness challenges, healthy cooking demonstrations, or stress management workshops.
  • Promote work-life balance. Consider flexible working arrangements, generous paid time off, and a culture discouraging long hours.
  • Recognize and reward employees. Celebrate your employees’ accomplishments and show appreciation for their hard work.
  • Create a supportive work environment. Develop a sense of belonging, open communication, and teamwork.

I’m an Employee. How Can I Participate in National Employee Wellness Month?

Your HR department can provide information about any company’s wellness programs. In addition, you can take personal responsibility for your well-being this month (and beyond!):

  • Make a list of goals for your wellbeing
  • Consider healthy options at work (healthy snacks, walking breaks)
  • When you are not at work, disconnect from your work
  • Relaxation and sleep should be prioritized

Employers and employees can create a healthier and more productive work environment.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels

The post Building a Culture of Wellness: Practical Strategies for National Employee Wellness Month appeared first on Calendar.

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