Wellness in the workplace means different things for different people, but it is an overall effort to decrease discomfort through methods of improving physical and mental health in your organization. We devote a large portion of our lives to time spent in an office, so empowering your employees to be their best selves is a natural duty of corporate stewardship. In an effort to make your employees feel valued and cared for on a human level, start by gaining their favor and ideas into wellness programs because wellness is not a 'one-size-fits-all' approach. Emphasizing the importance of taking time for self-care will improve mood, retention, and overall sense of community. Implementing wellness programs in your office is a win-win because you are inherently reducing costs related to health-care expenses, all the while improving the longevity and vigor of your workforce.
Provide the Best Environment Possible
When coming up with ways to please your employees, providing a comfortable, welcome, nurturing environment, shows that you care about them on a personal level and want to help all of your employees become the best version of themselves.
The majority of people sit at their desks for several hours a day, which has been shown to poorly impact health. Assessing workplace ergonomics can help to redesign your workplace furniture and provide comfortable options that won't cause problems. The simple definition of “workplace ergonomics is the science that deals with designing and arranging the workplace environment so that people can it them easily and safely.” Identifying the best chairs, desks, lighting, colors, and layout to use substantially benefits employees as it appeals directly to their safety and comfort. Sit-stand Workstations are good options for those who want to get on their feet more. Encourage your employees to take frequent breaks to stretch and take a lap around the office.
Breakrooms are a good place to exercise your wellness initiatives. You can have informal discussions with your team members on ways to implement some wellness programs for your office, and it is a good place to get some feedback. Have some of your initiatives clearly displayed, like some stretches you can do to combat the effects of sitting, or healthy swaps you can make for some traditional snacks.
Provide healthy snacks and remove the temptation that easily accessible vending machine foods offer. It also helps your employees feel like they have options, and aren't forced to bring their own foods if they want to eat healthy. Get employee consensus on the types of foods they would like to see in the breakroom so they don't feel forced to eat the foods you recommend.
Activity is a good way to stimulate brain function and provide long-term positive health impacts. Incentivize your employees to exercise together and facilitate group classes a few times a month. Rewarding those employees who are stewards of the wellness program will help motivate others to get involved and champion the sense of camaraderie in your office.
Work can cause a scattered headspace, so it is also important as part of a holistic wellness program to include supporting activities of mindfulness and meditation. Host a morning meditation, or have a dedicated space for meditation and quiet time with some books for employees who want to clear their heads in the middle of the day.
Flexible Plan Guided by Feedback
One of the most important facets of workplace wellness is making sure that your workforce is on board. Setting goals as a group is a great way to keep everyone on track and accountable. It takes the support of your community and those who you surround yourself with to improve the motivation of the group. Have your employees share some hacks that help them lead healthier lives. As mentioned before, creating incentives and rewards for meeting your organization's wellness goals will help unite your group. Punishing those who do not participate will not drive the results you are looking for, and may only create resentment for not abiding by 'your plan'.
So come up with some easy ways to make small changes, track them over time both qualitatively and anecdotally to see if they are working, and be flexible in your methods. Workplace wellness is not something that is achieved overnight, but through proper education and empowerment, you will be able to tell rather quickly if you are moving in a positive direction.