From healthy potluck lunches and recipe exchanges to plank challenges and steps competitions, our program has become more than just an employee benefit that makes us a great place to work (or a “Best Place to Work,” as designated by Florida Trend six years running!). Wellness has become part of our culture. We all dig into the candy jar sometimes, but we are also much more conscientious of how much we move, how we de-stress, and what we eat.
A 2014 study by Virginia Tech College of Engineering showed unhealthy workers are less productive, more likely to get injured, and need longer rest breaks than employees with a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. So it’s not surprising that a recent study from Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) conducted by Harris Poll found a continued interest in workplace wellness programs. A large majority of employers say their workplace wellness program positively impacts workers’ health (82 percent), and productivity and performance (80 percent). Employers also reported that their workplace wellness program positively impacts healthcare costs (72 percent).
A healthy workplace does not create itself. There must be a strategy and a commitment to making workplace wellness successful, from the top of management down to the employee level. The good news is, success can happen for your workplace just as it has for MCG. And you’ll be part of a growing number of businesses that see the wellness program ROI: healthier employees, healthier company, healthier bottom line.
- Start small: You don’t have to install a full gym or hire a healthy chef to start a wellness program. It can be as simple as making lunchtime walks a part of the routine in months when that fresh air will clear minds and renew your team for the afternoon. Or sharing recipes. Or challenging co-workers to beat you in steps on your fitness trackers.
- Make it a team effort: Get buy-in from your team by making them part of the planning process. We do a staff meeting at the start of the year to see what the team liked from last year, and what new things they want to try.
- Make it fun: Barking at a team member to drop the donut is not fun. But a kickball happy hour event is. Lecturing co-workers on how bad it is to sit all day isn’t fun. Hosting a daylong challenge involving a minute of planks or squats every hour, is fun.
- Establish incentives: It’s amazing what people will do for a prize, even a small one. Wellness incentive ideas range from gift cards for coffee or healthy meals, to an extra vacation day. Find what works for your team.
- Recognize successes: The whole point of a wellness program is to see employees reach their health goals. So when someone reaches a milestone that came with the help of your wellness offerings, be sure to give employee recognition. It could be as simple as a shout out at a staff meeting, to featuring the winners of a fitness challenge in your company newsletter.
Are you already making employee wellness part of your culture? Tell us about it! And if you need help getting your program started, we can help!