Many companies have taken the plunge into workplace wellness. Each year, more and more companies begin to offer wellness services including onsite flu clinics, biometric screenings and online platforms. While these are all steps in the right direction to achieve a healthy workforce, many employers don’t see the bigger picture.
Helping your employees get healthy takes more than monthly challenges or once a year screening. To truly make a difference in your employees’ wellness and sustain those results, an employer needs to create a culture of wellness. A culture of wellness will make health a part of your company’s mission and empower employees to get healthier, happier and more productive by creating healthy habits.
If you want your wellness initiative to yield sustainable results and keep a happy and productive workforce, it’s time to create a culture of wellness at your company.
What Is A Culture Of Wellness?
Creating a culture of wellness means fostering a workplace that encourages and promotes the well-being of your employees. It means implementing ways for employees to be healthier at the workplace and helping them create healthy habits in both their personal and professional lives.
Your employees are directly affected by the culture of your company. For employees to be motivated to become healthier and prioritize their wellness, you need to develop a workplace culture that supports and rewards healthy behavior change and habits. For example, a company that provides free donuts each week and demands overtime hours is creating a workplace culture that promotes unhealthy behaviors by supporting poor nutritional choices and disregarding work/life balance.
By creating a culture of wellness, you are ensuring that every component of your office environment is contributing to the development and reinforcement of a healthy lifestyle. Hosting healthy potlucks and providing an onsite gym, for example, will encourage positive nutritional choices and regular exercise – thus leading to healthy workplace norms.
Benefits Of A Culture Of Wellness
So, why should you put in the effort to create and maintain a culture of wellness? There are many beneficial perks, including the competitive edge healthy employees will naturally bring to your company. But the most substantial perk may be a happier and more productive workforce.
You can expect happier employees from a healthy workplace culture for many different reasons. Putting in the effort to create and maintain a culture of wellness will help employees feel valued as well as encourage healthy choices that will contribute to a positive mood and happier mentality.
There is a connection between feeling valued and being happy. A culture of wellness helps employees feel valued and appreciated because it shows that you support them both professionally and personally. It proves that you are making efforts to help them make a healthy lifestyle achievable. When employees feel that their well-being is truly cared for and valued by their company, they will feel generally happier with their jobs and employers.
Being more active can also improve employee happiness. Research has shown the link between being physically active and increased happiness. Employees who are more active are less likely to develop depression than their sedentary counterparts. By providing employees with the opportunities to be more active at work, you can enhance their overall happiness – for both inside and outside of the office.
Providing employees with onsite resources and opportunities to become healthier in all aspects of wellness will help improve their overall well-being, which inevitably leads to feeling happier. Offices offering healthier foods, educational resources and opportunities for socializing will not only help employees become healthier physically but improve mental health as well.
Productivity flourishes with wellness. An environment that not only stimulates a healthy body but a healthy mindset as well will contribute to an effective and efficient workplace.
Because healthier employees are happier, they will naturally be more productive. A 2015 study claims that happier employees were more productive in the workplace than their less-happy counterparts. The link between happiness and productivity was measured by the increased efforts of the happy workers. On average, happier employees were 12% more productive. Some of the happier employees even had scores of being up to 20% more productive.
Employees who move more, produce more. The benefits of being physically active go far beyond losing weight and building muscle. Because exercise increases blood flow to the brain, it increases alertness, concentration and serves as a powerful energy boost. Offering employees the chance to move more or exercise at the workplace is a great way to help employees recharge when they need a brain boost.
Numerous studies have shown the negative effects of workplace stress. Overly stressed employees are a costly epidemic for many companies because it leads to a major loss of productivity. A company culture that consists of crazy hours, high pressure and no opportunities for employee health will lead to burnt out employees. However, when a company creates a culture that doesn’t pressure employees to work overtime each week and provides opportunities for them to destress and recharge, they can expect more efficient and productive workers.
How To Create A Culture Of Wellness
Ready to develop a culture of wellness at your company? Here are some ideas to help get you started:
Encourage movement. Give your employees the opportunity to move throughout the day. Start walking meetings and offer standing desks. Encourage employees to get up and talk to each other in person instead of calling or emailing. This will help your employees get more steps throughout their day.
Offer healthy choices. Provide fresh fruit and veggies with any company meal. Supply healthy snacks in kitchen and breakrooms and replace sugary, fatty snacks with nutritious items in vending machines. Always have water available and located in a convenient spot for employees.
Encourage healthy habits. Try offering incentives to help employees create healthy habits. Reward employees that have completed wellness activities with things like gym discounts, wearables or other fun, healthy prizes.
Provide opportunities for social engagement. Host company outings such as happy hours or lunches. Social wellness is just as much a part of the health spectrum as physical wellness is. Find opportunities to create a social network among employees.
Provide resources. You can’t expect employees to know where to start on their own. Be sure to send out useful resources covering different aspects of wellness – financial wellness, stress management and mental health education.
Be flexible. If your company can allow for it, go for it. Offer flex hours and the opportunity to work from home if needed. This will encourage a healthy work/life balance.
Encourage comradery. Start walking clubs and take part in team building activities. Host a team breakfast once a week and serve healthy foods. Help your team socialize and get to know one another on more of a personal level.
Lessen stress. Some workplace stress is normal, but having employees who are regularly over-stressed is not. Send out an anonymous survey to determine your employees’ stress levels. If it seems too high or frequent, try to pin-point certain stressors that are contributing to the problem. Implement changes that will lessen or eliminate these stressors.
If your company’s wellness initiative only focuses on health numbers you are missing a huge area of opportunity to cultivate happier and more productive employees. Your wellness strategy will not yield significant and sustainable results if employees aren’t able to practice a healthy lifestyle during work hours. Creating a culture of wellness might just be your company’s ticket to a happy and productive workforce.
This article was originally written by Alan Kohll for Forbes. You can read the original article here.