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The new decade is well underway and can I just say, I for one am incredibly excited for this year and the opportunities to come! 

Of course, with the start of the new year, we often tend to hit the ground running. We all know the rush of a new year. Trying to find our feet and get back into a routine but most importantly getting adjusted and back into the swing of things at work can be difficult. As each day passes, work can become a little more unpleasant for all employees… but it doesn’t have to be! 

There are programs you can put in place to improve employee health and wellness, and as a whole, this aims to help reduce sick absenteeism, improve employee productivity and enhance the overall work environment. You’re probably wondering how we’re going to do that? 

Have you ever heard of an employee wellness program? Massive brands like Google and Virgin have implemented these sorts of programs into their companies and have seen the benefits in happier, more productive employees who actually want to come to work. 

What is an employee wellness program?

There’s no one definition that defines an employee wellness program and there’s no right or wrong way of doing it. It all depends on the needs of your employees. 

An employee wellness program is just what the name suggests. It is a plan put in place to increase the overall health and happiness of your employees. It’s a little way of showing that you as an employer care about your people. No matter the size of your company, you can start your own employee wellness program in just 5 easy steps. 

Some programs focus on health education, other programs host health days where screenings are conducted and employees are able to learn more about their own health. A  wellness program can be as simple as morning meditations and rewards for healthy and active lifestyles among your employees. There are many ways of implementing a wellness program. 

Don’t worry if you feel a little confused or slightly overwhelmed – we can help you!    

What are the benefits of employee wellness programs?

Healthy and happy employees bring an array of benefits to the workplace! Some of these include:

  • More productive employees

There are numerous studies that suggest a healthy lifestyle correlates with increased productivity. Don’t believe us? Next time you hit a rut, get your heart rate up (deep breathing and a few jumping jacks can do the trick!) or change your snacks to some nutritious ones and you’ll likely get back into the zone.

For more information on office productivity, read this article!

  • Less office stress

Too many people and companies accept workplace stress as the norm. But it leads to burnout, which can result in higher employee turnover. This is why a wellness program is important. It will give your employees a new perspective of the workplace.

  • Fewer colds, flu and other illnesses

Everyone knows healthy practices prevent illness. And your business will have a higher rate of success when fewer sick days are taken.

  • Fewer office-related injuries

Taking a break to exercise or just stretch prevents common office injuries.

  • Happier employees

Offering a wellness program leads to happier employees. They’ll appreciate the benefit and be generally positive because they’re leading a healthy life and they will be happier knowing that the place they work at cares about them. 

 

Effective employee wellness programs

Where to start

It can be difficult navigating your way through an employee wellness program to figure out the best approach and what’s suited to your employees (but that’s what we’re here for). 

These 5 steps are the perfect way to get started! Let’s take a look…

1. Identify current issues 

A little research goes a long way! You will struggle to improve employee health and wellness without figuring out what some of the main issues are first.

Look at time and attendance, days of sick leave taken, employee satisfaction and stress levels, as well as extended health insurance costs. Talk to both management and employees to get an understanding of where the biggest issues are.

We, at WellBe, see this as a pivotal step in starting an employee wellness program because it puts you in the right direction of what’s important and what’s needed. 

2. Get input from everyone

Once you’ve found out some of the areas that need some work, chat with your employees to figure out what they’d like and what they’d what to get out of the wellness program. 

It’s pointless implementing a program that no one is interested in. 

3. Make a plan that fits

Now that you’ve collected your data, you can start putting a plan together. Remember to make sure the plan is aligned with your company culture so that more employees are excited to get on board! If you need a little assistance, get in touch with our team and we can help develop a personalised plan for your company and the needs of your employees. 

4. Encourage employee and management buy-in

Communicate the plan throughout the office and get management involved. This way more employees will be excited to take part. 

5. Track, measure and readjust

As with any workplace policy, measuring success, soliciting feedback, and adjusting accordingly will be key to the long-term success of an employee wellness program. This can be done by taking surveys or asking a variety of employees for their feedback. 

It’s also a good idea to celebrate achievements; anything from recognising individual employee goals for better health to crowning winners of office challenges can go a long way towards building support around the program.

Employee wellness programs are growing in popularity by the day and for good reason. These programs are important to the happiness of your employees and the overall success of your business. These programs are a great way of showing your employees that you value them! 

Some examples of effective employee wellness programs

I mentioned how your employee wellness initiative doesn’t have to be fancy and complicated. Not in the least. In fact, here are some simple solutions to improving employee wellness: 

  • Healthy snacks in the breakroom 
  • Healthy meals in the canteen 
  • Walking meetings 
  • Discounts off gym memberships for employees
  • Sunrise yoga on certain mornings 
  • Challenge boards where employees can write down their health goals (run a 5km race, lose weight, stop smoking etc.) and rewards are given to those who achieve their goals. 
  • On-site massage therapists 
  • On-site psychologist or life coach 

You can find more detail on these examples here

The final word

We know you’re probably very busy though and the logistics of a wellness program might sound a little time-consuming but that’s why we’re here! Find out more about the employee wellness programs we do and let us know if we can help you! 

Gemma Oberholzer

About Gemma Oberholzer

I guess you can say I'm a serial self-improver. Since I was a kid I can remember being weirdly thrilled at the idea of learning something new and figuring out how to use that new found knowledge to better myself. This perpetual learn-grow itch eventually lead me to the field of Health and Wellness and it's here I've been, fascinated for the last 8 years of my study and work life. From Human Life Scientist and learning the mechanics of physiology and intricacies of metabolic biochemistry, to Food and Nutrition Scientist where I deepened my understanding of diet and it's key role in human performance and health. Geared with this comprehensive education and better appreciation for human health, I've since been able to practically apply this in my career through the fields of research, product development, brand management and marketing. In 2018, I was finally able to bring all these learnings together and so my passion project, WellBe&Co, was born. WellBe&Co is a personal and corporate wellness company specializing in easy-to-implement, lifestyle-focused nutrition, training and health solutions. It's here that I've gained invaluable insights into the human-side of the health and wellness industry in a way that has enabled me to provide relevant content and value-adding services to individuals and companies alike and live out our mission to build communities that know better and grow together through better health.

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