In many companies, there’s one person or group of people who prioritise their job over their health; they skip lunch, stay late in the office and never go ‘offline’. As a result, they don’t have time to socialise with their friends, unwind after a long day over the latest Netflix series or head to the gym for a much-needed workout. This type of lifestyle is extremely damaging, both in a personal and professional sense.
Being in good physical and mental shape is essential for an employee to be great in their role. Many companies understand this and will introduce an employee wellness programme to promote health and well-being. This programme offers employees a series of benefits and activities that promote a healthy work-life balance.
What are the benefits of a wellness programme?
- More productive employees.
- Improved employee satisfaction.
- Increased productivity.
- Less workplace stress.
- Fewer absences from work.
What should be included in an employee wellness programme?
According to the Health And Safety Authority, an effective employee wellness programme should include the following:
- Company measures to improve the working environment and enhance health, for example manual handling and display screen assessments, stress audits or a work-life balance policy.
- Education and awareness for employees about health topics such as smoking, alcohol, healthy eating, exercise, and stress.
- Health screenings, including completion of a lifestyle questionnaire, measurement of blood pressure, cholesterol, and body mass index.
- Providing healthy food options in workplace kitchens and canteens.
- Encouraging employees to exercise, for example offering gym memberships and office yoga classes or reimbursing employees for fitness-related purchases (home gym equipment, personal training sessions).
- Supporting employees with health insurance and GP visits.
Other benefits and activities that can be included in wellness programmes include:
- Organising social activities for teams and/or departments, for example, an office book club, game nights, movie afternoons, or anything activity your employees will like doing as a group.
- Organising community service activities, for example, a volunteer day for employees to go into a community or charity. Doing good deeds and helping others makes people feel good and can help keep things in perspective.
- Organising team building activities to strengthen and grow team relationships, for example, a scavenger hunt or sports day.
How to create an employee wellness programme:
- Set goals that benefit the company and employees: Creating a wellness programme is a fun and exciting project for the whole company but it’s important to focus on why it’s being implemented in the first place. Take into consideration what employees need and how these needs fit with the goals of the company. Once this is determined, put goals beside the wellness programme and keep track of the progress.
- Form a team to create the employee wellness programme: Creating an effective wellness programme doesn’t happen overnight; it takes a lot of time and requires hard work. Form a team, for example, it could be made up of senior management from each department, to work on creating a comprehensive wellness programme.
- Communicate with the employees: Seek feedback from employees on what the wellness programme should consist of. Find out what will motivate them – is it fitness classes, wellness workshops, health assessments, career development training, or a combination of all.
- Introduce incentives: Rewarding employees for their hard work and efforts in achieving company targets and milestones is a great way to boost productivity and positivity in the workplace. In the employee wellness programme, include all-year incentives and rewards to drive long-term engagement.