Offering fair compensation to employees is vital for their overall workplace satisfaction. However, many organizations fail to take mental and physical health into account. If your workforce clients are ready to take their organization from good to great, they’ll need to step it up in the wellness department.
Offering wellness programs can boost workforce productivity and make a population feel genuinely valued. Analyzing the data from health risk assessments is a great way to gauge which types of wellness programs will best serve your population.
At Wellsource, we’ve received Oregon’s Healthiest Employer Award for the 6th year in a row (every year we’ve applied) and we’ve seen firsthand how wellness programs can benefit everyone involved in the workforce. The initial start-up costs will pay for themselves. Research has shown that employers typically save $3.00 for every $1.00 that they spend.
In this post, we will fill you in on some ideas you can share with your clients to help them prioritize wellness and keep their populations healthy.
1. Take the Meetings out of the Conference Room
When the weather conditions allow, you might want to suggest ditching the office in exchange for time outside. There are a couple of ways to go about implementing this. A smaller work group could hold "walk and talk" meetings. Going this route encourages gentle exercise while simultaneously exposing populations to the benefits of time outdoors.
For larger groups, finding a local park with enough space for everyone to participate is another option. If the park is close enough to bike or walk to, even better. It’s okay to start out small. To assist with having the transition flow smoothly, it might be best to start out with every other meeting outdoors to gauge how the group is responding and to take their feedback into consideration.
Each individual will have different thoughts and attitudes about time spent outside, but even if they aren’t excited at first, this study indicates that they may grow to enjoy the positive effect that the extra time outdoors could have on mood.
2. Try Setting Up a Place for Stretching
Companies don’t need to set up a full-blown yoga studio, but by offering individuals a space to stretch – even just a simple corner of the office or spare room - will work just fine. Basic, simple stretches can do wonders for stress reduction and injury prevention.
Stretching also offers the added benefit of drawing attention to any potential tight, painful areas within the body that would otherwise go unnoticed. This can help with detecting possible muscular-skeletal injuries early on before they cause significant issues.
3. Offer a Hydration Station
When working long hours, it becomes easy to forgo adequate water intake. This happens for a number of reasons, ranging from not wanting to buy water to getting absorbed in the task at hand. Did you know that water accounts for 75% of brain mass? When keeping that statistic in mind, it’s easy to understand how dehydration can lead to decreased productivity.
Common Symptoms of Dehydration
- Brain fog
- Lack of energy
- Inability to focus
Even common, mild dehydration can cause those symptoms. Oftentimes, it is confused for the “midday slump” that plagues so many workplaces. Proper hydration is also necessary for kidney function and a host of other bodily processes.
Offering a basic cooler of filtered water can go a long way with keeping energy levels where they need to be. We provide washable drinking glasses and filtered water for our employees. Other companies purchase large reusable water bottles for individuals to use at work and play.
4. Consider Offering Your Population a Gym Membership
Getting the proper amount of exercise is one simple thing that can positively affect wellness across the board. Giving a basic gym membership for your population is one perk that you can offer to improve both mental and physical wellbeing. In fact, 72% of employers offering wellness programs have already gotten on board with offering fitness initiatives.
It may seem like a costly measure at first, but many memberships can be found for as low as $10 to $15 per month. When people feel good and actively engage with their health, they are less likely to develop serious health complications and are therefore less likely to use health benefits that are far more costly.
5. Consider Healthy Snacks as an Option
The average adult spends one-third of their life at work. Considering a typical 8-5 schedule, that means at least one meal per workday, if not more. Vending machines are often stocked full of candy bars and sugary drinks. Offering healthy alternatives will keep your population focused and energized.
For example, at Wellsource, our HR team noticed that one area that many individuals were ready to change their eating habits.
“We decided to invest in offering healthy snacks in our offices to help cater to a challenge people were having with making healthy choices,” says Agnes Pagan, HR Generalist at Wellsource. “Our employees didn’t have horrible nutrition, but they were ready to improve.”
It’s easier to grab some raw vegetables, fresh berries and fruits, and unsalted nuts from the breakroom rather than make the trek to the building’s public vending machine. “Not only is it helping our workforce make healthier choices, but it’s also improving morale because they feel heard and understood,” Pagan says.
Health Risk Assessments Can Help
The suggestions mentioned above offer simple wellness solutions that can go a long way. However, without knowing about the health habits and risks of your population, implementing these programs can feel like throwing spaghetti against a wall and hoping it will stick. With the help of HRA data, you can design a program for your population that is specific to the health risks that they are most vulnerable to, and you can target the areas they are most ready to change.
If you’re ready to spark positive change within your population, check out our guide that will fill you in on everything you need to know to move forward with creating a culture of health.