by Jennifer Landis
You’re detail-oriented and conscientious with a work ethic that’s true blue. You hire carefully chosen, innovative candidates that show promise. Together you’ve knocked quite a few notable projects out of the park.
Some of them had their moments. You know, the ones where you wonder why plan implementation looks nothing like the current reality and you can’t seem to pull it together with your team to close the gap. But work ethic and innovation prevail in the end. Completion always seems sweeter when you chock up serious sweat equity along the way. Your team doesn’t quit, and neither do you.
That’s why it’s so important to continually re-evaluate workplace form and function with a critical eye towards moving upward along the continuum of excellence. What are some things you can do to optimize operation capacity? How can you best support your team members within a professional setting?
Consider the implementation of a Workplace Wellness Program.
What Is a Wellness Program?
A Workplace Wellness Program refers to any employer-sponsored health benefits or series of activities aimed at improving the overall wellbeing of staff members.
It may seem counterintuitive at first to consider concentrating on employees’ physical and emotional health in a setting that focuses on a hard-and-fast bottom line. However, when you look at the characteristic work-oriented trends of healthy employees, you just might re-think that initial gut reaction. Here are 12 ways you can work toward making your company a better place to work.
Dangers of an Overstressed Workplace #1: Sick Days
A healthy staff means project deadlines aren’t compromised by contributing team members out on sick days. Tasks don’t have to be divvied up temporarily as one employee takes over for another.
Healthy team members combat viral heroism and sickly martyrs. You know, those team members who stoically claim that they feel OK and come in anyway only to sludge through the day and risk spreading germs to the rest of the office.
Dangers of an Overstressed Workplace #2: Risk germ exposure
Even an employee who is slightly ill places the rest of the team’s health in jeopardy. From head colds and the flu, bronchitis and stomach bugs, germs circulate quickly within an office setting. Company-wide illness knocks out the ranks of productive staff members and wreaks havoc on project implementation calendars.
Dangers of an Overstressed Workplace #3: Lack of mental clarity
Burnout is a real danger facing your staff. Focusing on workplace wellness can help make your team more energized, innovative and efficient.
Healthy sleep, nutrition and exercise habits result in more significant psychological clarity and enhanced creativity. Multiply this by the number of your support staff, and you have serious brainpower at your disposal. Imagine how useful team function can be with members who are consistently well and firing on all cylinders!
Dangers of an Overstressed Workplace #4: Office-Related Injuries
Regular exercise not only promotes enhanced cognition but strengthens the body against injury. Supportive muscle tone, limber reflexes, and flexible tendons protect team members from accidental falls and inopportune clashes with file cabinets and protruding office furniture.
Employee orthopedic absences can be disruptive at best, but the damage office-related injuries cause to company insurance rates is well-documented and significant.
Dangers of an Overstressed Workplace #5: Stress
Unlike the flu or a stomach virus, stress isn’t always immediately recognized — and it may take awhile to knock you out. Often delays in diagnosis and treatment can lead to more severe health issues such as depression, anxiety and heart disease. Known as a “silent killer,” stress often results in employee burnout and contributes to high turnover rates.
Your office too can have work satisfaction
Conversely, staff members who report greater happiness at work — and in life — and general job satisfaction, regularly:
- Eat nutritious foods
- Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga
- Foster positive social relationships
- Engage in hobbies
Six Ways to Implementing a Workplace Wellness Program
Implementing a company-wide Wellness Program is mutually beneficial to you, your team members and the bottom-line. Programs may be designed in a variety of ways to best meet the goals of both your staff and the firm. Here are some examples:
Workplace Wellness Step #1: Arrange an On-Site Workout Center
If you’ve got the space, arrange for an on-site workout center — preferably with open-area for fitness classes. Staff the center with certified trainers available to tailor one-on-one exercise programs and provide instruction for small groups.
It’s essential that employee workouts focus solely on fitness goals and performance. Trainers drive sessions in a streamlined manner, so work distractions remain firmly in the background, even in a workplace gym.
Workplace Wellness Step #2: Reimburse Fitness-Related Purchases
If you can’t swing an on-site workout center, designate reimbursement for gym membership and fitness class fees elsewhere. Encourage employees to form exercise groups both for support and camaraderie.
Consider asking area health-related businesses to offer specials for staff members. Research the possibility of local trial-run packages for new endeavors like beginning Tai-Chi or rock wall climbing. You can also sign your team up for ClassPass or join a less expensive benefits tool like Perkbox that lets your employees choose the type of exercise they want.
Workplace Wellness Step #3: Provide Medical Support
Offer on-site flu shots and make sure fully stocked first aid boxes are strategically placed throughout crucial workflow space areas. Openly encourage employees to take sick days rather than put team members at risk. Set aside a Wellness Room where one can go for a few moments of quiet rest complete with fresh juice, water, and comfy chairs.
Workplace Wellness Step #4: Offer Stress Reduction Measures
If you’ve got the space for a Wellness Room, you can probably squeeze a massage chair in somewhere. Consider staff hours for on-site hand, foot or full-body massage. Perhaps you’ll find a masseuse who also provides aromatherapy or essential oil treatment.
Consider drafting a company-wide policy that requires employees to use personal time off days. Also re-examine the annual calendar. Maybe an additional three-day weekend can be squeezed in somewhere.
Workplace Wellness Step #5: Organize Social Outings
You know what your team members like to do. Whether it be snow-shoeing, listening to live comedy or attending a heated sports event, time spent enjoying one another in a non-work setting can do wonders for morale. Enlist the help of an in-office organizational guru to coordinate the details — with compensation, of course!
Workplace Wellness Step #6: Support a Community Cause
Doing good feels good, plain and simple. There’s even a psychological term for the pleasurable feeling altruism elicits — Helper’s High. The act of lending a hand, helping out and championing a cause releases pain-absorbing endorphins in the body and reduces stress.
Volunteering has beneficial long-term effects as well, including sustained immune system support and increased longevity. That just goes to show you, on a personal as well as organization level, a little wellness goes a long way!
How has your team taken workplace wellness to the next level? It doesn’t have to be top-down or HR initiatives either. Sometimes it only takes one person to start a step competition and everyone gets into the groove and on the move. Tell us about it in the comments below!