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The United States Department of Health and Human Services (2020) data shows that fifty-nine percent of employees live an inactive lifestyle and do not exercise. Fifty percent or more of the same group have high cholesterol levels; twenty-seven percent have cardiovascular disease, twenty percent are overweight, while twenty-four percent have high blood pressure. From these figures, it can easily be inferred that implementing wellness programs to mitigate such health issues is highly important.
Wellness programs are crucial in today’s work environment, let alone the impending threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tailoring and carrying out wellness activities can improve the productivity and efficiency of employees as well as their quality of life. They are also particularly proven to be effective in reducing employees’ stress levels, any physical discomfort like back and joint pains, prevent relapsing to the sedentary lifestyle, and lessen the cases of obesity and chronic physical and mental illnesses. Employers also benefit from this move as relevant activities can boost employee engagement, morale, and loyalty. Also, absenteeism, turnover, and work-related injuries can be minimized. Therefore, employers can improve their risk reduction and disease management strategies and scale down on employee healthcare costs.
Here are some activities that can help you lead a healthier and happier workforce:
- Decompression or de-stressing rooms are an excellent supplementary effort to promote the overall well-being of your employees. By equipping them with the right tools and platform, they can alleviate stress and prevent risks of burnout. Having an employees’ lounge with a snack bar and comfortable seating arrangements can dramatically increase their productivity. A quiet room where they can reflect on their thoughts and spend their breaks does the trick. The rule of thumb to stress management is to also offer entertainment and relaxation. Hot Tip Read More: Fun Stress Relieving Activities
- Weight loss challenges are a timeless and classic way to encourage teamwork, forge support circles, and create strong bonds between your employees. We have heard this idea from many offices and have seen posts on social media because of its reliability and doability. These challenges can serve as a breather and divert their attention from the pressures of life and work. Design the program in a way that encourages a commitment for the time being, like a 90-day weight loss challenge; think of a motivating prize, and then you can start the weigh-ins.
- Virtual meetings can aid your team in keeping connected. You can also produce pep talks and encourage employees to get rid of their vices and bad habits through these. Smoking cessation and alcohol control are common topics and are predominant among employees. Invite a person of authority, a health expert, or a change champion who can inspire, educate and lead by example. To make it more interesting, pitch topics like “Cocktail Recipes That Have The Kick But Can’t Make You Drunk” or “Other Activities To Keep Your Mouth Busy” that can encourage traction and bring in more participants.
- You may roll out a vaccine clinic for your employees if you want to level up your employment branding too. On-site flu vaccine clinics are an ideal solution that straightforwardly advocates employee health and wellness. Through this, you are not only making your employees and prospective applicants feel that you are serious about protecting them and improving their overall well-being, but you are also promoting your office as an excellent place to work.
- Providing an array of healthy food choices in your office cafeteria is another way of reinforcing clean eating habits. You may also opt to designate at least two workdays per week that you can call “No Meat Day” or “Green Grocer’s Day.” It will also help employees get immersed in clean eating if you can organize a cooking class led by a seasoned chef who can share with them techniques in healthifying regular meals. Another idea would be to invite a dietician who can teach them about food nutritional value and selecting proper alternatives so they can do their usual grocery shopping but with a smart advantage.
- Make situations easy for your employees. Especially with the transition to post-pandemic, it can ease the burden on their part if you can assist them with something in the conduct of their daily lives. Arranging transportation options not only provides employees with getting to work conveniently, but you are also doing good for the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.
- Recreational activities are a sure way to improve employees’ physical well-being, cognitive flexibility, and emotional health. They bring fun, comfort and break the ice between work and stress. Many companies have brought in billiards and pool tables, sleeping quarters, a gaming console, gym equipment, and even yoga or meditation classes in the workplace.
- Make activities that target improving employees’ mental health. Create an interactive bulletin or inspiration board where everyone can post anything that can potentially brighten up someone else’s day. Another great idea is to open bottle talks with a psychologist who can check on everyone’s mental health and improve their mental fortitude. Promoting empathetic communication in the workplace can also help achieve a collaborative, sensible, and conducive work culture and environment.
- Recognitions are good not only for employee engagement but also for employee mental wellness. In Harvard Business Review (2020), in pursuit of identifying a leadership behavior that can provide employees with a sense of stability, inclusion, and empowerment, it was found that praising, recognizing, and showing appreciation of one’s work, effort, dedication, and contribution can lead to increased productivity and employee morale. In other words, voicing out recognitions empowers employees. Verbal thank yous, acknowledging efforts, and affirming an accomplishment can go a long way in supporting employees to consequently do more and go beyond. To support them further, leaders may do regular meetings and there mention what went well and the people behind such success. Through this, we can practice a somewhat reward and recognition system that can uplift employees and empower them to keep improving.
- Walking meetings have also proven to be another effective way to improve worksite wellness. Literally, it only means that you can host the meeting while walking or moving. In this way, you are physically in motion rather than just sitting in the boardroom and idly drinking coffee. Walking meetings provide an avenue to discuss, collaborate, inform and plan with an added wellness benefit. Now, it is not just brains that need to do the work in meetings but also the body. Moreover, walking in nature ideally helps to reduce mental fatigue, stress and regain attention and focus. Also, according to Wayne (2021), walking meetings have countless health benefits including increasing the creativity of employees by eighty-one to a hundred percent.
- Finally, include some small and simple games to stir fun and excitement frequently. Wellness also means cultivating a fun and exciting work environment for all employees. Especially in these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic when motivation is crucial, icebreaker games can help to build employee unity and in building a positive surrounding that elicits trust, respect, and enjoyment among employees. Both in the physical and remote workplace, games like charades, marshmallow challenge, no smiling, murder mystery, and scavenger hunt are all dependable. With a little research and an energetic host, you can keep everyone’s spirits alive.