The need to incorporate health and wellness in organizations is becoming distinctly important. Over the past decade, individuals are working more, are less active, are more stressed, are gaining excess weight, and are at risk for diseases and chronic illnesses. Not only has this effect led to unhealthy lifestyle habits, but has also affected the way in which individuals are performing in the workplace. Currently, organizations have started to realize the significance of integrating health and wellness programs to counteract employees’ reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, a decline in morale and job satisfaction and increased staff turnover.
The following areas are essential to consider when implementing a workplace health and wellness program:
Nutrition education empowers employees to understand the importance of a healthy diet. In addition, the provision of positive nutritional changes in the workplace provides an environment that promotes and encourages healthy eating. Incorporating nutrition in the workplace provides many benefits to both employees and the employer. Employees can often struggle to adopt healthy eating habits without the right knowledge and skills. Stimulating positive nutritional habits can positively affect the mental and physical behaviors of employees at the workplace.
Physical activity should go hand in hand with nutrition as it plays an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Physical inactivity increases the risk for diseases, reduces the body’s immune system, contributes to back and neck problems, impacts negatively on stress levels and promotes weight gain. Including bouts of physical activity as part of the company’s day-to-day workplace environment brings about weight reduction, relieves anxiety, depression, and stress, reduces absenteeism, lowers risks of health problems, improves sleeping patterns and energy levels. Prolonged sitting at one’s desk, has shown to bring about premature mortality, heart diseases, and diabetes.
Stress Management & Mental Wellness
High-stress levels can lead to depression, anxiety, certain diseases, unproductive employees, and absenteeism. Promoting mental wellness strategies in the workplace in conjunction with the previous two areas, further, improves overall health and well-being of employees. Many studies have found a significant reduction in employee health problems in which has lead to an overall rise in productivity, job satisfaction, improved morale and lower stress levels.
Create a Smoke-Free Workplace
Non-smokers are less frequent to become ill than those who do smoke. Smoking is not only bad for your employee’s health but is also an unproductive habit and time wasted away from the job. Smoking is a form of stress relief for many, so replacing smoke breaks with stress and mental wellness activities can assist in both helping individuals quit smoking and taking on activities that stimulate more productive and efficient employees.
The key elements
In addition to the aforementioned areas, a Workplace Health and Wellness Program should involve employees in the development and implementation of the program. Providing all employees with the opportunities to take part (regardless of their health status) in these programs will show commitment and participation by management. Even appointing a nutritionist to head the program, and involving the families of employees, to be able to provide evaluations and feedback will ultimately ‘cover all bases’ in terms making sure that everyone is on the same page, and understand what benefits are available from implementing such a successful program.
The consideration of these areas creates a well-balanced workplace environment for both employees and employers. The overwhelming benefits that can be ascertained through such a program can ultimately strengthen employer/employee relationships, increase efficiency and productivity, allow for greater staff retention, improve mood and motivation, reduce stress and anxiety, increase energy levels and create an infused boost and sense of well-being. Imagine a workplace atmosphere where your employees can’t wait to come and work for you!