It’s that time of year again — time to focus on New Year’s resolutions. Many people begin an exercise program, but abandon it a few weeks after. It’s a tale as old as time: How does one stay healthy when you sit at a desk all day?
This question can be particularly daunting in the fast-paced, ever-shifting world of the contemporary workplace. This is why it’s so imperative for companies, both big and small, to institute workplace wellness programs for their employees.
We’ve written about office fitness challenges before, but this time we’re focusing on a more collective approach to office-wide health objectives. In this guide, we’ve put together our points to consider when setting and encouraging your employees to achieve their new year’s fitness goals.
Employee Wellness Program
The primary step in achieving better health and fitness in the office is setting up a workplace wellness program.
These programs can range from ideas that have a specific purpose, such as helping the employee to stop smoking or to lose weight; to onsite gyms or gym memberships; to incentive programs that provide rewards for participation or for achieving the desired results.
There are many benefits to creating a wellness program. Not only will employees love participating in one, but they will also learn many things which will help them maintain healthy lives.
To make your program more relevant, ask your employees what kinds of activities they’d participate in if they had the opportunity. Know their fitness goals. You could conduct an informal survey, hold a brainstorming meeting, ask everyone to email ideas or set out a tried-and-true suggestion box.
In this way, you’ll be able to create a specific wellness program that is attainable, and you won’t lose sight of why you’re doing it. You’ll make sure that every part of your program benefits both the company and staff.
What To Include In A Workplace Wellness Program?
It may seem impossible to reach your fitness goals when you sit at a desk all day. So, consider how the following ideas can be incorporated into your day-to-day to bring your employees’ fitness goals to life despite working a desk job.
Here are some activities and benefits you can offer that cover all areas of employee health:
1. Fitness Activities
Exercise is an important part of any healthy lifestyle. But with busy schedules and balancing family needs with hobbies and work, it can be hard to find time to hit the gym. Make sure you give employees the time they need to exercise, even if that means offering a more flexible schedule.
Amenities such as an on-site gym also give employees the opportunity to exercise more frequently and together, creating a strong work environment. You can also offer subsidized fitness passes or invite personal trainers and coaches to the office to create workouts for employees.
2. General Health Benefits
Among all the health and wellness trends, primary care has become indispensable in the big picture. You can bring in on-site flu, measles, pneumonia, shingles, and other vaccinations into the workplace to encourage employees to get inoculated in risky seasons.
It’s also a great idea to have a stocked first aid kit and a private “wellness room” where people can tend to personal health needs.
Such benefits ensure productivity and help employees stay healthy at no additional cost to them. These benefits have proven really effective at improving rates of employee absenteeism because of illness.
3. Healthy Snacks Benefits
Making healthy snacks easily available for your employees should be included in your wellness program. By stocking up on these healthy snacks, you can promote healthy eating, make healthier snack choices, and get that much-needed energy boost your employees need.
Essentially, healthy snacks can keep them feeling good so they’re better able to focus on the tasks at hand. You are nourishing their bodies with foods that empower them to complete their workday goals!
4. Mental Health Activities
Stress is a silent killer that can trigger serious health problems. It also goes hand-in-hand with mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
First and foremost, make sure no one is burning the candle at both ends. You can institute an office closing time to ensure everyone leaves at a reasonable hour. You can also require employees to take time off when they’ve incurred a certain number of paid time off days.
Lastly, you can incorporate meditation into their healthy lifestyle by offering yoga classes and massages that help your employees with mindfulness while working.
5. Social Activities
For some employees, they prefer and enjoy activities that help them get to know their colleagues better. So, consider offering social activities like an office book club, game nights, and whatever else your employees enjoy doing. Smiling and laughing is an important part of health too.
Further, consider introducing break room or relaxation areas where people can go to get away from their desks, get a change of scene, unwind, or think creatively. It’s essential to encourage employees to take a proper lunch break, away from their spaces, as this can improve concentration as well as provide a much-needed rest.
6. Team Building Activities
One of the benefits of a wellness program is that many activities strengthen the bonds between team members.
By putting some time and effort into team building activities, your team will be healthier, happier, and more energetic. They’ll also be more alert and, ultimately, more efficient.
In addition, your fitness challenge could also be to encourage employees to create sports teams or join existing ones. Sports are not only a fantastic way to get exercise, but they are also a great opportunity for cross-departmental communication and relationship-building.
7. Community Service Activities
Many people feel good when they help others. Doing good deeds is fulfilling and can help keep things in perspective.
You can organize a volunteer day for your staff to go into the community and help out. You can get your employees to represent the company for several charity events – be it sponsored walks, marathons, or even a fun run.
The whole workforce can take part and make it a real joint effort, getting some quality team-time in as well as some exercise too. Aside from the clear physical benefits, staff charity events are great opportunities for your team to get to know one another.
It’s quality time spent with your team, so there are benefits to be had all-round. Your staff could even take part in a charity that is really close and significant to them.
Tips to Achieve a Successful Wellness Program
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of a wellness program and what to include, let’s talk about how you can implement a successful program. Here are some basic steps for getting a wellness program going in your workplace.
1. Form A Team
Creating a comprehensive wellness program can take a lot of work and a long time so it’s a good idea to put a team on the project. The team will likely be led by HR but should also include executives, people from finance and others who are interested in promoting a healthy workplace.
If possible, you can also hire a fitness coach that will act as a leader, motivator, and coach — all of which pushes your employees to do more, stick with their routine, and keep going when the process gets hard.
They can help people to make sustainable and realistic lifestyle choices in the workplace by facilitating behavior change and by coaching the whole person, not just the work person.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your company could be among those to provide this great workplace benefit?
2. Create A Plan
With your team in place, start planning what your program should look like. Creating a wellness program is a fun project but don’t lose sight of why you’re doing it.
Make sure every part of your program benefits both the company and staff. In order to do that, it is important to keep these things in mind:
- Form a budget, research ideas and get input from your employees.
- Decide what kind of fitness or wellness program you want to create.
- Set the main objective and goal of your wellness program.
- Determine if you want it to be a team challenge or an individual one.
- Frame your wellness program according to the goal you have set.
- If there are fitness challenges, set the rules and choose the duration you want the challenge to run.
- Keep track of your employees’ progress and keep motivating them.
When the time is right, call a company-wide meeting to announce the new wellness program and get into the details. Make sure your employees know everything it includes so they can get the most out of it.
3. Approach Health From All Sides
There are many facets to a person’s health, and not everyone fits into the same mold. Fitness, diet, and mental health are only a couple examples of the different aspects of a person’s health that you can consider when putting together the health-related goals for your office.
Try to create a series of wellness programs that are varied enough to suit the needs of everyone in your office. For example, if some members of your team are trying to eat more healthily, you could establish a ‘meatless’ day of the week in which they are encouraged to adhere to a vegetarian diet.
If other employees are trying to incorporate more physical fitness into their lives, you could set up a lunchtime jogging group. If still other employees are looking to become more mindful, you could establish a ‘meditation room’ in which they can experience peace and quiet throughout the working day.
None of these initiatives are particularly costly, and when put into action they start to foster a workplace which meaningfully contributes to the health and well-being of its employees.
4. Track Food and Progress
Providing healthy snacks in the office can be an amazing way to implement good nutritional habits into the lives of your employees. Maintaining good nutrition is one of the most important aspects of leading a healthy life, even more so than exercise.
Encourage employees to keep track of daily caloric intake, avoid junk foods, and eat healthy snacks and lunches. You can create a week-long challenge, wherein you ask participants to eat a healthy meal every day at work.
Further, you can bring in nutritionists to speak to employees during lunch, organize after-work healthy cooking classes for the office or communicate healthy lifestyle tips. Or you can invest in an on-site behavioral health specialist such as a health coach, health educator, or registered nurse to discuss chronic disease risk factors like obesity, stress, poor diet and high blood pressure.
5. Lead The Change
Chances are you aren’t the only one at work who is trying to be healthy, lose weight, or exercise more. Be a leader by offering to find healthy alternatives to pizza for the next lunch-and-learn session. Or suggest starting a wellness committee that creates opportunities for employees to eat well and move more at work.
If you find something that’s helpful or cool, share it with your employees. It may be just a suggestion or motivation they need that day to get to the gym or make time for a run. By setting an example at the office you may make the team healthier and you’ll stand out as a leader.
6. Uplift Those Who Struggle
We all know that getting healthy can be hard! And it’s very likely that some of your employees won’t see progress right away. Be sure to foster an environment of encouragement for those who don’t succeed on their first try.
Keep the dialogue as supportive and positive as possible and try to find solutions to problems wherever possible. It’s great to think big, but with health-related goals sometimes it’s better to promote and celebrate incremental change, so encourage your employees every step of the way!
7. Get Feedback and Optimize
The idea of a wellness program is to create different health-related tasks daily and encourage your employees to partake in them. However, a successful employee wellness program is never done.
Your team should always be open to feedback and new ideas so the program improves and employees get even healthier. Just keep in mind that when it comes to health-related goals, everyone progresses differently.
Therefore, success cannot be reduced to a universal number. True progress lies in improving the way that your team feels – both physically and mentally.
If you want to know more, here are some workplace wellness ideas to make your workplace successful and engaging: 10 Office Health And Wellness Trends For 2020
There You Have It
Working in an office doesn’t mean you have to be unhealthy. Being in good physical and mental shape sets an employee up to be great at their job. Many companies understand this and offer their employees a series of benefits and activities that promote health and well-being.
Organizing health-oriented activities like fitness challenges and wellness programs are one way to do so.
So use the tips and ideas above to bring yours and your employees’ fitness goals to life. With support from co-workers and the right ideas in place, you will all be more successful in achieving your New Year’s fitness goals.
So, go ahead and promote the best health behaviors among your employees by introducing an awesome office fitness and wellness program!
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