What are Employee Wellness Programs?
Employee wellness programs are programs undertaken by an employer in order to improve employee health and also help individual employees to overcome particular health-related problems. The employer can offer compulsory employee training, staff seminars, or even work with a third-party provider offering a variety of programs.
Employees are invaluable assets of any company and ensuring their excellent mental and physical health sets them up to perform well. The health and wellness of their employees usually have a direct effect on the productivity and profits of a company. Many employers understand this and are ready to spend on such programs.
Benefits of Employee Wellness Programs
Even though the advantages of an employee wellness program are hard to see at first glance, it is true that employees who are healthy usually bring a range of benefits to other employees and the companies they work for. Here are some of the benefits of an employee wellness program.
1. More productivity
Employees who eat healthily and exercise regularly are likely to be more productive than those who don’t. Poor health behaviors are usually linked with high levels of unproductivity and ultimately lead to higher health risks and chronic diseases.
2. High employee morale
Wellness programs make employees feel appreciated and valued. Employees are happier when they feel appreciated and valued by their employers. The offer of wellness programs usually leads to more enthusiastic employees at work.
3. Improve recruitment and retention of employees
Good wellness programs will help companies to hire, as well as retain, the best employees. Many people will choose wellness and health offerings, and other benefits when they want to choose an employer. Wellness plans also play a vital role in employee retention by helping to keep the employees loyal.
4. Reduced absenteeism
Workplaces with comprehensive wellness programs experience less absenteeism due to employees being healthier and with less stress, leading to cost savings.
5. Reduced health risks
Helping employees to adopt healthy behaviors such as eating well, exercising, and avoiding tobacco lowers health risks. Low health risks lead to reduced health care costs.
6. Building camaraderie among workers
Some initiatives offer employees the chance to experience other activities unrelated to work, such as participating in a sports team, going to the gym, or eating lunch together. The interaction of co-workers facilitates bonding that helps teams work better together.
Examples of Employee Wellness Initiatives
Below are a few examples of employee wellness initiatives that can be adopted in the workplace:
1. Healthy lunch and snacks
With only a few minutes to take lunch, many workers opt to eat fast food so that they can get back to work early. Employers can provide enough time for their team members during lunch time to hit the gym, play a sport, or even head home to eat a healthy homemade lunch. Companies like Google manage cafeterias that are able to offer catered snacks and lunches to their workers in the course of the day, where employees from different teams can interact and make new friends.
There are also healthy snacks delivery services that have emerged lately. Such services help to deliver healthy snacks to employee offices instead of them having to go out looking for food. Since everyone needs to eat, good snack and lunch programs and the promotion of healthy eating at the workplace will appeal to everyone.
2. Assistance programs
Employee wellness programs should cater not only the bodies of the employees but also their minds. Employers can provide personal support for issues such as substance abuse, stress, anxiety, and depression. Many work-related stress issues experienced by employees can be addressed through guided support programs outside the workplace. Such programs help employees to achieve peace of mind so that they can be able to perform at their best. They boost confidence and satisfaction between the employer and the employees.
A siesta after lunch during a hectic day always leaves one feeling reinvigorated completely. For this reason, innovative companies such as Asana, Zappos, and Facebook usually have specialized nap rooms where workers who want to have a small nap after lunch can go. They usually have flexible work schedules, and so employees can return to their projects with renewed energy after catching a quick nap. Naps have been clinically proven to provide benefits on productivity.
4. Fitness activities
Employees who sit long hours in an office need time to exercise or move around. Some companies provide on-site gym services and fitness classes to help their employees to keep fit. Some even have after-work exercise groups, swimming pools, and sports grounds for their staff.
5. Community service activities
Doing good deeds and helping others usually make many people to feel good and fulfilled. Employers can organize a day where staff can volunteer in the community and help out. Employees can form fundraisers and groups for causes they feel passionate about. Such programs also make employees become closer than they were before.
Steps to Launching an Employee Wellness Program
The following are some basic steps for implementing a successful employee wellness program at the workplace.
1. Set goals that will benefit both the company and the staff
When creating a wellness program, it is important that you don’t lose sight of your main objective. Ensure that all parts of the program provide benefits for both the staff and the company. It is crucial that wellness programs are catered to the audience of your employees.
2. Set up a dedicated team
A comprehensive wellness program takes a lot of time and work to create and so it is wise to form a good team capable of handling the project. Even though the team is likely to have HR lead it, it should also include people who have a good understanding of the employees and who have the interest of promoting a healthy workstation.
3. Collect data
Do adequate research by going to employees to identify the areas that need to be addressed. This can be done through face-to-face meetings and internal surveys.
4. Make a plan
After collecting the right data, the next step is to build a plan with the goals of a wellness program and the strategies needed to achieve them. A budget for the initiative should also be formed.
5. Communicate the program
The wellness program should be communicated to employees. They should be able to understand the schemes that are involved, the importance of wellness, and the positive effect it will have on their lives.
6. Acquire feedback and adjust the wellness program
A good employee wellness program is be continuously optimized. The team should always be open to new ideas and feedback to improve the program and make employees even healthier.
Employees who are healthy and happy usually have higher levels of productivity than those who are not. It’s a win-win situation as it leads to many benefits for the company. Wellness programs don’t just increase productivity but also lead to increased engagement, employee morale, and retention, and reduced health risks.
There is a positive connection between employee wellness and the performance of a business. A good employee wellness program should cater to the employees’ emotional, physical, mental, and financial wellness. Generally, the benefits of implementing comprehensive employee wellness programs surpass the costs.
Thank you for reading CFI’s guide to employee wellness programs. To continue your development as a world-class financial analyst, these additional resources will be helpful: