By Deb Flomberg
How fit is your workplace? Employee wellness programs are increasingly popular as business owners are finding many reasons to encourage a healthy staff. Healthier employees are happier employees, and happier employees are more productive. Not only that, but you’ll find the health focus can help you save money on your insurance plans and a small investment in your employees’ health can go a very long way to increasing your own bottom line. So if you’re considering a new focus on employee wellness programs, here are a few ways other business are finding a lot of success.
The first thing you’ll want to do is to define what employee wellness truly means for you and your organization. There is no one right way to implement wellness programs, so you’ll want to decide what is most important for you and your organization. Wellness programs should be tailored and relevant to your actual staff, not just some statistics you read online. Some organizations start with wellness fairs and health screenings offered free of charge to their employees, or they focus on specific issues like smoking cessation programs or exercise initiatives.
It’s very easy to start a new program, but it’s something else to find a program that is inclusive for all your employees, regardless of their current physical abilities. In fact, many organizations are even including mental and financial health as part of the wellness programs, as they also find other ways to include everyone on their staff. It’s important that your program doesn’t only reward those who are already healthy, but instead, provides an inclusive way to encourage small, manageable changes for everyone.
Try Wearable Devices
There are many organizations finding ways to measure things like heart rate, stress and productivity. One of the most beneficial tools for such measuring is the popular wearable fitness device, the Fitbit. According to ABI Research, more than 13 million wearable devices have already been integrated into corporate health initiatives, tracking and supporting everything from daily activity to sleeping habits. Some organizations incorporate daily physical challenges, and the Fitbit or other similar wearable device can help track things like daily steps and other similar goals. Employees can compete for prizes and employers are finding fun incentives to help keep participation high. It’s important to keep the wearable devices as part of your corporate culture, however. Wear one yourself, track your own progress and be a part of this new initiative with your staff.
Don’t Force It
Keep in mind that this subject may still make some of your employees uncomfortable. Accept the fact that not everyone will jump onto the Fitbit bandwagon right away. In fact, your initial participation levels may be very low. Consider including at-home exercise as part of your program for those that don’t like to participate at work, or find ways to encourage small changes that everyone can participate in – like daily water drinking challenges. Just remember that fitness and health is still a private issue for many, so it’s important to be sensitive and not to require your entire staff to participate.