If you are an HR professional striving to improve the health of your workplace and build a culture of wellness, there are many things you can do to actively promote healthy options and help employees make better choices.
Building a culture workplace health takes a bit of work and can take time to fully catch on. Here are 5 strategies you can start using today to promote health and wellness at work.
1. Make Employee Healthcare a Top Priority
The benefits you provide to your employees are the first line of defense when it comes to their health and wellness. Excellent health benefits like a low-cost insurance plan or onsite clinic can make all the difference.
When employees can afford their health care, they are much more likely to take advantage by seeing their providers regularly. This typically means more preventative care and less leaving things until they get so bad they can no longer be ignored.
2. Reinforce Your Safety Policies
Working toward positive workplace health includes on the job incident prevention. According to the National Safety Council, a worker is injured on the job every seven seconds, which is 12,600 injuries per day and 4.6 million per year. Ensuring your workplace is up to par with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards is a great first step.
Provide safety training regularly to your entire staff and offer additional training for management to empower them with tools to continually reinforce the lessons and policies moving forward. Make sure your safety guidelines are well-known and display highly visible reminders around the workplace, especially in hazardous areas.
3. Offer Workplace Flexibility
The effects of chronic stress have been proven to lead to many of the deadliest illnesses. Helping to mitigate or eliminate the stress your employees experience at work will not only improve morale and show employees you care about their wellness, but could also be life saving for some. You can read more about that, here.
TINYpulse reported that 83% of American workers are stressed, while only 43% believe their employers care about work-life balance.
Flexibility to reduce stress can come in many forms- outdoor work or rest spaces, a quiet room dedicated to napping or meditation, or mindfulness training.
Remote work options are a great way to allow employees flexibility when they need a couple days away from the office or potentially need to be near a sick loved one. Unlimited PTO shows your employees you trust them to manage their own well-being; this is quickly becoming a popular option in improving workplace health.
4. Help Your Employees Move During the Day
Computers and technology have transformed the way we work in the 21st century. They’ve massively increased productivity and output. However, all too often, it means we are getting tremendous amounts of work done while sitting all day long in front of a screen.
A sedentary lifestyle contributes to obesity and increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer, and can also take a toll on mental health. For that reason, another HR strategy to promote employee health and wellness is to encourage physical activity during the day.
Here are a few ways you can encourage your employees to be physically active during the workday:
- Provide standing desks
- Get under-desk ellipticals or cycles
- Offer extra breaks for people to get up, stretch, and move around
- Bring in a fitness instructor a couple of times a week. You could try yoga, Zumba, barre, martial arts, parkour (ok, maybe not the last one inside the office) but there are a lot of options that require little to no equipment.
You can also incentivize active transport to and from the office.
- Provide a stipend or membership for bike or scooter share services
- If your city doesn't have these yet, you could provide a one-time gift for employees to purchase their own personal bike.
- Offer paid public transportation – most people will need to walk at least a short distance to the nearest stop and standing is always an option on a train or bus commute.
5. Create an Employee Health and Wellness Plan
Healthy employees can lead to greater productivity, less sick days, higher morale and retention, and happier people. If you know it’s time to get serious about your workplace health, it may be time to draft an employee health and wellness plan.
We’ve got you covered with our comprehensive guide. This guide will help you with selling the idea to executive management as well as outline how to research the needs of your workforce and develop the overall goals of your program. We also cover how to budget and come up with an implementation timeline. Finally, we provide an outline for your employee-facing health and wellness plan to help get the word out so your staff can dive in and start realizing the plan benefits right away.