Most of us know we’re supposed to “eat healthy” and “make healthy choices” — but if someone asked you what it actually means to live healthy, would you be able to explain it?
There’s a lot of general advice about what it means to be healthy that is often repetitive and not very helpful; when it comes to how to implement health and wellness in the workplace, the information can be even more vague. We’re going to help break it down for you.
In this article, we’re going to discuss why health and fitness are so important in the workplace. We’ll then share with you some of the most practical and genuinely effective ways you can begin improving employee wellness.
What is employee wellness?
Employee wellness refers to the overall well-being of employees in the workplace, including their physical, mental and emotional health.
A wellness-driven environment will support and promote the well-being of employees through a combination of education, the provision of resources and company-led wellness initiatives.
Why is health and fitness in the workplace important?
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report called Winning with Wellness in 2016 that revealed a variety of statistics (several included below), all supporting the importance of implementing health and fitness programs in the workplace.
More than one-third of all employees in the U.S. are overweight or obese, which is one of the most significant chronic health conditions responsible for driving up health-related costs for employees.
Over 100 million people (in the U.S. alone) are struggling with a chronic illness every year, the other type of chronic health condition most responsible for increasing employer costs.
Employers who consistently offered health and wellness resources or programs to their employees, however, reported a variety of benefits for their employees and the company.
Some of the health and fitness benefits include:
Improved physical health and less healthcare costs
Reduced stress, anxiety and depression
Increased energy, concentration and efficiency
Strengthened team morale and productivity
Reduced absenteeism (legitimate or falsified)
Improved overall quality of life
Better attraction and retention of talent
The integration of wellness in the workplace can reap far more benefits than the ones we’ve listed here — if you find the right program for your employees, and implement it successfully.
How to promote employee wellness
Only 50 percent of all employers offer some sort of health or wellness program, and even fewer than that have implemented the program successfully. Knowing what your employees need as humans, as employees and as uniquely individual people, is essential for finding the right type of employee health and fitness program.
Here are some of the most effective ways to promote wellness in the workplace:
Make healthy food alternatives convenient
Sponsor healthy catered meals once a month or quarter
Offer a discounted gym membership
Educate employees about mental health and care
Organize wellness challenges and campaigns
Provide flexible work arrangements
Encourage employees to use their PTO
Lead by example through your own actions and choices
Facilitate outdoor, movement-based activities
Offer health screenings and assessments
Reach out for professional support and guidance
If you’ve tried implementing an employee wellness program before but didn’t see much success with your employees, or are unsure of where to begin with implementing a new program, contact our team today and we’ll walk you through your next steps.
Get started today
Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP is a premier employee assistance program that specializes in helping both employers and employees navigate the various challenges they face in work and life.
We offer a wide range of diverse, high-quality, comprehensive services to help you and your staff stay healthy, happy and successful in your personal and professional lives.
Recognizing that no two people or organizations are alike, we tailor each of our programs to meet your specific needs so that you’re always supported in the best way possible.