We live in a constantly 'on' world and the current pace of life and the unhealthy influence of social media is having an impact on the general health and wellbeing of a nation.
Reports of increased mental health issues, depression, anxiety and obesity almost at epidemic levels, it's time we all did all we can to improve the wellness of our teams, whether you employ 2 or more than 2,000!
Not only will your employees be happier, have more energy and a positive outlook on life, they will be stronger to face challenges head on, be more productive and likely to stay with you for the long term.
Investing in a health and wellness strategy will save you money in the long run!
The foundation of any strong health and wellness programme should be focused on education and helping employees adopt healthy behaviour, but with so many things on offer, which will work for you?
Letting your employees decide on their own wellbeing activity
The world of work is changing. Just today there has been a report stating that only 6% of the working population work traditional hours - with almost half choosing flexi-hours. This stat alone shows that companies need to be open minded when looking to attract, engage and retain their workforce in the future.
Allowing your employees to choose the hours that work around their lifestyle has proven to increase general health and wellbeing, particularly if they use the time to fit in a dog walk, gym session or yoga class.
Maybe the needs of your business don't lend themselves to flexible working. There are still lots of things you can do to engage your employees and increase their health and wellbeing whilst they are in the office and they don't have to cost the earth.
One of our clients has a company wide incentive that allows people to take a 2 hour lunch or finish work 1 hour early, if they and at least 4 other employees partake in a sporting activity - the employees make the hour up throughout the week, so there isn't a loss of productivity. In fact, if anything, productivity goes up! Last week a group went mountain biking and next week it's an open water swim! Now these sorts of activities won't be for everyone, but due to the employees being able to choose their own, there's also yoga, meditation and reflexology sessions.
It's important not to try and find a solution that will fit everyone, as the bottom line is that it won't! You can't force people to get involved but making a range of options available and even letting your employees have the final decision is a great way to increase engagement. Your employees are more likely to get involved in something that they have chosen themselves.
of engaged employees feel their work lives positively affect their physical health.
of disengaged employees say that their work lives negatively affect their physical health.
Whatever you decide to do, don't just make it a one-off. By all means, test out a few different things, but it's important that you create a long-term health and wellbeing strategy that becomes part of your culture.
The focus initially is on engagement, teamwork and improving the emotional connection between you and your employees. The positive health benefits may take longer to come through, but on the journey, you will have happier, more engaged and more productive employees.
Workplace Health & Wellness Program Benefits
Our Top 5
The companies below have made our Top 5 for promoting fantastic health and wellbeing strategies. Use them for inspiration.
You've probably seen the inside of the Google office - the one with the giant slide for when employees don't want to take the stairs. It's not only the slide and ping pong and on-site laundry and all the rest of the fantastic things they offer, Google take the health and wellbeing of their staff very seriously and really get their employees involved to drive it. They even run Google-to-Google where employees offer lessons to their colleagues on everything from public speaking to mindfulness.
Another US based company, but certainly one we can all learn a little something from. Not only do they have their own on-site fitness centre to help people fit exercise into their busy day, they also run a weight management program, an optional incentive for all employees to receive education on living a healthy lifestyle. But health and wellbeing aren’t all about running around on the football pitch, they also have a nap room for employees to recharge.
Doesn't take much to guess what these guys are up to. Every employee is given a fitbit and are given mini challenges and small fun contests to help get them moving more. Gamification of wellness is a great way to get all your employees on board, and whilst you may not be wanting to invest in fitbit's (or similar) for your team, there are other ways around this with downloadable apps like Apple Health.
Based in Italy, Technogym are leading a revolution in corporate wellness. Goes without saying that they have an onsite gym, but management encourage staff to take breaks and use the gym at least twice a week. There are inspirational and educational messages throughout head office from the corridors to the canteen to motivate you further. The thing we liked best about what they were doing was that the smoking shelter was 1km from the office - either making smokers exercise more, or in most cases, give up all together!
Whilst Mother isn't necessarily unique, they are a great example of how you can incorporate simple wellness incentives into your culture. Based on the principle that animals and plants reduce stress, they welcome dogs in the office and even have a floral nursery for employees to spend some down time. On top of this they also give their employees a £1 per day wellness fund.
There's lots of ideas out there that you can quite simply introduce into your wellness strategy. The health and wellbeing of your employees will be more and more important to millennials when searching for a new job, acting now will keep you ahead of the competition.
For more ideas on how to engage your employees, why not give us a call and see how we can help you stay ahead of the competition for talent. 01244 567 967