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Wellness programs: an integral part of employee wellbeing

In October 2016, a survey of 3,100 people conducted by CareerBuilder discovered that a high percentage of employees take sick leave due to the fact they are stressed out and sleep-deprived, not because they have fallen ill. This is an increasingly worrying issue.

Nowadays, employees find it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance and manage their stress levels, even after their office hours. At the same time, employers are dealing with this issue poorly because they are implying the employee is the one in the wrong. Some employers go to extreme lengths such as regularly checking their employees’ social media profiles in order to try and catch them in the act.

As mentioned above, workplace stress is a growing and troublesome issue, thus managers are recommended to look into various wellness ideas and programs in order to keep their staff healthy and productive.

First of all, you as a manager must gather all the available data on the current situation at the office. Surveys are a good tool to get a feeling on how your employees are feeling about their workload, satisfaction and engagement levels, and also what is bothering them. Transparency within the workplace is something very sought out and encouraged. Employees wish to be heard; therefore open communication should be an integral part of your organisational culture.

When your employees are regularly struggling to meet their deadlines and they have to deal with a lot of stress, their wellbeing will suffer tremendously, and they will eventually start losing sleep and falling ill.

Nowadays, technology plays a huge role in almost every aspect of our lives. Inevitably, we now have apps that help us develop a healthier lifestyle and diet. Given the attention employee health is receiving from HR departments these days, employees all around the world are encouraged to get fit through wearable wellness.

ABI Research has discovered that, over the next 5 years, 13 million wearable devices are going to be used in corporate-wellness programs. The most popular devices are: Jawbone’s UP 24 activity tracker, Fitbits and Nike’s FuelBands. They are used to monitor people’s movements, eating and sleeping patterns. Thus, using it in a corporate environment, colleagues can motivate one another towards a healthier lifestyle, leading to significant drop in sick days, fewer health insurance premiums and also a steep rise in productivity.

This type of technology has come a long way, given the fact that users can now set their own alerts to be reminded to hydrate more or to get out of their chairs for some exercise. The device also allows employees to connect with one another, form teams and compete against each other.

TheSquareFoot has emerged as one of the best employers through their wellness program. The company provided all their employees with UP bands to show them how much they cared about their health and wellbeing. It is becoming a prominent trend for companies nowadays to integrate wearable devices into their health plan because it can be an attractive way of retaining talent.  This is what Aron Susman, co-founder of TheSquareFoot, had to say about the company’s wellness program: “It is a totally different type of investment than paying for a gym membership because it becomes a talking point in the office. It also shows you are willing to try new things and create a team over and beyond just professional responsibilities.”

Wellness Program Tips

If you’re still not convinced about corporate wellness programs, I am going to present you with some tips from none other than Alan Kohll, founder and CEO of TotalWellness. Alan is known for his work with employers in order to carry out plans for improving employee productivity and health. Next, I will present you some of his most important tips:

  1. Incorporate games into the team challenges. As stated earlier, colleagues can use their devices in order to create teams and work towards a universal goal. Besides the fact that it will boost motivation amongst employees to utilise the devices, the overall office morale will greatly increase. In his past experience, Kohll has seen a lot of impressive accomplishments, such as: 10,000 steps in a day or 5 million steps over the course of one month.
  2. For companies that have offices across the country, a good example of employees engagement through wellness would be the following: You have one office in New York and one in California. A fun challenge consists of the number of steps necessary to get from one office to another. Employees will engage and motivate one another in order to reach their goal of improving their overall wellbeing, thus creating a more productive work environment where each member of the team feels encouraged and supported.
  3. Company culture is something every employee resonates with. Bring wearable devices into that culture. One of the best features of these devices is that users can set reminders and be notified they have been inactive for the past few hours. When you make your employees feel good about taking a break for a walk outdoors, or inspire them to leave their desk for some push-ups or stretching, not only do you support the devices being used but also make your employees know that you care about their health.
  4. Probably the most important tip is saved for last. Don’t make participation mandatory. You have to understand that not everyone will be thrilled about the wellness program. Although it is imperative to make the wearables available to everyone, there will always be people who do not wish to partake in such activities, as Kohll himself states: “They can be great for individuals who are interested in making changes to their health behaviour but need that extra push, but they aren’t for everyone.”

All in all, there are countless ways to ensure that your employees maintain a high level of wellbeing and engagement. But, the thing is that no two companies are the same, and what works for one may not work for the other.

The Great People Inside employee assessment solutions and technology can be tailored to your company’s specific needs and organisational culture and can help you to boost the levels of job-fit and skill-use in your employees, generating job satisfaction, improved motivation, health and happiness, and boost employee retention.

Try out our assessment in order to measure the level of wellbeing in your organisation and find out the best approach to improve it.

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Sources: Entrepreneur.com