Employee Wellness Programs with Examples
— January 4th, 2022
Employee wellness programs are undertaken by an employer in order to improve employees’ physical and mental well-being and also to help individual workers overcome specific health-related problems. They are about building healthier habits that empower employees, teams, and businesses to be their most satisfied, healthiest, and motivated selves.
One study indicated that 61% of employees agree that they have made healthier lifestyle choices because of their company’s wellness program. Research also suggests that millennials in particular have changing expectations in relation to what they expect from their employer, with an increased emphasis on stress reduction and wellness initiatives.
Employee wellness programs are one of the most effective ways to ensure workers are in the right shape to do their best work. There are many ways employers can incorporate wellness into their workplace and it’s up to the organization to determine the best ones for their specific set of needs.
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What are the benefits of employee wellness programs?
- Reduces health care costs
- Improves employee morale
- Improves employee retention
- Decreases absenteeism
- Attracts new talent
- Reduces stress
- Breaks the monotony
- Increases employee engagement
- Reduces the risk of diseases
- Encourages healthy behaviors
- Increases productivity
- Improves teamwork
- Promotes a good work-life balance
- Strengthens employee loyalty
- Provides a sense of accomplishment
- Elevates company culture
- Brings employees together
Employee wellness programs examples
Incorporating yoga into employees’ lives can improve their mental and physical health.
Benefits include better flexibility, strength, balance, and concentration. Moreso, the poses of yoga can help reduce physical pain, workplace stress and also decrease absenteeism.
Perhaps the strongest reason for incorporating yoga into the office as a wellness program is how cost-effective it is compared to other options.
Yoga doesn’t take up too much time and requires very little equipment except for some mats and a number of willing participants. Simple yoga exercises and stretches can be done at the workplace for short periods of even 10-20 minutes while employees still reap all the important benefits.
Lunch and healthy snacks
According to research conducted by the Center for Disease Control, the effects of obesity and poor health costs US companies more than $225 billion per year in lost productivity. Organizations can help their employees stay healthy by making sure the company fridges, cupboards, or snack stations are stocked with healthy foods.
This way, instead of reaching for junk food at work, whether they are stress eating or simply hungry, workers can reach for healthy options.
Not only will a healthy diet improve employee productivity levels and performance at the office but providing free snacks and meals will save employees money, reducing financial stresses.
According to Wellable, many surveys have shown that employees are universally struggling to achieve financial well-being on their own and are stressed out about money, leading to a lowered performance at work.
At the same time, employers are becoming increasingly aware of how personal financial difficulty is affecting productivity at work, and ultimately, the company’s bottom line. Some of the most common symptoms of financial stress include loss of sleep, poor concentration, and reduced motivation, all of which have a significant impact on an employee’s standard of work.
Offering financial advice and counseling to employees can have a positive impact on their well-being and their ability to focus more in the workplace.
Employee volunteer programs are an excellent way for businesses to encourage and enable employees to give back to their communities. These programs boost productivity, help employee engagement, increase morale, and improve hiring and retention.
Volunteerism within a business also brings together people from across the company and promotes teamwork, which in turn increases employee satisfaction and a sense of belonging.
When done correctly, workplace wellness challenges help employees and their close contacts establish healthy habits that reduce long-term health risks. However, it's also important to include challenges based on mental well-being. Promoting mental well-being reduces the risk of anxiety, stress, loneliness, and depression.
Examples of wellness challenges
- Drink more water
- Start a journal
- Bike or walk to work
- Support small businesses
- Take the stairs
- Vegan Mondays
- 10,000 steps a day
Smoking cessation programs
The World Health Organization calls it the ‘biggest public health threat the world has ever faced’ due to a large number of tobacco-related deaths globally every year. However, as many as half the population of smokers desire to kick the habit.
Of course, it’s entirely an employee’s own choice if they wish to quit smoking but a program centered on cessation may provide the added support and incentive they’ve been missing.
On-site fitness centers
When dealing with a full-time job, finding time to work out is not always easy. When employers offer an on-site fitness center, it gives staff the opportunity to exercise without having to travel out of their way to a gym. Promoting fitness is one of the most beneficial choices any employer can make to encourage their workers to reach their full potential.
The benefits of exercise aren’t just physical. While lower blood pressure and a healthy heart are certainly a big benefit, there’s more evidence that it boosts mental abilities like enhanced creativity, improved concentration, quicker learning, and sharper memory.
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Additional examples of employee wellness programs:
- Flexible working hours
- Employee activity clubs (e.g walking, bicycling)
- On-site gardening
- On-site individual or group counseling
- Remote working
- Celebrating employee success
- Childcare facilities
- Wellness newsletter
- Nutrition education
- Vaccination clinics
- Standing desks
- Employee field days
- Encouraging public transportation, walking, or biking
- Book club
- Workplace library
- Games room
- Subsidized ongoing education
- Virtual exercise challenges
Employee wellness programs help cultivate a supportive and healthy environment where employees can thrive. Employee wellbeing has a critical impact on numerous areas of business performance and among other things increases employee performance, satisfaction, morale, and collaboration.
Over time, wellness programs have evolved, and the more successful ones go the extra mile. This is partly because today’s employees are unwilling to stay at a workplace that is damaging to their mental and physical health.
Instead, employees expect a work culture that prioritizes employee health. That’s why businesses that make employee wellbeing programs a priority can look forward to long-term success.