Kick start to wellness for 2017
The New Year period is the perfect time to run with employee wellness program ideas. Staff tend to be highly receptive – possibly due to their over-eating during the festive season, the post-Christmas blues, or the guilt of already-waning New Year’s resolutions!
Whatever the reason, it’s fertile ground for wellbeing initiatives to fly.
Start with some of these employee wellness program ideas:
Provide healthy snacks for staff – get a fruit box delivered weekly (or more!) – stop offering sugary snacks – get rid of the unhealthy vending machine!
Order healthy lunches instead of muffins, cookies and cakes for staff meetings
Implement standing desks. If budget allows for everyone to have height adjustable desks or simply provide a stand up desk option that staff can book. Stand-up desks have many benefits for people, they're a great alternative to sitting all day as standing rather than sitting promotes better blood flow, better posture and therefore less risk of neck adn shoulder injuries.
Make it cheaper to keep fit. Contact local gyms or other activitiy providers to get a corporate special deal based on quantities to encourage your staff to sign up. Notify staff when your local gym is having a special. Negotiate a bulk-buy discounted rate with a supplier for fitness trackers, and help staff with repayments by staggering deductions from their salary.
Publish a wellness newsletter. Or a health and wellness section to your staff newsletter. You can focus on different topics each issue such as healthy eating, exercise ideas, health risk awareness, easy ways to get active at work and healthy recipes for staff to try!
Wearable wellness. The latest innovations in wearable health devices take fitness monitoring to new heights. Users can track their steps, physical activity, sleep patterns, heart rate and more – all of which helps motivate staff to stay active. In the workplace, these fit wristbands act as great reminders to get up and move around, particularly important for staff who work at their desks for long stints.
Team challenges. A new year. A new challenge And there’s nothing like a dose of healthy competition between departments or regional offices to rev people into action. Encourage staff to enter corporate fitness challenges, a staff wide fun run, 10,000 a day step challenge, local gym challenges or start up a staff sports team. Or organize internal challenges to improve wellness, run a mile a day, get 7hrs sleep or drink 8 glasses of water per day for a month. You can use leader boards and a prize to incentivise staff.
Rethink the office layout. To counter the sedentary effects of a desk job, review your office layout with a view to encouraging staff to move around more.
For example, reposition frequently-visited sites – such as the water cooler, stationery cupboard, and printer/scanner to a higher floor, or further down the hall.
Repurpose a disused office into a mini gym. Introduce pods of standing desks.
Daily step challenge. Experts says that 10,000 steps – around five miles - is the recommended daily minimum distance for a healthy active person. A desk-bound person may only average around 2,000 steps a day. To get this employee wellness program idea moving, offer staff free pedometers (or if you’re feeling super generous, a fitband – see above) at the start of the year, and challenge them to beat their own Personal Best each month. Help them on their journey by listing the number of steps to the local park, shopping mall, public transport, and taking the stairs.
Prevention prevails. This time of year, the dreaded flu continues to lurk, putting staff out of action for days. The best way to avoid it is to vaccinate against it. Offer staff on-site flu vaccines, or reimburse them the fee if they’ve already been vaccinated.
Prevent cross-contamination by having hand sanitizers freely available, and remind staff about the importance of regular hand washing.
Simple, timely communication. An effective way to provide guidance and influence healthy behaviour is via bite-size chunks of information. Timely tips such as ‘Go drink some water’; ‘Stand up and do five stretches’; or ‘Breathe deeply for one minute’ can be all that’s needed to incite action and contribute towards employee wellness.
Use visuals How you deliver these reminders is just as important. Create an internal comms campaign using these latest messaging tools, and be able to measure the impact of each employee wellness program idea. Encourage staff with visual reminders to take the stairs, walk to work, remind staff to take a break, check their posture, rest eyes, take the stairs, do some stretches, go for a walk etc. Visual messaging channels – such as desktop alerts, screensavers, desktop wallpaper, and desktop tickers – ensure your wellness comms get noticed.
Don’t skimp on sick leave. If you don’t provide paid sick time, then expect unwell staff to turn up and attempt to work. That means they’ll infect others, who’ll infect even more, and before you know it, you’re faced with a workplace epidemic.
Genuinely encourage staff to stay home when they’re unwell. It’s best for everyone.
These simple but effective employee wellness program ideas will ensure your team are on track for a healthy, happy and productive year.
Learn more about employee wellness program communication:
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