It is a well-established fact that having a corporate wellness program or promoting wellness in the workplace is a necessity. One that businesses cannot compromise.
62% of organizations offer workplace wellness programs to their employees, and it’s only a matter of time until almost all businesses offer a corporate wellness program in their catalog of employee benefits.
But are we missing something here? Is having a corporate wellness program just another employee perk that you need to tick off your list?
If not, what is it that makes it unique? Why should you be more careful and particular about choosing the right wellness program for your employees?
I’ll be answering all that (and much more) in this article.
What is a corporate wellness program?
A corporate wellness program is basically the summation of all the health policies and health initiatives taken by an organization in order to the promote wellness of their employees.
Linking wellness to the workplace is not a new concept. It has been there for a long time in the form of health screening, health insurances, medical coverages etc.
But do you see the problem? It was all about the cure and not much about the prevention.
As a result, more employees working desk-bound jobs in corporations are at risk to health issues related to their lifestyle. As a result, companies have to bear the burden every year in the name of medical coverages and health insurances.
Now, however, the approach has started to shift from fixing health issues to preventing them. A corporate wellness program should ideally help individuals to adopt a healthier lifestyle; it should encourage employees to make health a priority.
Awareness is the greatest agent for change. Everything you want to do starts with creating awareness.
Improving health literacy through awareness initiatives can be the first step toward creating an effecting corporate wellness program.
The aim, therefore, should be to create health awareness, build a healthy work environment and prioritize fitness and wellbeing.
Employees spend a huge part of their waking hours in the workplace, if wellness is to be made part of life, it must begin at the workplace itself.
Promoting wellness in the workplace can help both employees and the employer, but in order to reap the benefits of a corporate wellness program, you must do it right.
8 components of a corporate wellness program
To ensure your wellness program really impacts the lives of your employees, here are 8 components you need:
1. Made to suit a diverse workforce
Your workforce naturally consists of a wide variety of people hailing from diverse backgrounds. Therefore, your corporate wellness program should not just meet the needs of a group of individuals and fail for the rest, it should have enough criteria/measures so that everyone can benefit from it.
2. Customizable features
Different people have different health needs and different health goals. For some, losing weight might be a priority while others might want to maintain weight and build muscle. A wellness program, therefore, should facilitate customizable features that can be adjusted according to personal goals.
3. Well defined goals
The design of a wellness program should be unambiguous and well-defined. There can be various factors that can be used to measure/improve certain health aspects, and therefore, it is necessary that the program picks up best practices and sticks to them.
4. Integrated solution
Any good wellness program must have a comprehensive approach to wellness. It should look after the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of an employee.
The program should have all the usual health application features such as:
- Meal tracking
- Water intake tracking
- Calorie counting
- Customized health tips
And some advanced features as well, such as:
- Heart rate monitor
- Steps and distance tracker
- Physical activity tracker
- Stress management tips and training etc.
5. Community-driven engagement
Peer-to-peer motivation is a great driving force in corporations. When you offer employees a collaborative environment, they flourish. Wellness can be made an instant success when team activities and community-driven engagement are included. It is therefore very important that the program includes challenges and contests that will facilitate peer-to-peer engagement.
6. Embracing technology
Wellness and technology gel very well together. Today’s workforce is all about technology-driven solutions, and there is a similar approach when it comes to health. Employees will want to quantify their progress with numbers and statistics to back them up. When you incorporate technology into your wellness program, your employees are able to keep track of their activities, gain knowledge about their current status whilst measuring their improvements.
There are a number of different apps that businesses can use to help kickstart their corporate wellbeing program, including VantageFit, Vitality and The WorkLife App.
Gamification is everywhere! When you add elements of gaming such as leaderboards, contests and challenges to your wellness program, it automatically becomes fun and engaging. It is, in fact, the best way to increase participation and maintain user consistency.
A very lucrative proposition for a corporate wellness program is incentivization. Rewards in the form of incentives on completion of a task naturally create added motivation to participate. It also shows that the company actually cares about the wellbeing of their employees and further gives the employees the much-needed push that is extremely important at the beginning of a new journey (in this case the journey towards a healthier self).
5 ways you can introduce wellness in the workplace
Building wellness into the workplace is not a one-time affair, but a continuous effort. Promoting wellness is about creating a healthy work environment for your employees that will facilitate a holistic growth of the employees as well as the company. Here are some small changes that you might want to implement in the office (if you haven’t already):
1. Food wellness
Good health requires healthy food. Diet is a major risk factor in a lot of chronic diseases. If you have a cafeteria in your office or offer food to your employees in the office, it is your responsibility to ensure that the food you offer is of good quality and has high nutritional value.
2. Walking meetings
Meetings are probably the oldest business ritual in the book. We all know that the benefits of a good walk are incalculable. So why not mix the two? Walking meetings are a great way to integrate physical activity with work. Additionally, walking meetings ensure more active participation of your employees, strengthens communication and minimizes differences.
3. Healthy workstation
Employees spend a huge part of their waking hours in the office, the immediate physical work environment naturally has a lot to do with the well-being of employees. This can include the temperature, the office lighting, monitor heights, office furniture, types of equipment and air quality etc. It is the responsibility of the employers/managers to ensure that all these criteria meet the standard level.
4. Well-equipped breakrooms/restrooms
Another must-have in an office is a well-equipped restroom or breakroom. More often than not, employees don’t get sufficient amount of sleep or rest at home and so having a restroom that allows them to take a power nap can help to recharge themselves for the rest of the day through.
5. Stress management programs
Stress is one of the prime reasons for degrading wellness among employees. The physical and mental effects of stress are innumerable. Frequent headaches, insomnia, neck and back pains, increased frustration and reduced work efficiency are all side effects of stress. Having an effective stress management program can help employees to cope up with work pressure and other work-related stress symptoms.
A corporate wellness program is unlike any other employee benefits or perk. It requires a lot of thinking and brainstorming before implementing in an organization. One should keep in mind that needs may vary according to factors (such as geographic or demographic) and only the best program that aims to fulfill the diverse requirements of the workforce should be taken into consideration.
A sound wellness program can help an organization in many ways; it presents a caring image of the company, and makes employees feel valued and recognized. If implemented properly, an effective corporate wellness program can act as an important contributor to escalating employee engagement in an organization.