Having the best workplace wellness programs without promoting them is about as useful as playing your favorite Beyoncé song on mute.
Yes, it’s still awesome, but nobody’s able to enjoy it! You’ve got to crank up the volume for it to have any effect on the mood.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to amplify wellness in the workplace. Here are some of the strategies you can use to ensure your teammates get the most out of your company’s wellness programs.
- Raise Awareness About Upcoming Events
Communication plays a big role in workplace wellness. You have to keep employees informed about available health programs and upcoming activities in order for them to participate. Lack of awareness is a barrier more often than you’d think: 60% of employees weren’t aware that their company offered any health and wellness policies, according to Gallup research.
You likely want an overarching communication plan, including repeated reminders about upcoming wellness initiatives. That way employees can sign up for events in advance and organize coverage so they can participate in activities.
The best communications channels will depend on your organization, but good options include:
- Newsletters: Keep your employees informed and engaged by sending regular newsletters about upcoming events.
- Open Slack channels: create channels devoted to various wellness topics, like a Slack channel for tackling mental health, a marathon club, or physical wellbeing. Encourage employees to collaborate and offer their thoughts in these conversations.
- Message boards: Promote new team challenges or upcoming workshops on a visible message board.
- Share a social calendar: Share and create a social calendar to ensure fun activities like bowling, cooking classes, or hikes in nature are on your employee’s schedule.
- Get The Whole Team Involved
Group activities can help people build relationships with their teams, which is great for them and the company. 9 out of 10 of employees say a sense of community is important for company success, and research has shown workplace friendships are tied to employee retention and corporate profitability.
There are a plethora of team-based wellness options, from yoga classes to charity runs. You can also gamify these group activities with departmental challenges and leaderboards. A little healthy competition between teams or departments can be a fun way to boost participation in wellness activities!
This can be done, for example, by setting up a goal and rewarding the first for each department to reach it, or crowning a department with the highest participation rate as the winner of a wellness initiative.
- Create a Healthy Work Environment
A healthy work environment is foundational to promoting wellness in the workplace. And, in this instance, ‘healthy’ is both physical and mental. Employees need to know their actual work space supports their health and that their company has a supportive culture.
On the physical side, consider how employee workspaces can be improved. Is the temperature comfortable? Is there sufficient lighting? Are workstations ergonomically designed for comfort? Can the company designate a room for meditation or include gym equipment? Have you provided a stipend for remote employees to set up an adequate work-from-home office?
You can also help employees make healthier nutritional choices by swapping out food options. Try swapping the chips and chocolate bars in your break room vending machine out for healthy snack options like nuts, protein bars, fruits, and veggies.
On the mental health side, consider how to help employees navigate work stress and pressure. Do they have access to mental health resources and support? Are there policies for mental wellness days off? Do they feel safe enough to communicate with their manager about their frustrations and worries? Make sure that employees are aware of the emotional wellbeing services available to them and take the time to assess how they’re feeling on a daily basis.
- Offer Flexible Work Hours
Flexible work hours have been shown to increase employee wellbeing by giving your team members control of their day.
Flexibility helps employees build routines that support their overall wellness. A standard nine-to-five job doesn't leave room for employees to work during their own peak productivity hours or tend to personal demands. On the other hand, flexible hours allow employees to take control of their time. This empowers employees to create schedules that optimize their sleep, personal time, and needs.
Flex hours can also give employees more time to take part in your other workplace wellbeing initiatives. And when people see co-workers taking part in wellness activities, it can have a snowball effect that helps others take part too!
On the employer side, studies have also found that flexible hours lead tohigher employee engagement, retention, and lower absenteeism. This arrangement can also lower employee stress levels, helping reduce burnout.
- Make Wellness Activities Accessible
If you want employees to take advantage of wellness initiatives, they should be as easily accessible as possible. When employers offer wellness programs that are easy to access, 61% of employees report making positive changes to their health and lifestyles.
To make wellness activities accessible, HR managers can give employees access to platforms like Gympass, where they can choose activities that best suit their needs. Another option is to bring programs to the workplace, so employees can easily opt into participating, like meditation classes on Monday mornings, or bringing healthcare professionals to the workplace.
Options can include offering subsidies or discounts for external activities such as gym memberships, yoga classes, and healthy foods. Or you could build an internal wellness hub with various programs like mental health resources, running clubs, free yoga lessons, and healthy meal plans.
HR managers can also make wellness accessible to employees by sending out resources and support to employees who need extra guidance or motivation. Or, a wellness program coordinator can be assigned to individuals or teams to provide support and ensure employees are taking advantage of activities and initiatives.
- Reward Employees Who Participate in Wellness Initiatives
Consider publicly recognizing employees that take part in your wellbeing programs. This simple action reiterates that the company values employee wellbeing and supports any efforts to make choices that increase healthy behaviors.
There are many ways of rewarding employees who take on wellness initiatives. For example, consider offering small compensations such as gift cards for gym memberships or discounts to healthy restaurants, or other monetary incentives.
Another option to consider is to create an accomplishment board where employees can share their goals and accomplishments. Through social recognition, other employees can see how initiatives are appreciated and encouraged, which might spark their own wellness goals.
- Encourage Supervisor Support
Managers play a key role in positively influencing employee wellbeing. They are in a powerful position to create a culture that supports employees and provides resources and policies that help them reach their wellness goals. The majority of employees (73%) who perceive their managers supportive and invested in wellness initiatives report a positive change in their healthy lifestyle and overall wellbeing, according to an American Psychological Association study.
When managers check-in to find ways to support their employees, they play a huge part in improving overall health and employee wellbeing.
Consider implementing one-on-one conversations between managers and employees to encourage open communication about their needs and goals. Asking questions like "How can I help you create a happier work environment?" or "What steps do you think our organization can take to support your health and wellbeing?" Can go a long way towards improving the workplace environment.
Workplace Wellness Promotion Should Be Part of Company Culture
Promoting workplace wellness is a great way to help your employees feel healthier and happier in the workplace. As you help employees achieve their wellness objectives, it'll show how your company’s culture prioritizes and cares for your employee's wellbeing.
By creating supportive policies and strategies that focus on promoting wellbeing in the workplace, you're ensuring employees are given every opportunity to stay healthy. With Gympass, you can help your employees feel empowered to continuously work towards a healthy work-life wellness with the right platform and access to activities at their fingertips.
Gympass can help you build a happier and healthier workforce with easy access to thousands of gyms and health apps. Boost your employee's morale and productivity with wellness plans that meet your employee's needs. Talk to a Gympass wellbeing specialist today!
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The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.