This is a guest post written by Paige from bizwellu.com. Unfortunately, that site no longer exists! But this post remains as testament to Paige’s great writing skills!
Employees across the country have started to notice a phenomenon happening in the workplace. Organizations are starting to hop on the Wellness at work Bandwagon. Each employer’s offer may look different, but one thing is the same: employers are recognizing that wellness in the workplace is a benefit.
Who is it benefiting?
Both the employee and the employer have something to gain when wellbeing initiatives are implemented in the workplace. Employers recognize that employees who are healthier are more engaged, have less sick or vacation days taken on average, have increased productivity and are generally happier than their less-healthier counterparts. And, the literature supports these statements. Add in the fact that healthier individuals amount fewer healthcare costs over time, and the outcome is a no-brainer. Employee wellness programs are an investment for the organization.
Programs can include:
- Gym membership reimbursements
- Healthier food during work meetings
- Wellness speaker events
- Smoking cessation programs
- Financial education classes
But employees benefit from the investment in wellness too! Individuals who engage in wellness programs often feel more valued than those who work at an organization that does not have a wellness program, they feel better able to manage their stress, and they are able to use the tools and tricks to implement not only a healthier workplace but a healthier home life as well! The trickle-down effect will start to saturate the lives of their spouses, loved ones, children and more!
“This sounds great” you may be saying to yourself. Why doesn’t every company offer a wellness program? Well, because it is costly. Including a wellness program either into the benefits department or through HR is going to cost the employer money. Companies like to typically see what is called an ROI. Return on Investments is an exact dollar amount returned to them, for every dollar spent.
Encouraging an employer to invest in a wellness program is challenging. More often than not, if the executive team does not believe in health and wellness, there is a good chance they may not take the steps needed to adopt a culture that supports wellbeing at all.
And yet, just because you may work for an organization that does not have a wellness program, that does not mean you are unable to add wellness behaviours into your day-to-day lives!
Here are some tips on how to add wellness into your workday.
Making Wellness Work
- Move on the Hour – Have you heard the
statement, “sitting is the new smoking?” The average workday is 9am-5pm, and most individuals spend a large majority of
that time in a chair. Then, when people go home, they sit some more. With the
vast amount of time the average individual spends sitting during their day, it
is no surprise just how sedentary the general population has become. One way to
break up that time is to get up on the hour and take a lap around the room.
Start by setting an alarm on your workplace calendar. Just by taking a lap
around the office you will begin to add in extra movement during the day. If
that is hard, walk up and down the stairs once or twice. The time amount is not
the trick, it is the number of times you are getting up each day! Are you a
technology person? Some individuals have invested in a Fitbit or Apple Watch.
It is possible to set wellness goals on those as well. “Active Hours” or
“Workout Rings” will help keep you on track. Not able to build those walks into
your day? Then make a point to take a short walk on your break!
- Water Over Wine (or should I say Coffee?) – Due to how many meetings, phone calls, and emails individuals are bombarded with, the average consumption of coffee has gone way up! But coffees are not just black coffee with milk anymore. With the rise of coffee chains like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and more, the “coffees” are more like milkshakes in a cup. As someone who used to religiously stop at Starbucks every morning at 8:05 am on the dot, to the point that the baristas knew my name, I realized that this is a problem. Individuals should try and replace coffee with water during the day. The extra water consumption will lead individuals to feel more hydrated, alert, and getting up for an extra walk due to how much they have to use the bathroom! (Win on all accounts). Plus, what better excuse to go pick out a new cute water cup or bottle to keep at the office? This is the most important part. Keep a water bottle at the office that never leaves! That way you never arrive in the morning and realize you forgot your water and need to go down the hall and wind up with another cup of coffee. Bonus tip? Request HR to bring in filtered water, or a water cooler!
- Pack Your Lunch – This is a big one. Not
only will packing your lunch help you on a financial wellness front, but you
are more in control of the foods you are eating as well! I used to work in an
office that every day, there was a minimum of 3 boxes of doughnuts every morning. In the event I had
conveniently forgotten to eat
breakfast, I knew I had a sugary-option, feet from my desk. Offices across the
country have been fueling their employees with sugar and caffeine instead of
healthier options like fruit and nuts. When you take control by packing your
lunch, eating breakfast at home, and keeping healthier snacks in your desk, you
will be able to stop any last-minute binge attacks by having a prepared option
available. Ever heard the line, “A failure
to plan, is a plan to fail?” Yup, don’t fall into that trap! Pick up some trail-mix, and clementine’s to leave in your
- Don’t Be Afraid to Voice Your Suggestions – This may come as a surprise, but many programs in the office are implemented based off of employee feedback. Does your office send out an annual employee satisfaction survey? Do you have a suggestion box hung up in the kitchen? Are you pretty friendly with your supervisor? Don’t be afraid to voice what you are looking for. By approaching your employer with an idea, maybe even one you have researched yourself, you are better off getting what you want, rather than sitting around waiting for it to happen! Many companies post reviews of their programs online. See if there is a company similar to yours, and review what they did to get started. Heck, call their 800 number and ask about it! Write down a couple of suggestions and bring them to your employer. Worst they can say is no, and then you are in no different position then you are right now.
Wellness may be a change, but one that can be built into any facet of your life. Start with just one step! The tips mentioned above are all things that can be implemented in any workplace, whether you work hourly in a retail store, or full-time in an office.
I hope just one of the items mentioned above help you on your journey to health and wellness. Interested in learning more? Check out my blog! Bizwellu.com.