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Key Tips for Promoting Wellness in Your Workplace

workplace .

Healthy employees are happier and more productive — and this is one reason why the wellness industry is experiencing such impressive sustained growth.

The market is truly booming: According to numbers from the Global Wellness Institute, it's now a $3.72 trillion industry. Along with keeping employees in better mental and physical form, a well-designed wellness program can also lower the cost of employer-provided medical benefits.

It can also improve office morale, reduce the number of sick days taken by employees (The DuPont Corporation lowered absenteeism by an average of 14 days per year after beginning a wellness program) and help to lower personal medical expenses.

If you are thinking of implementing a wellness program into your office, or you are just looking for some ways to enhance what's already there, check out these tips and strategies.

Implementing a wellness program

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, a new wellness program should begin with an employee survey to assess their needs and gauge their interests. You may also wish to put together a health risk assessment; the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers some guidance you can follow when designing basic surveys and assessment forms.

Please remember that health information is protected by certain laws, so it's best to consult your legal counsel prior to gathering any information or data.

Once you've gathered sufficient feedback, it's time to implement your program. Key components include:

  • Creating a committee to oversee your internal wellness program
  • Establishing a budget
  • Stating program goals and objectives
  • Designing program components
  • Creating an incentive structure to encourage participation
  • Communicate the value of the program to employees
  • Establish metrics for gauging success

Once you've completed these steps, you'll be ready to debut your program - and reap the rewards of a more engaged, healthier workforce.

Tips for small businesses seeking to get the most from their wellness initiative

A large budget isn't a prerequisite for a successful wellness program. There are a variety of steps you can take to make a positive impact on your employees' health even with limited resources.

First, consider eliminating vending machines stocked with junk food and replace them with healthier options such as protein or granola bars. You can also stock fresh fruit for sale in the office cafeteria.

You can organize daily or weekly health activities at the office - walks or bike rides along nearby trails, or form a softball or bowling team, etc. Handing out low-cost pedometers employees can use to track their daily steps is another way to encourage employees to be active.

Contests are one of the best ways to incentivize healthy behavior. The prizes don't have to be extravagant - a few nice rewards and your employees' competitive spirits should help with participation.

Does your workplace have a quiet area where employees can step away from their desks for a quick break or to relieve stress? If not, it's a smart idea to create a quiet, low-lit area where people can read, meditate or simply relax.

In that same vein, it's a good idea to make sure your work environment is conducive to mental health. Natural light, open spaces and plants make people feel better about their surroundings. You should also make sure your workplace offers access to fresh, cool drinking water. Communal spaces often spark great collaborative ideas.

Wellness in the workplace has gained traction for a reason - it's the key to happier, healthier and more productive employees.

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