5 Simple And Cost-Effective Wellness Initiatives You Can Implement At Your Workplace
Wellness programs are usually employer-sponsored initiatives that are designed to improve the health of employees. They aim to prevent sickness, stress and other physical and mental disorders that might affect employee productivity and well-being. Workplace wellness programs help employees feel that their employer has invested in their well-being, which in turn motivates them to perform at the best of their abilities.
Creating an on-site wellness program is important because the majority of an employee’s time is spent at the workplace. By following a wellness program one can easily prevent chronic diseases that sum up to nearly 75 percent of total healthcare costs.
1. Take the Stairs
If you’re interested in starting a workplace wellness program or looking for new ways to encourage employees to be active during the work day, consider launching a “take the stairs” initiative.
Why Take the Stairs?
Walking more, in general, is one of the easiest ways to increase physical activity. It is low impact with significant rewards:
- Reduces risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
- Improves blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and blood lipid profile
- Maintains body weight and lowers risk of obesity
Taking the stairs, more specifically, is an effective short burst of activity that increases heart and lung capacity—and burns more calories per minute than walking or jogging! Choosing the stairs over the elevator is easy to incorporate into a daily routine, so the likelihood of employees keeping it up as part of their personal wellness efforts is high.
How to Encourage the Use of Stairs?
A few simple strategies can motivate your worksite’s employees and guests to choose the stairs.
- Hang signs: Be sure employees and visitors can easily locate stairwells. Directional signs or even footprints painted or glued to floors help.
- Motivational messages inspire a conscious, healthy choice. Try health-specific motivation as well as more creative approaches like song lyrics.
- Make stairwells appealing
- Add track, incandescent, or halogen lights to brighten stairwells.
- Paint walls bright, energetic colors.
- Hang artwork created by employees or children from a nearby school. Or frame and hang cartoons.
- Install speakers and play music. Choose a genre that complements your company image or mix it up for variety.
2. Healthy Meals In Cafeteria
A cafeteria is a great place for message and information sharing. Several large bulletin boards can be displayed in the cafeteria, displaying the information about healthy eating habits.
Promote Healthy Eating
Organize a cafeteria wellness program. Denote healthy menu choices with a colorful symbol such as a heart or thumbs up sign in a bright, easily recognizable color. Each time an employee goes for a healthy meal, the symbol a card is punched. When a specified number of punches are completed the employee receives a reward. This reward could be a T-shirt with a healthy slogan, a hat, a water bottle, a gift card, a free or discounted coupon, a reward check, a paid hour off from work, or any other appropriate item.
Organize cooking classes after hours in the cafeteria. Instruct and demonstrate cooking skills such as healthy salads, making barbecue sauces, healthy snacks, French, Italian or Mexican cooking, low fat, heart healthy recipes or meals using locally grown ingredients.
3. Switch to Standing Desk
A standing desk, also called a stand-up desk, is basically a desk that allows you to stand up comfortably while working. Many modern versions are adjustable so that you can change the height of the desk and alternate between sitting and standing. Often referred as height-adjustable desks or sit-stand desks.
According to various researches, sitting has also been referred to as the new smoking in terms of harmful effects, while standing desk can have impressive benefits for health. It may also increase productivity. At the very least, using this type of desk can partly negate the harmful effects of sitting too much.
Benefits of Standing Desk
- Lowers risk of weight gain
- Can lower blood sugar
- Increased productivity
- Reduces heart disease risk
Make sure that while using standing desk you have the correct posture and viewing distance between you and the monitor. Remember the following rules:
- Your eye level should be even with the top of the monitor.
- You need a viewing distance between you and the monitor of 15-30 inches.
- You need to be able to keep your wrists straight.
- Your elbows should be close to your body and at a 90-degree angle.
4. Weekly or Bi-weekly Yoga Sessions
Dance fitness and yoga at the workplace can really help employees of an organization on many levels. They help strengthen a person physically, assist the digestive, immune and other bodily systems and also help the mind to remain calm, alert and focused. Doing Yoga or participating in dance fitness at the office is over time becoming a natural thing to do at most offices worldwide which employees look forward to. Employees report that these activity sessions are an oasis of calm in the midst of a hectic day and help them to maintain their physical health and restore their alertness and peace of mind.
Yoga in the work place makes it easy for employees to join in and eliminates travel times to and from a yoga studio. Corporate yoga promotes self-care and stress relieving techniques during the workday.
Benefits of Yoga At Work
- One of the many benefits of Yoga is developing an awareness of the effects of stress in our lives, and the skills with which to manage them. These benefits naturally extend from the individual participant to the work environment in which they are contributing. Regular practice is known to bring improved health in mind and body, increased energy, well-being, and productivity.
- Unlike other exercise routines, yoga is low impact, improves strength and flexibility, builds concentration, and reduces mental and physical stress and tension. In addition, yoga is known to eradicate fatigue and generate energy, all of which lead to increased productivity and morale. Yoga exercises are simple and can be modified for different skill levels and abilities – perfect for the office environment!
- Yoga can be a positive influence on one’s ability to concentrate, gain confidence, and reduce stress. All these things lead to more a more productive, harmonious work environment. But that’s not the only benefit to companies. Providing yoga for employees can significantly cut operating costs.
Offering yoga classes at work is a low-cost and innovative solution for companies wanting to reduce health care expenses, relieve workplace stress and promote employee well-being. The performance of a corporation depends on the performance of its key assets—employees. Healthy employees are more productive and more cost effective.
You May Try: Desk Yoga Poses To Relieve Stress At Work
5. Set-Up Step Challenges
With many of us leading such hectic lives, even a basic task such as walking can become difficult to make time for. There are always plenty of excuses. Driving a car is quicker. Taking the life is easier. After a long day, most of us will settle in front of our laptops at home as well as at work. An increasingly sedentary lifestyle affects not only our own wellnes but also the atmosphere at work. An unhealthy office is often low in professionalism, energy, quality and positivity. To change this, you need to make sure that your employees keep moving!
A Pedometer Challenge
Walking is one of the easiest and most effective steps we can make towards any goal in health and wellbeing, from losing weight to improving your heart health. A pedometer challenge can help you use the benefits of modern technology and put it to work towards helping you and your employees reach positive wellbeing goals.
A pedometer challenge is a fantastic corporate wellbeing initiative that can help everyone in your workplace get moving towards a happier, healthier lifestyle. Using Smart Phone apps, employees can easily keep the track of their steps each day, using these numbers to make and reach progressive goals throughout the program.
Implementing a pedometer challenge in your workplace is a great way to see positive changes in the lives of individuals as well as in the office as a whole. Even as each participant begins feeling more energetic, confident, and inspired, you will begin to see these developments manifest at work as well.
All in all, a pedometer challenge is one wellbeing initiative that will pay off on the individual, interpersonal, and corporate levels.