5 Simple and Cost-Effective Workplace Wellness Initiatives
Workplace wellness programs are the initiatives taken by employers to improve the health and well-being of their employees. The wellness initiatives 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 an important step 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% of total healthcare costs. Let’s see below which are the simple and cost-effective workplace wellness initiatives employers might take.
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 workday, consider launching a “take the stairs” initiative.
Why Take the Stairs?
Walking is a simple way to work out that helps you burn more calories. It has a significant impact to keep you healthy and fit. Walking:
- Reduces the 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 is more than walking as it is a slightly heavier activity that enhances the capacity of heart and lungs and burns more calories per minute than walking or jogging! Employees should give preference to stairs over an elevator in their daily routine as a part of their personal wellness initiative.
How to Encourage the Use of Stairs?
Here are some ideas to encourage your employees and other visitors to your office to opt for the stairs.
- Hang signs: Make stairwells easily visible to employees and guests. The floor of the office should be painted with footprints. Directional signs can be placed to help people to find the stairs.
- You can try displaying motivational messages on office walls to inspire your employees for healthy choices.
- Try to make stairwells more appealing to draw the attention of employees
- Try to brighten stairwells to increase its visibility.
- The office walls must be painted with bright and energetic colours.
- Consider installing speakers into the stairwells that play music. It will keep your employees not feeling tired while walking through the stairs.
- Hang motivational cartoon pictures or any other artwork designed by the office employees.
2. Healthy Meals In Cafeteria
A cafeteria is a crucial space in the office building for relaxation and information sharing. This space can be utilized to promote healthy eating as employees or other visitors to the office often visit the cafeteria to consume eatables.
Promote Healthy Eating
Organize a cafeteria wellness program. Denote healthy menu choices with a colourful symbol such as a heart or thumbs up sign in a bright, easily recognizable colour. 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 anything like a T-shirt with some catchy health-related slogan, a water bottle, a gym membership gift card, or discounted coupon, or any other item that promotes health and well-being.
Conduct cooking sessions after office hours in the workplace cafeteria. Demonstrate and instruct cooking skills like making healthy salads and snacks, barbecue sauces, different cooking techniques such as Italian, French, or Mexican, teach heart-healthy low-fat cooking meals or recipes with the use of locally grown ingredients.
Seek Advice from a Registered Dietitian
A professional dietitian can educate your employees about the nutrients their bodies need on a daily basis which in turn helps them to change their eating habits. You can also use a food tracking tool in order to better manage the eating behaviour of individual employees. This allows the dietitian to monitor each employee individually and suggest a personalized diet plan.
3. Switch to Standing Desk
The standing desk also popularly known as a stand-up desk, is basically a desk that enables you to work comfortably while standing. Various modern versions of a standing desk are present that are adjustable so that you can very easily adjust the height of the desk and this way alternate between standing and sitting. These are very popularly known as sit-stand desks or height-adjustable desks.
According to a lot of researches, sitting at one place for a longer duration has also been associated to as the “new smoking” in accordance with its harmful effects, while on the other hand standing desk can have various impressive health benefits. A standing desk may also increase productivity and at the very least, practising this type of desk can partly neutralize the harmful consequences of “sitting too much”.
Advantages of Standing Desk
- Reduces the risk of weight gain
- Can reduce blood sugar
- Improved productivity
- Decreases heart disease risk
Note: It is important to make sure that while working with a standing desk you have the correct viewing distance and posture between you and your monitor.
Keep in mind the following rules:
- The level of your eye should be even with monitor’s top.
- Viewing distance between the monitor and you should be of 15-30 inches.
- You should able to hold your wrists straight.
- Make sure that the elbows are close to your body and at an angle of 90-degrees.
4. Weekly or Bi-weekly Yoga Sessions
Yoga and dance fitness at the office can truly help employees at many levels. They aid strengthen an individual physically, assist the immune, digestive as well as other bodily systems as well as aid in keeping the mind remain focused, calm and alert. Participating in yoga or dance fitness at the workplace is with time maturing to be an exciting and engaging thing the offices are conducting worldwide which most employees look forward to. Employees describe that these sessions are just like a spring of calmness in the midst of a hectic schedule and this helps them maintain their physical health while restoring their peace of mind and alertness.
Workplace yoga makes it simple for employees to join in and also it saves their travel time, they would be wasting while travelling to and from any yoga studio. Corporate yoga is beneficial as it promotes stress relieving and self-care techniques during an exhausting workday.
Benefits of Yoga At Work
- One of the numerous advantages of Yoga is cultivating an awareness of the consequences of stress in our routine lives and the expertise with which we can easily manage them. These advantages naturally spread from an individual participant to the work environment. Also, practising yoga on a regular basis is known to bring enhanced health and increased energy, productivity and well-being.
- Different from other types of exercise routines, yoga is low impact, it increases strength and flexibility, builds concentration, as well as decreases physical and mental tension and stress. In addition, yoga is recognized to generate energy and eradicate fatigue, all of which results in increased morale and productivity. Yoga exercises are easy and can be adjusted according to different abilities and skill levels- which sounds good for an office environment!
- Yoga can have a positive influence on one’s ability to gain confidence, build concentration and reduce stress. All of these result in a more harmonious and productive work environment. But that’s not it, offering yoga sessions at the workplace can also significantly decrease the operating costs.
Conducting yoga sessions at work is an innovative and low-cost solution for companies who are wanting to decrease the health care expenses, reduce workplace stress and encourage employee well-being.
You May Try: Desk Yoga Poses To Relieve Stress At Work
5. Start Employee Health Screenings
Planning corporate health check for employees can be a very significant initiative to build your wellness program at the workplace more engaging. This will also encourage your workforce not to seek time before or after office hours for health check purpose. Additionally, you will have knowledge about which health issue is quite common among your workforce which enables you to tweak your corporate wellness program and make it more personalized according to your workforce requirement. Wellness programs that are personalized have a greater probability of influencing the well-being of employee in a positive manner.
You may like Pre-employment health check of employees.
6. Set-Up Step Challenges
With many of us living such hectic lives, even a primary task like, walking can become challenging to actually make time for. There can be plenty of excuses like driving a car is comparatively quicker, taking life is comfortable. Moreover, after a long working day, most of us feel like settling in our bed in front of our television screens. This growing sedentary lifestyle influences not only our own well-being but also the environment at work. An office which is unhealthy is often low in energy, professionalism, positivity, and quality. To make sure you don’t fall into this, you need to make it certain that your workforce keeps moving!
A Pedometer Challenge
Walking is one of the most effective and easiest exercise one can perform. A pedometer challenge can help you and your workforce enjoy the benefits of modern technology and put it to work while helping you achieve positive well-being goals. A pedometer challenge is an exciting well-being initiative that can motivate your employees to get moving towards a healthier and happier lifestyle. With the use of Smart Phone apps, your workforce can now easily track their steps every day and reach their progressive goals.
Executing a pedometer challenge in your office is an excellent way to see positive changes in your workforce. All in all, a pedometer challenge is a sure success and if implemented and followed correctly. It is sure to pay off on interpersonal, individual and corporate level.