The pandemic wasn’t the only reason companies are exploring employee wellness programs. The importance of health and wellness in the office wasn’t born out of the coronavirus pandemic. For the past decade, wellness and health have been at the forefront of the achievement of a work-life balance. The new breed of employees is increasingly aware of the importance of taking care of their well-being rather than pursuing to climb the corporate ladder. Though many of them are still committed to their careers, they have grown to appreciate the value of having time for themselves and spending time with family and friends.
But much more than a more flexible work schedule, employees are centered around the idea of achieving wellness even when they are at work. They’re no longer satisfied with clocking in an hour at the gym after work hours. No, they want gym time to be incorporated into their work schedule. They want the gym to be accessible from their workstations. This is why companies like Google have come up with an ingenious idea of combining work and leisure right at the comfort of their own offices. Can you, perhaps, follow suit?
On-site Fitness Centers
It used to be that companies will partner with nearby gym facilities to give discounts or free memberships to employees. But this remained optional because employees are having a hard time carving out time from their work schedules. Then, organizations started realizing that an employee’s overall health leads to productivity. With lack of exercise the leading cause of absenteeism in the workplace, companies began converting parts of their office building into on-site fitness centers.
A couple of treadmills, gym mats, dumbbells, and weights are all you need to create this space. Not all companies have the budget to allocate an entire floor for a fitness center, but a small and functional room will do. That’s what you can work on.
Health and Wellness Benefits
Aside from the fitness center, companies should also provide wellness benefits such as dental and podiatric care. Not many companies understand the importance of access to a podiatric clinic. However, the health of your workers’ feet should also concern you. Workers often have leg cramps from sitting too long before a desk. That can lead to various podiatric problems, so make sure you have benefits for that.
It’s the same with dental care. Without dental insurance, employees will set aside much-needed visits to the dentist. Include this in the health benefits package, so your employees will not miss out on a dental appointment again.
Healthy living is hard to achieve. This is why companies are now offering smoking cessation programs. They know that employees who smoke are more likely to develop medical problems. You shouldn’t force your employees, of course. However, you need to offer a program that will help them stop this vice. According to one study, a smoking cessation program can bring down the number of smokers in a company from 40% of the total workforce to just 17%.
Transportation incentives are considered wellness programs because it is double-hard for employees to drive and commute to work. You can start a bike-sharing and car-pooling program for employees. Encourage those who live nearby to walk to and from work. If they are going to take public transportation (instead of taking private cars to work), reimburse them for their train tickets. You can save money on this rather than provide parking spaces for your employees.
Aside from the wellness of your employees, you will also be pushing your company’s environmental agenda. Ride-sharing and public transport are friendlier options to the environment. Highlight this program when you market the company as consumers want to know they’re supporting eco-friendly businesses.
Lunch and Healthy Snacks
It’s okay if you cannot provide free healthy lunches and snacks like Google, but you do have to partner with a cafeteria that will produce these healthy meals for a price. Another way to encourage your workers to eat healthily is by giving them more than an hour for a lunch break. This means they won’t be forced to eat fast food. They’ll be able to walk to a deli and wait for their order of a healthy sandwich. You can also partner with local caterers to come up with a healthy and delicious menu for your employees.
Wellness programs are great because it sends a message to your employees: the company cares about you. Not only do these programs increase productivity, but it retains employees. Companies that care about the well-being of their employees receive the utmost loyalty from their workers. In turn, these are the companies that continue to exist and thrive today.