Implementing a Workplace Wellness Program

6 min. read

Workplace wellness programs refer to a collection of initiatives that promote a healthy lifestyle and work-life balance.

Workplace wellness programs, also known as employee wellness programs, refer to a collection of initiatives within an organization that promote a healthy lifestyle and work-life balance.

Bringing benefits to both employees and their employers, wellness programs vary based on organizational needs and resources. They can range from a simple exercise program to an elaborate multi-prong initiative that targets risk behaviors.

As they can be costly, you may be wondering what the advantages are to introducing a wellness program in the workplace. In this article, you will discover the benefits of investing in employee health and well-being.

Types of well-being

The notion of wellness is often associated with gym memberships and wheatgrass shots, which limits the scope to just physical well-being. In reality, well-being is more complex, incorporating many dimensions that, when nurtured in harmony, improve a person’s health and quality of life.

Effective workplace wellness programs address and promote holistic dimensions of well-being. Below are eight common dimensions of well-being that can be addressed through a wellness program:

  • Physical - the smooth running of all physical bodily functions. Initiatives addressing anything from exercise to nutrition to sleep fall under the umbrella of physical well-being.
  • Emotional - refers to an individual’s ability to manage their own emotions and effectively express them to others. Mental health encompasses all aspects of emotional and psychological well-being, affecting how a person acts, thinks, and feels.
  • Financial - commonly refers to a person’s financial stability and whether they are spending and saving money thoughtfully to contribute positively to their short-term and long-term goals.
  • Social - can be thought of as the state of one's personal social network and sense of belonging.
  • Occupational - describing an employee's satisfaction, fulfillment, and contentment in the workplace, including factors such as work-life balance and career development.
  • Purpose - this dimension of wellness is often referred to as spiritual well-being. It involves developing values and beliefs that provide purpose in life.
  • Intellectual - refers to the active participation in scholastic, cultural, and community activities.
  • Environmental - an important cause for employers to champion. Organizations can promote sustainable living, raise awareness, and implement sustainable operations as a part of their environmental wellness program.

Examples of workplace wellness programs

There are many ways that you can incorporate wellness into the workplace and your employees’ lives. This can range from installing a state-of-the-art fitness center to providing healthy snack options in the office. Below are some common examples of wellness programs that can improve employee health and well-being and improve your company culture:

Examples of effective workplace wellness programs:

  • Health risk assessments and screenings
  • Exercise programs and activities - on-site fitness centers, gym membership, or access to a personal trainer
  • Stress reduction programs – promoting a healthy work-life balance
  • Transit options – encouraging alternative methods of transportation, such as bike sharing or public transit incentives
  • Paramedical services - typically associated with support for insomnia, stress, and personal wellness e.g. massage therapy
  • Smoking cessation programs including personal coaching
  • Nutrition education - providing healthy meals and snacks
  • Employee assistance programs - guided support programs where employees are rewarded for setting wellness goals and accomplishing them
  • Wellness challenges – fitness-related challenges with fun, health-related prizes

What are the advantages of implementing a workplace wellness program?

In recent years, workplace wellness programs have become common among businesses of all sizes. Organizations across the globe are offering a wide range of wellness programs designed to suit their employees’ needs and wants. But, what are the benefits of implementing a workplace wellness program? Read on to find out.

Increase productivity

In a recent ‘wellness in the workplace’ study 84 percent of employers reported higher productivity and performance from their employees due to wellness programs.

One of the main causes of poor productivity among employees is poor health. When you are in poor health, you have lower energy levels and feel less motivated to work. Taking part in wellness activities and challenges can have a positive effect on your physical and mental health, boosting your immune system and reducing stress. Happy, healthy employees will be better focused and more motivated to start work in the morning.

Encourage healthy behaviors and habits

An effective workplace wellness program helps people to adopt and maintain healthy behaviors and habits. With the right training and education, your employees can learn the benefits of eating healthily, exercising regularly, and reducing unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and alcohol consumption. Wellness programs also aim to teach people how to manage work-related stress, adopt a healthy work-life balance, and reduce the risk of burnout. As employees learn to make decisions in life which benefit their health this helps to combat depression and improve life and job satisfaction.

‍Boost employee engagement

An organization that establishes a company culture focusing on wellness creates a committed and engaged workforce that understands that good health benefits their careers.

Group wellness activities like walking meetings, water consumption challenges, and fitness competitions work to bond your employees and improve their engagement with the company as a whole. Team activities allow employees to network and meet new people, encouraging a supportive environment and increasing opportunities to form valuable workplace relationships.

Decrease absenteeism

56 percent of employees who participate in workplace wellness programs say they have fewer sick days. In addition, 30 percent say they’ve had a disease detected by health screenings, allowing them to begin treatment before it progresses.

Workplace wellness programs are designed to improve employee health and well-being to benefit both the individual and the business. When employees are healthy and stress-free they are less likely to be absent from work, this increases their job satisfaction, but also reduces healthcare costs and increases revenue.

Improve company culture

Workplace wellness programs have been found to have a positive influence on company culture. Implementing initiatives that focus on the individual and educating them on cultivating a healthy work-life balance shows employees that you care about them and value their contribution.

A large number of wellness activities encourage open and honest communication between team members. This builds meaningful relationships in the workplace which can promote a sense of belonging. When an employee feels like they can be themselves in a trusting environment they are more likely to ask questions, share ideas, and get creative.

Considering the ever-increasing costs of health insurance and the importance of employee health, a well-thought-out workplace wellness program can benefit both your employees’ health and your bottom line.