By Claudia Tay
Being healthy and in excellent physical and mental shape, places a person to be in good condition to work. Employees will be more focused and productive. Employees spent most of their time at work every day. Sometimes they do not have time to exercise or do not have regular meals on time, but they must still be reminded to take care of their health. Companies can help enhance and promote health and wellness at the workplace so that employees can lead a better and healthier work-life.
Benefits of a Healthy Workplace with Wellness Programmes
– Happier Employees Promotes Employee Satisfaction
Employees feel appreciated when companies implement and promote health and wellness programmes to their employees. They feel more positive, have better teamwork, better communication and are more committed to their work. Consistent employee reviews and surveys have shown that wellness programmes increased employee satisfaction and employee engagement in the workplace.
– Improve Productivity
When employees are healthier, they exhibit a higher rate of productivity and performance. They can think and work better. Research from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), Brigham Young University and the Center for Health Research at Healthways shows, “Workers who ate healthful meals and exercised on a regular basis had better job performance and lower absenteeism. Employees who eat healthy all day long were 25 percent more likely to have higher job performance, the study found, while those who eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables at least four times a week were 20 percent more likely to be more productive.” This shows healthier employees are more likely to be more productive and have higher job performance at work.
– Lesser Absenteeism
In a study from Harvard University in 2010, reported that for every dollar employers spent on wellness campaigns, costs associated with absenteeism fell by $2.73. *
A healthy work environment can reduce absenteeism rate.
– Lesser Mental Stress and Burnout
Psychological stress and exhaustion leads to burnout. A healthy work environment which provides health and wellness programmes will reduce mental stress and will also lower the possibilities of employees’ burnout.
Promoting Health & Wellness
1) Management to Lead by Example
– Companies can provide programmes, but it will not work if everyone is still busy and not find the effort to go sign up. If management and leaders can set examples and gather their departments to sign up together, the joining effect will be higher. One thing to note and remind is that companies are not to penalise anyone not joining but to encourage one another.
2) Health Assessment, Talks and Workshops
– Companies can provide primary health screen for their employees so that employees can understand their health conditions and know their baseline. In this way, employees will be able to do prevention work, work their way to their target or maintain at their healthy health level. If any chronic disease is detected, they will be able to seek early treatment too. If possible, necessary health checks should be done every year so that employees can compare their health results on a yearly basis.
– Companies can also provide talks on various topics which can include mental well-being, emotional well-being, healthy eating, healthy cooking demonstrations and ergonomics etc. With education and information, employees will be able to take care of their health better.
– Promote and encourage employees to join in these health education activities, depending on the budget. Companies can hold these talks during lunch time and provide lunch for all who attend. They can also organise these workshops before the day ends so that each employee can participate in the activities during office hours. Small rewards or gifts can be prepared to encourage participation.
3) Motivation for Exercise
– Employees may be too busy to leave to go take up some sports and exercise. For promoting and motivating physical, as well as, mental health and wellness, companies can set specific policy and allow employees to go off from work 30/45 mins earlier for a workout. It can be approved once a week, bi-weekly or once a month, at the company’s discretion. Exercising can be done as a group, for example, organising a group cycling event, yoga sessions, or it can be individual workout sessions like hitting the gym or going for a jog. Exercising can also be organised as a company outing too. Employees can encourage and motivate one another, and the bonding within the company will be improved too.
4) Healthy Pantry and Catering
– One way companies can achieve a healthier workplace is by providing healthier food, drinks and snacking options in the pantry. If there are vending machines at the workplace, there can be more choices of drinks with low sugar content or real fruit juice drinks. There can be machines providing real fruit juices too.
– Whole-of-Government (WOG), Healthier Catering policy,** in Singapore, effective on 1st April 2017 is to encourage healthier eating as a norm outside the home, in our community and workplaces. Companies can consider this policy in their company. If not, when catering food for company events, companies can choose food of healthier choices. Choose whole grain staples, limit fried food, choose fruits as your dessert choice and consider plain water as one of the beverage options.
5) Review the Health Programme
– To ensure the success of the health and wellness programme, it is vital that companies review them on a regular basis, get feedback from employees and slowly alter to a holistic one which suits the company culture.
Employees are the most valuable asset of the company, and it is essential that companies take good care of them. When companies have a healthy workplace and employees are in a better state of health, they will be happier and will give their best at work. It is a win-win situation!