Many companies recognize the benefits of encouraging healthy lifestyle choices among their staffers. Worksite wellness programs strive to educate employees about how good habits can lead to greater levels of productivity and improve overall health. For best results, include employees when creating workplace wellness programs to make sure plans fit the diverse needs of your office.
Conduct a poll of employees or create an employee committee to brainstorm different ways to approach workplace wellness. For example, offer choices such as brownbag health seminars, on-site exercise equipment, fitness competitions, participation in charitable walkathons or healthy snack options in the break room. The more involved staffers are in developing the programs, the more likely they are to use them.
Make it Easy
The easier you make wellness programs to use, the more people you'll encourage to participate. For example, subsidizing a health club membership might seem like a great idea for staffers, but it puts the onus on workers to arrange time before or after hours to work out. Investing in several treadmills, exercise bikes or elliptical machines for an unused conference space for use during lunch hour is more likely to encourage exercise.
Create Group Initiatives
Team efforts are often more successful than individual efforts because people get the encouragement and support of their colleagues. Develop before or after-work walking clubs where staffers know they'll have a buddy to walk and talk with rather than setting off on their own. Contract with a local health food restaurant to order in healthy meal choices each day. When everyone in the office is eating salad or whole-grain sandwiches instead of french fries, it can make healthy transitions easier to swallow.
Make it Fun
Health and wellness initiatives are often seen as tedious or deprivation-oriented. Add some fun to your initiatives to dispel this notion. Hold a contest for who can log the most miles walked in a week, or bring in on-site chair masseuses for staffers who reach certain goals. These positive incentives reward people for their healthy choices and encourage healthy competition.
Don't Be Pushy
Even though most people would agree that healthy lifestyle choices contribute to improved mood, reduced stress and overall work performance enhancement, not everyone will want to participate in your workplace wellness initiatives. Make sure your efforts encourage but don't berate or embarrass staffers who don't want to participate. People may have underlying health concerns or a general aversion to discussing things like eating habits, smoking or weight gain. Have respect for their personal choices and make healthy options available, but not mandatory.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.