Workplace wellness is a hot topic, and for good reason. Because we spend so many of our waking hours at work or dealing with work (even when we’re not physically in the office), creating a workplace environment that fosters wellness makes sense.
In fact, a recent Gallup poll “has found that only 24% of employees at companies that offer a wellness program participate in it. What’s more, only 12% of employees strongly agree that they have substantially higher overall well-being because of their employer.” Make sure your workplace wellness initiatives don’t fall into this trap. Here are seven tips to keep in mind.
1. Don’t make directives without consulting your workforce. Wellness is not one of those things that upper management can simply identify and officiate on its own. Why? Because wellness isn’t simply a program. Wellness is an experience, one that the corporate culture influences in a big way.
2. Identify a wellness taskforce. While you should absolutely solicit input from your employees, at some point you do need a group in charge of managing suggestions, implementing ideas, researching new ideas, responding to feedback, and making adjustments based on this feedback.
3. Keep this point in mind: wellness involves way more than just physical health. When it comes to wellness, take a holistic approach and view the whole person from a physical, mental, and even spiritual perspective. Balance your offerings so that they serve the whole person.
4. Acknowledge that you will need to take a hard look at your business and make changes accordingly. Sometimes the biggest obstacle to wellness is the way your company conducts business. For example, if you are striving to create a more flexible atmosphere at work—one that values family time—then you can’t get upset when someone takes an afternoon off to attend her child’s soccer game. It’s not enough to say you want the office to be more flexible… you need to make it happen. And, yes, sometimes this involves shaking up the status quo.
5. Start with small changes. Humans are creatures of habit, so if the goal is for everyone to make positive changes to their overall wellness, it’s better to start small and add on new layers over time. This helps keep costs down as well.
6. More money doesn’t guarantee more (or better) results. Your wellness initiatives don’t need to cost big bucks. For example, a lunch-hour walking club doesn’t involve any investment aside from allowing people time in their schedules to participate.
7. Try different approaches, do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t. Sounds simplistic, but fostering workplace wellness is an art, not a science. Strategies that work for one organization might not work for another, and that’s OK. You need to learn what DOES work for your employees and deliver more programs and initiatives that support this strategy.