Well-being in the workplace is usually centralized around physical fitness and nutrition as a principal means of achieving good health. The way employers define wellness is redefined as organizations discover new ways to provide workers with well-being benefits outside of tradition. There are exciting trends on the horizon that take wellness to the next level and help new businesses expand this type of benefit beyond the mounting expenses of fitness and nutritional membership programs.
People achieve greater health measures in many ways and healthy behaviors can include anything from walking a household pet to choosing fruit over a sugary snack. Stress relief is not always defined in terms of mindful breathing and yoga, but can also mean spending time with family outside of business hours instead of checking emails. The good news is that these are healthy behaviors employees are familiar with that you can encourage in your employee wellness benefit plan. Here are other healthy options to integrate into your benefits package that team members will love.
The Society for Human Resource Management recalls endocrinologist James Levine reporting, a series of chronic illnesses linked to working a job where sitting takes place most of the day. (https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/0317/pages/promote-an-active-workforce-with-standing-desks.aspx). Sitting down is optional as standing desks become the fastest trend growing in the employee benefits package and relieves workers of annoying body aches that occur from sitting all day long with minimal breaks. Alternating between sitting and standing resolves ergonomic problems and health risks by permitting team members more movement in their day.
In the coming years we will see vending machines make a comeback in workplaces, containing healthy options such as trail mix and granola bars. Employers should assess what food options are already accessible and survey their staff before implementing the healthy vending machine benefit. Once the assessment and survey are complete, it’s prudent to research vending machine contracting guidelines, develop an internal communication plan, and monitor the strategy for success or failure.
Organizations are integrating fitness trackers into their wellness strategies through rewards programs and in some cases company-wide competitions. Benefits of companies integrating fitness trackers into their wellness program includes increasing fitness data accuracy to incentivize employees, reinforcing behavioral changes through the ability of employees tracking their fitness progress and healthy changes, and improving social connections with other team members using fitness tracker apps. Media Planet predicts that, by the end of next year, employers in the United States will provide over 10 million wearable fitness tracking gadgets to their employees. (http://www.futureofbusinessandtech.com/workplace-wellness/wellness-programs-gain-traction-with-wearable-devices)
Employees crave personalization from organizations and this is achievable through digital platforms that meet staff wellness preferences. The greatest aspect of offering this type of personalized well-being benefit is that it is accessible onsite, remotely, and on the go. Looking ahead, companies are leveraging technology to increase employee wellness in ways that enable personalized connections, especially when team members are spread across the globe.
All organizations know that stress management is an issue among staff and it’s time for companies to take a different approach to assisting employees in resolving the issue. Stress is a huge factor in lost workdays and reports show that unscheduled time off will cost companies about six hundred dollars each year, per worker and some organizations can incur costs up to 3.5 million dollars annually (https://www.stress.org/workplace-stress/). In the coming years, we’ll see companies offering benefits such as meditation, relaxation, and mindfulness classes to employees to significantly reduce stress levels.
Another wellness factor among employees is sleep deprivation, which is another common issue that organizations are acutely aware of. Employers can tackle issues of lack of proper rest through providing sleep awareness and education through incentive programs aimed at tracking sleep. On-site sleeping areas are another good way to encourage employees to take breaks and increase productivity.
Anxiety around finances are mounting as employees worry about managing income to meet their personal needs. PWC studies found that roughly two-thirds of employees do not allow personal finance issues to distract them while at work and the remaining one-third spend three hours or more taking care of household financial problems while working on the job. (https://www.pwc.com/us/en/private-company-services/publications/financial-well-being-retirement-survey.html) Employees are more likely to put aside money for retirement when coached by their employer on how to do so and with the expansion of mobile apps, staff can learn about much needed personal finance topics from managing debt to saving money.
Usually, employee recognition is focused on performance reports, which are subjective, or staff being employed a certain amount of time with an organization. Reward programs that are accessible all year long through employee engagement incentives are an excellent way to ensure that everyone, whether they’ve completed one day or ten years, have recognition opportunities. The positives to deploying an objective employee recognition program are unifying company culture, boosting staff engagement, and increasing employee retention.
As company’s focus on specializing in their chosen markets, employee wellness may not be high on the list of expertise within the organization. There are more opportunities than ever to outsource wellness benefits and allow vendors to deliver and manage benefits. Here is a list, provided by WellSteps, of 61 wellness solution companies to assist in delivering high quality benefits to employees.
Broadening definitions of healthy behaviors encourages innovative thinking at every level of your employee wellness plan. Begin by guiding team members through expanding their interests and by transitioning organizational outlook to a more holistic perspective. Modern day health standards permit personal decisions on abiding by healthy norms and facilitates many ways of complying to proven measures that increase one’s quality of life.
Being healthy works best when the means of monitoring health fits into our lifestyle parallel to daily routine. Employee well-being is a process rather than a goal and companies are successful in assisting team members when they avoid focusing on age-old methods of sustaining health. It’s vital that organizational wellness programs are flexible and tailored to the needs of those they depend on to achieve company objectives.