How to create a wellness programme that works

Health & Wellbeing

Today is National Workplace Wellbeing Day. Now in its third year here in Ireland, the day aims to encourage companies to improve their employee’s health by promoting good nutrition and physical activity.

Investing in workplace wellness has become a common trend for many modern businesses, big and small. More employers are coming to understand the importance of having a happy and healthy workforce.

Now 1 in 6 employees experience stress, anxiety and depression at any one time, so wellness in the workplace has never been so important. According to Spectum Health if an employee exercises at least once a week it can reduce the number of average sick days from 10 to 5 and absenteeism is 27% lower for employees that exercise regularly and eat well.

Many employers have introduced wellness programmes with an aim to improving this. These programmes focus on everything from exercise and healthy eating to mindfulness and stress relief. Today, 87% of employers are committed to workplace wellbeing and 77% of employers agree that a health and wellness programme can lead to lower healthcare costs and reduced absenteeism.

A good workplace wellness programme focuses on all aspects of health. Here are ten examples of the best ways companies are improving the wellbeing of their employees:

1. Stress busting to benefit everyone

After Ireland’s economic downturn, Mercer recognised that many of its staff were facing new pressures, so the compnay’s HR team decided to do more to help their wellbeing. As part of this they launched a programme focused on fitness, diet and stress management, which included everything from classes in self-defence and Chinese medicine to cooking demos, meditation and health screening.

Mercer’s wellbeing programme has grown and expanded since 2009 and employee feedback has been positive. the company recognises that reducing stress is in the interest of employer, as well as employees, and it has done the research to back this up.

2. Colour coded menus

Aramark launched its Right Track wellness programme in 2008. As well as encouraging employees to get active, it encourages them to eat right. But it goes beyond this and gives a healthy option to the staff in all the restaurants where ti provides it’s services.

In the modern work environment, lunchtimes can be limited and it can be difficult to find the time to pack a healthy lunch. In all its restaurant’s, Aramark provides colour coded menus to let their customers see all the healthy options at a glance. Green is healthy, amber is moderately healthy and red is for the cheeky treats.

3. Make it a challenge

In 2014 Bank of Ireland launched its ‘Be at your Best, Invest in Yourself’ programme. In an aim to get as many people involved as possible, it has set its employees some challenges and encouraged them to get involved in some friendly competition.

Over 10,000 staff registered for the Irish Heart Foundation’s eight week pedometer challenge. Bank of Ireland also hosted a healthy eating recipe competition for its staff.

4. Team bonding that benefits health

Fenero Contractor Solutions are proof that small businesses can run successful wellness programmes too.
As well as receiving gym membership and delicious healthy snacks, Fenero’s staff use team bonding opportunities to fit in some exercise and destress.

Some of their social events have included bowling and pitch and putt. And for the rainy days, the office has a games console for a spot of virtual tennis or boxing, which lets staff get active and have some fun during their breaks.

5. Free smoking cessation services

It’s no surprise that staff who smoke cost their employers more money due to health issues when compared to non-smokers. It probably helps with concentration when staff aren’t craving a nicotine hit too.

As part of the wellness programme at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, employees are provided with smoking cessation services, which include free nicotine replacement therapy.

Hospital staff are also setting a good example for patients by taking advantage of the programme’s discounted memberships for nearby gyms and the hospital grounds’ official Slí na Sláinte sign-posted walking route.

6. Let them sleep on the job

More companies are waking up to the idea of the workplace nap. Lack of sleep can cause high levels of stress, and anxiety, so many companies that are invested in the wellbeing of their employees provide them a place to rest their eyes.

Google has nap pods in its California headquarters, PwC has adopted the practice at its modern Swiss offices and online retailer Zappos provides it’s staff with nap rooms where they can catch some Zs.

7. Workout Wednesdays

FitBit is all about the fitness, even when it comes to the workplace. It encourages its employees to practice what the company preaches.

Fitbit’s internal wellness programme includes Workout Wednesdays – a day devoted to exercise during which employees cantake part in different workouts throughout the day.

It also gives staff step challenges every quarter, which are of course tracked using FitBit technology. This drums up some healthy competition in the office as the most active staff are rewarded.
FitBit’s initiative has cut down on sick days and improved staff productivity.

8. Look after mental health too

It’s important to remember that wellness programmes aren’t just about physical wellbeing. Online retailer Zappos launched Wellness Adventures for its staff. The company’s wellness co-ordinator takes small groups of staff out of the office and away from their desks to do something fun like trampolining.

9. On-site wellness and healthcare services

Google’s department of People Operations – the company’s version of HR – has set up access to wellness and healthcare services at many of its offices. Among the amenities provided are access to opticians, physicians, chiropractors, physical therapy, and massage services, as well as fully-equipped fitness centres where staff can keep fit.

10. Wellness allowances

Some companies have started to go beyond supporting staff wellbeing in the workplace and have started providing a wellness allowance for their staff to spend on healthful activities outside of the office. This covers things like gym memberships, athletic equipment and treatments for the mind and body.

Its mainly modern tech companies that are leading the way on this one. At GoFundMe, every employee receives an annual $600 wellness allowance, while closer to home Facebook gives employees a monthly allowance.

At Glandore, we believe that every business needs the right environment to achieve their full potential. We support the growth of the companies and individuals we house with our very own wellness programme.

The programme focuses on three main areas; Grow in Life, Grow in Body and Grow in Mind. Through monthly webinars, onsite seminars, exercise classes and pamper days, we create a happier and heathier workplace.

If you would like to learn more about Glandore and our flexible workspace get in touch here.

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