Employee health is vital, and keeping your employees happy, energized, and healthy is a surefire way to ensure that your teams are more engaged and that your employee satisfaction reaches new heights.
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What is Employee Health?
Employee health goes far beyond providing healthcare for employees. It is a fully immersive experience that encourages physical health, mental health, overall well-being, and other aspects of “health” that aren’t just not getting sick.
Employee health means ensuring everyone has everything they need to be well and do well. It can be very difficult to do your job effectively when your physical or mental well-being is not well, especially if it’s stemming from the work environment. Keeping your workplace free from toxic chatter and behavior, encouraging employees to take care of themselves, and even having some incentives can all be ways to boost employee health efforts.
Sometimes it can be difficult to think of new and exciting programs and initiatives that will keep employees happy and healthy without seeing productivity drop (we see you tech start-ups with offices dedicated to video games).
As this Wall Street Journal article explains, recent studies have shown that healthier workers are more productive. In fact, better nutrition, more exercise, and less stress were all leading indicators of more productive offices.
So, let’s discuss some great company wellness ideas that will help improve your employee health in 2021.
Fitting in Fitness
Perhaps one of the more obvious wellness plans out there; many companies already have some sort of gym membership discount available to employees. Or, they have a gym somewhere on site that can be utilized during the day so employees can better fit working out into their schedules.
The gym or working out is something people probably already on their own outside of work, but the incentivized approach definitely helps encourage them to continue that physical fitness work. However, what about fitting in fitness in the workplace? Start a walking or running club or take your 1 on 1 meeting outside with a slow stroll around the block. There can always be ways to not only provide health benefits but encouraging each other in the office. Plus, stepping away from the computer, in general, is a necessary activity for both mental and physical wellbeing.
Take What You Need, When You Need it.
Being a little more liberal with the PTO and sick days available for employees is another great way to make sure your employees feel healthy. First off, having more days off can help your employees feel more refreshed. Second, you don’t want your employees being forced to come in when they aren’t feeling great, as that can put your other employees at risk of becoming ill as well. Finally, the stress that comes simply from trying to plan around restricted PTO limits can be enough for some employees to avoid taking it at all.
One way to encourage employees to take time off is for bosses to take vacations and relinquish some of that control. It’s important to show that work isn’t everything and that even the smallest staycation can help boost productivity and wellness. Not every PTO day needs to be used for a getaway. Sometimes a long weekend or random weekday off can do wonders for mental health.
So, not only could you offer more sick days, but you should always encourage employees who don’t feel well to head home for the day. In other words, make sure they don’t try and be a hero like Leslie Knope when she had the flu.
Health Challenges With Incentives
As long as you’re considerate of all your employees, incorporating a health challenge with sizeable incentives into your company is a great idea!
For a good example of how to do this, take a look at Draper Inc’s Walk to Hawaii challenge. In these corporate wellness initiatives, all participating employees were given a pedometer, and all those who reached 2,400,000 steps (or the distance from their corporate office to Hawaii) would be entered in a drawing.
The prize? A free trip for two to Hawaii. Now that’s maikaʻi loa!
The prize doesn’t have to be a trip to Hawaii, though, except we wouldn’t NOT take it. Instead, smaller incentives like gift cards or company swag for smaller step goals can be enough to get people moving and also build some much-needed camaraderie with their coworkers.
Encourage Eco-Friendly and Healthy Commuting Alternatives
SolidFire encourages its employees to find eco-friendly and healthy alternatives for commuting by including a $150 subsidy for both public transportation commuters and bicyclists.
Sure, your office may be filled with a few dozen wannabe Lance Armstrongs if you offer this wellness program, but they’ll have shins of steel and will be a lot healthier, both physically and mentally.
Some alternatives to that include a carpool exchange, where coworkers who live on the same route could take turns carpooling to work. Anyone willing to make those eco-friendly efforts could be rewarded with a catered lunch or gas card.
Free Healthy Snack Options
This is a small and quick wellness program you can implement for your company in 2021.
Instead of all those chips in the break rooms or vending machines, allow your employees to instead choose from healthier options for their snacks — such as CLIF Bars®, fruit, vegetables with hummus, and yogurt. And La Croix, all of the La Croix.
Having healthier snack options for your employees will help them get a boost of energy instead of feeling weighed down by salty snacks. Plus, providing healthy and hearty snacks in the office can also alleviate a lot of the worry of being too busy to take a lunch break or stressing over bringing lunch, to begin with. With healthy options to choose from, employees can rest easy knowing they can grab some veggies and dip and a protein bar from the office kitchen for a quick lunch that will actually satisfy them.
Prioritizing Mental Health
In addition to making sure your employees are feeling good physically, their mental health is equally as important. For this wellness program, you can take a page out of JetBlue’s book. The airline company offers unlimited access to LifeSolutions — a mental health resource.
This is a great idea for any company to adopt, as we continue to push towards becoming a more open society about talking about our mental health.
Other solutions include reimbursements for employees who attend therapy. Employers could cover a portion of the cost, which is a major deterrent for many people to take therapy. Alleviating even a small bit of that burden can encourage employees to start or continue seeking therapy for their mental health.
You can also offer mental health workshops to educate everyone about mental health and to ensure the workplace is compassionate and empathic to those who struggle with mental health.
Mental health days are another incentive. Sometimes days can be tough for those struggling with mental health, and being able to take a last-minute mental health day, no questions asked, can be huge in helping those manage their wellbeing without the stress of trying to work through a tough day.
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” Off Days
To piggyback off of the mental health no-questions-asked day, how about a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? This may seem like an unorthodox wellness program, and that’s because it is!
Centro, a Chicago-based company, offers each employee 10 “Ferris Bueller Days” in addition to their paid vacation days. With these Ferris Bueller Days, an employee can play hooky for the day with no questions asked.
Finally, your employees can live out their dream of serenading a city by lip-synching the Beatles.
Having a dedicated wellness room for your offices is another fantastic wellness program that more and more companies are starting to utilize. For example, Google and Nike have nap pods, wellness rooms, and even a slide to get to the office front door to create a fun, stress-free environment.
Whether an employee is not feeling well or needs some time to relax and get some peace and quiet, a wellness room can be the perfect remedy. These rooms are essentially comfortable, quiet spaces that can be soundproof. Here, employees can get some much-needed R & R during a busy day.
What to put in your wellness room:
- A stereo or iPod with calming meditation music
- Comfy bean bags chairs or a couch to relax on
- Mood lighting or salt lamps
- Nice smelling candles or air fresheners
- A blanket and pillow for a power nap
Get Outside and Breathe in Some Fresh Air
Did you know that spending time outside can de-stress your employees, as well as help them perform better on creative tasks, lower their blood pressure, and overall boost their moods?
Companies like Patagonia understand these benefits and the importance of letting their employees pursue their hobbies. They encourage their employees to take extended PTO outdoor trips so that they can knock off their bucket list items without having to give up their paychecks.
Encouraging getting outside during the day is another simple solution to help improve your employees’ wellness.
Diabetes Care Solutions For Employees
When an employee who has diabetes doesn’t feel like they are in control or that they don’t have the tools they need to make sure their glucose levels are good, it can make their time at work very stressful.
Investing in diabetes virtual care solutions like Pops’ Rebel will help ensure that your employees are not only safe and healthy but that they are going through their daily activities without any stress or worry.
For more information on Rebel, contact us today!
How Employee Health Affects Your Business
At the end of the day, if your employees aren’t happy and healthy at work, then something needs to change. When it comes to recording how your employees are doing, sending out regular and anonymous employee satisfaction polls is a good way to keep tabs on how the company is doing overall. And, if you don’t have the satisfaction numbers, implement some of the above wellness programs to improve them.
Employees who feel good can be much more present in their role, and knowing their bosses have their back and support them in their health means so much than you know. Caring about your employees can bring your business far, boost productivity, profit, and improve an overall better working environment for everyone involved.