Following on from our recent article 'Is Employee Wellbeing the Real Failure of Your Business?', which explored how, when a company focuses on the wellbeing of its staff, it will typically see a reduction in sickness absence and increased staff retention.
How you introduce a Wellbeing Programme is key. Participation must be voluntary and no-one should be made to feel second-best or “wrong” for not wishing to partake.
Incentives might help increase participation but be very aware of not causing any sector of your workforce to feel victimised because they are not yet ready to take action to improve their wellbeing. In addition to staff buy-in, you will also need the support of your senior management team. They need to be convinced that a happy, healthy workforce is a more productive workforce and ultimately, better for the bottom line.
Suggestions for wellbeing initiatives
Your company size, location, and the kind of work you do, will determine what wellbeing interventions and initiatives you can introduce. Here are our 5 top suggestions to start your ideas flowing.
First and foremost you need to educate your employees about the importance of health and wellbeing.
- Invite external experts to run talks at lunchtime or after work on subjects such as health, introduction to exercise, nutrition and healthy diet, the importance of hydration, how to stay healthy, incorporating exercise into the workplace, etc.
- Circulate articles on healthy snacking and how to eat healthily when eating out or travelling.
- Create a weekly staff bulletin giving news, views and updates from within the company. Include health, exercise and nutrition advice. You could have a healthy recipe section, supplied by staff members. Include results, personal bests and any feedback from company or employee sporting endeavours. For example, Charles Derby Group circulate the results from their parkrunners each week.
- Encourage participation in parkruns.
- Move at your desk initiative – e.g. implement stretch breaks or purchase Swiss balls as an option to sitting on chairs all day.
- Organise staff events such as cycle rides, walks or runs.
- Link to charity events and encourage staff to participate – e.g. Relay for Life, Midnight Walk, Fun Runs.
- Arrange for on-site and off-site classes. For example, Sony UK Tec organise weekly workout classes after work run by a local leisure centre.
- Link up with local sports venues to offer discounts, free entry passes and other benefits.
- Encourage use of Smartphone apps such as Strava and Fitbit.
- Sign up to the Cycle to Work Scheme where the government offer a tax free way of a company funding bicycle purchases for their staff.
- Offer advice on healthy diets – articles, external experts or even a knowledgeable member of staff could advise.
- Overhaul the staff canteen offerings, ensure there are healthy options available. Also the canteen could run special events such as a Vegetarian Day or Low-calorie Desserts.
- Look at what’s in your vending machines and add healthier snack options.
- Arrange for deliveries of fresh fruit and healthy snacks for the staff.
- Offer access to counselling services for those under stress, depressed or anxious.
- Arrange meditation and mindfulness classes.
- Allocate a room specifically for silent meditation/chilling.
- Offer opportunities for clubs such as bridge or chess as well as physical fitness clubs.
- Offer wellbeing freebies or discounts e.g. for cinema tickets, spa days or meals out.
- Arrange free health checks for all staff on an annual basis.
- Encourage staff to “know their numbers” (e.g. blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose and percentage body fat) and work to improve them.
You’re not expected to implement everything on the above list. Talk to your own people about what they’d like and what they feel would help their work-life balance. What you choose to offer will depend on the feedback and input you get, the size of the organisation and the budget you have to invest. However large or small your business, whether your employees are office based or factory based, on the road a lot or jetting off internationally, there is always something you can do to encourage greater health and wellbeing for your staff.
As we've stated before; the important thing is to get started. Start small, measure often, and refine along the way.
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