There are divided opinions about whether wellness programs that incentivize people to do things such as go to the gym or quit smoking are truly effective. Some say yes
some say they are merely rewarding those who are already healthy for doing the things they would do anyway. Whether you want to offer incentives to encourage healthier lifestyles or not, there are other things you can do to support the overall well-being of your employees, which will lead to a more engaged and productive workforce.
Provide good health insurance.
No explanation needed here—everyone needs access to good healthcare for both prevention and treatment. Encourage employees to get regular physicals and age-appropriate screenings that could catch potential problems early.
Support the taking of a full lunch break, away from the desk or work station.
Everyone needs a mental and physical break during an 8 or 9-hour workday. Staying chained to your desk stifles creativity and actually decreases productivity as the day wears on. Employees should feel they have some time during the day to run errands, have a relaxing lunch away from their computer screen, or take a walk to clear their minds. All of these things relieve stress in one way or another, and will positively impact the employee’s performance.
Ensure that there is ready access to healthy snacks and/or meals.
Try to supply fruits, veggies, and nuts in the cafeteria in lieu of unhealthy snack foods and candy. If you have vending machines, fill them with healthier options like granola bars, nuts, and seltzer water instead of candy, chips, and soda. If you know many of your employees head straight to the drive thru on their lunch breaks, compile menus containing healthier lunch choices from nearby restaurants. You might even be able to negotiate a company discount with smaller mom-and-pop places in exchange for sending business their way.
Encourage employees to exercise, and help them do it.
The biggest excuse most people give for not exercising is lack of time. Allow for a slightly longer lunch break to give employees who want to exercise time to get in a decent workout and take a quick shower. If there is a way to get a group gym discount or provide access to workout equipment on-site, even better. Exercise releases endorphins, which help decrease stress, increase energy, promote concentration, and overall keep people in a better mood.
Hire and retain managers who create a positive work environment.
Most people spend more time at work than they do at home. Anyone working in a negative or stressful environment five days a week is going to be affected by it. Stress causes a myriad of health issues, such as insomnia, weight gain, depression and anxiety, heart disease, and gastro-intestinal problems. (Check out our latest e-book on creating a positive, engaging workplace and company culture for tips on this subject!)
Actively support work-life balance.
Encourage employees to unplug during weekends and vacations (and to actually use their vacation time). The time spent away from the office with family and friends will make for a happier, more productive employee when they return.