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Wendy Matton

There’s been a lot of buzz about workplace wellness recently. You might be thinking “Is it really necessary?” and the answer is a resounding yes! Improving employee wellness is worth it. Reduced productivity related to employee health problems costs your business money. Approximately 70 percent of your lost productivity and health care costs are directly related to employee lifestyle choices.

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Workplace wellness solutions can help you to effectively address these costly and significant issues, as well as your employees’ needs. Not only will wellness programs cut your healthcare costs and increase productivity, but they’ll also increase employee engagement and morale. They’ll enhance your corporate image. And they’ll reduce absenteeism, improve your retention rate, and lower your disability costs as well. Implementing workplace wellness solutions is just good business.

Here are some ideas to consider.

1. Nutrition

“You are what you eat.” If you want healthier and happier employees, then consider implementing workplace wellness solutions that will encourage proper nutrition.

Purchase fresh fruits, nuts, dried fruits, and other healthy snacks for your lunch room. Create a list of healthy lunch options from restaurants nearby and email it to your employees. Purchase a water cooler and give employees reusable water bottles to encourage increased water consumption. Add a refrigerator and microwave to your break room to encourage employees to bring healthy foods from home, instead of relying on vending machine snacks. Try using contests to encourage healthier food choices. Consider planting an office garden.

These solutions aren’t elaborate or costly, but they can make a real difference in your workplace wellness plan.

2. Exercise

Physical activity can do wonders for our minds and bodies. If your employees work in an office setting and sit for the majority of the day, then implementing workplace wellness solutions related to exercise is critical.

You can give out pedometers and encourage workers to aim for 10,000 steps a day. You can start a walking group or a stair climbing group at lunch. Encourage employee participation in local marathons or fun runs in the area. Team up with a local gym and offer discounts or free memberships to your employees. Your employees could also benefit from workplace yoga sessions.

Consider hosting “walking meetings” instead of meeting in an office. Install bike stands to encourage employees to bike to work. Schedule stretch breaks throughout the day or provide standing-desks or small under-the-desk cycling pedal machines. Consider hosting a mileage contest with an incentive or start an intermural sports program.

Again, these inexpensive ideas can help you create a healthier workforce.

3. Stress and Mental Wellness

Another important wellness factor to consider is mental health. The workplace can be a stressful environment, and employees struggling with mental health issues need support and acceptance in the workplace.

To reduce stress, create a meditation room that employees can use on stressful days to relax. Implement stress management classes. Email stress management tips to all employees. Implement an EAP and communicate its benefits with your employees.

To improve your employees’ psychological health, create an open and supportive environment. Ensure that employees who are struggling with mental health issues do not feel stigmatized so they can speak up and get help. Have community partners come in to discuss mental health and offer support, services, and information. Train supervisors to spot mental health issues in the workplace.

4. General Wellness

Form a wellness committee dedicated to implementing general wellness initiatives. Provide yearly screenings to employees for blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol to help prevent chronic diseases. Host lunch and learns on topics related to health, chronic disease, and related matters. Host employee health fairs. Provide flu shots and purchase chairs and other equipment with ergonomic support. Create a library of resources on common chronic conditions and diseases. Offer free sunscreen in the summer. Create a smoking cessation program with incentives.

These small yet effective workplace wellness solutions can go a long way in improving the health of your employees.

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Wendy Matton

Wendy has nearly 40 years of experience in the financial services sector. She began in banking and moved on to Bay St. trading in fixed income, currency and commodities, to management. The next phase was spent in sales and advisory roles as an independent financial and insurance advisor. She has spent the last 15 years as a consultant in the employee benefits industry. Wendy enjoys going on gal-pal road trips with her daughter visiting theatres and B&Bs across Ontario. When not hosting a “Scuff ‘n’ Scoff” with her hubby and musical friends, her most treasured moments are outdoors, back in the hills of Newfoundland on a ski-doo or on a pristine lake with her dad, in a canoe.
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