9 Tips HR Teams Can Use To Create A Healthy Workplace
Whether you are new to investing in wellness or you've been doing it for a while, there are many strategies you can use to improve health at work. Let's dive into the nine essential tips all companies should know:
1. Define What Wellness Looks Like To Your Organization
People have different perceptions of wellness. For some, it might be working out regularly, while others feel it's meditation.
There is not a one-size fits all approach to practicing healthy living as a pleasant experience, so survey your employees for ideas.
- Understand their perspectives on the importance of health and wellness.
- Check if they’re optimizing their medical insurance.
- Get their suggestions on fun ways they would like to create healthy habits in and around work.
- Determine if there needs to be more in the company's current health and wellness programs.
Wellness isn't just limited to fitness, nutrition, and health. Expand your survey by adding questions about work-life balance, workload, and stress. Listening to and incorporating their survey feedback makes them feel valued, engaged, and likely to cooperate with your company's wellness initiatives.
2. Offer High-Quality Health Insurance
A Metlife study revealed that providing health insurance resulted in increased employee productivity. In addition, the CDC says employees who prioritize preventive care get more things done at work.
Insurance goes hand-in-hand with health. Can your employees see a primary care doctor or get the treatment they need? Does it cost a lot of money? Worrying about health insurance may make your employees avoid making health decisions.
When looking for health insurance for your staff, choose those that cover essential benefits like outpatient and inpatient care, coverage for dependents, international/regional coverage, and inclusions of pre-existing conditions. If you'd like to bump up your coverage, try including popular benefits like maternity or fertility care, dental coverage, and vision insurance. Finally, go the extra mile and make your insurance more comprehensive by covering immunizations, general wellness, and mental health support.
3. Start A Healthy Eating Program
A healthy eating program is critical in encouraging healthy lifestyles among your employees. It can bring employees together to learn how to improve their health at work and home. When your organization helps your staff make wise food choices, it can influence the individual's long-term health and wellness.
You can use the following guidelines when planning your healthy food selection. Make sure they’re available at your company’s canteen, cafeterias, and vending machines:
- Include vegetables, fruits, and unsaturated fats in your food menu
- Limit highly processed foods, sugar, sodium, and saturated fat
- Make water the beverage of choice. Replace sugary drinks with tea, coffee, or natural fruit juices
- Use food labels
In addition, support your healthy eating program with nutrition and healthy eating seminars and sessions, design a clean and safe eating area, and provide microwaves and refrigerators so meals can be cooled/chilled and appropriately heated.
4. Host Regular Employee Wellness Challenges
Wellness challenges aim to inspire employees to have a healthy lifestyle. They are usually simple daily tasks designed to get employees moving and working in healthier ways. For example, it could be reaching a certain number of steps in a day or getting a healthy amount of sleep each night. Eventually, these new routines can become healthy daily habits.
More than helping employees become healthier, wellness challenges add fun to your organization's culture through friendly competition between teams. Switching to a healthy lifestyle can be challenging when you're alone. But when you're doing the task with others, committing to reaching your health goals becomes more manageable.
5. Offer Fitness Classes
Since the pandemic happened and remote work has become a norm, it's more important to offer fitness classes so employees can stay in tip-top shape.
You can offer free memberships at local gyms near the office for on-site workers. Look for a corporate wellness plan where the membership belongs to the business rather than individual employees. If full membership for all employees is too expensive, consider a discounted membership, which is ideal for smaller companies. Gym memberships maybe be costly but remember you’ll recoup this amount when your staff takes fewer sick days.
You can also deliver virtual fitness classes for remote employees. Workouts like yoga, Pilates, aerobics, and Zumba require little or no equipment, so people working at home can easily attend these sessions. Fitness videos are readily available on Youtube. However, if you want interaction and a personalized touch like coaching, consider having live fitness classes delivered via Zoom to help bring the gym experience to your team's home.
6. Provide Consistent Health And Wellness Resources
Significant lifestyle changes don't just happen overnight. You can't make someone quit smoking or start exercising at once.
Start small by sharing health and wellness information in the workplace. Provide simple health tips to show employees how to make tiny lifestyle changes that can lead to better results. It can also motivate them to achieve their target health goals. Sites like YouTube offers many health and wellness resources. Consider sending your employees resources like:
- Quick workouts
- Wellness videos
- Inspirational quotes
- Blog posts
If you have the budget, contact an occupational health provider to request a personal health assessment for your staff. Then, work together to create customized educational materials on health, wellness, and proper nutrition based on your employees' health assessment results. Providing specific recommendations can be expensive, but it will ensure your work to curate resources has a higher success rate.
7. Create A Slack/Microsoft Teams Chat Devoted To Health And Wellness
Community is essential when building healthy habits. Having a channel devoted to sharing tips and advice between teammates can encourage everyone to keep up with a healthy lifestyle.
Use tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams to create an open line of real-time communication between team members, mainly if you operate in a hybrid or remote work environment.
When you have reliable access to an all-in-one communication hub, it's easier to discuss wellness challenges and fitness tips among group members. In addition, managers can conduct one-on-one check-ins with direct reports and keep tabs on their wellness commitments.
You can also use these tools to recognize employees for reaching their target health goals. Giving kudos or shoutouts for a job well done makes them feel appreciated and boosts employee morale.
8. Support Employee Mental Health
Providing mental health support in the workplace is no longer optional but necessary. Positive mental health helps employees stay agile with rapid changes in work duties. In addition, it helps manage stress and enhances resilience during difficult or busy periods.
As an employer, it's your responsibility to offer mental health resources, specifically those that address stress management, resilience building, and coping mechanisms.
Begin with simple workplace adjustments.
- Have a dedicated quiet space in the office for workers to decompress and relax.
- Offer flexible work schedules and remote work to improve work-life balance and autonomy.
- Provide unlimited PTO to show you trust them and that you care for their mental health, which could boost their morale.
- Include mental health services in your health insurance coverage for no or low out-of-pocket costs like medications, clinical screenings, and mental health counseling.
9. Create A Healthy Workspace
Healthy employees thrive in a work environment that provides comfort and stimulates productivity. Where you work has a lot to do with your overall health and well-being, and it can positively or negatively affect both.
- Choose high-quality ergonomic chairs that support good posture over long periods of sitting.
- Offer alternatives like standing desks that allow employees to stand and stretch.
- Pair your standing desks with standing desk mats to give support and comfort for the feet and ease lower body aches and pains.
- Make sure your office has ample lighting and good ventilation. A bright space with good air quality can make people happy and energized.
Support remote employees by providing work accessories like a laptop or monitor stand to reduce neck strain and maintain proper posture. Give blue light glasses to soothe eye fatigue and discomfort, which reduces headache and blurred vision. For those people who experience arm, wrist, or shoulder pain, gifting them an ergonomic keyboard would be a good idea.
Healthy employees make for a productive, engaged workforce. It also saves the organization on employee absenteeism and expensive health-related costs.
That’s why it's no surprise that employers should prioritize wellness projects. Employees give their best when they feel their best.
Once you're ready to incentivize your employees further, reach out for a Nectar demo. Our sales team loves talking about how to boost culture, and they will show you a behind-the-scenes look at our Challenges feature.