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3 Ways to Encourage Wellness in the Workplace

When it comes to recruiting and retaining top-notch employees, a comprehensive and attractive benefits package is a key component. In this day and age of a competitive job market, corporate wellness plans are one way to increase the "wow factor" of your business in the eyes of potential recruits, particularly millennials (88% to be exact) who are interested in "work-life integration."

Being an employer comes with a laundry list of to-dos, compliance and employment laws to follow, and an administrative burden that can be overwhelming. But, don't let the idea of a daunting, massive expense discourage you from considering a corporate wellness plan for your current and future employees. Even if you don’t have the resources to start a comprehensive wellness program, there are low-cost, low-maintenance steps that you can take to encourage a healthy workplace.

Get Your Employees Moving

Exercise is vital to a healthy lifestyle, and it can lead to employees taking fewer sick days and being more productive. One way to encourage regular exercise is to partner with gyms or fitness facilities in your community to offer your employees free or discounted gym memberships. If this is out of your budget, consider coordinating monthly team outings to play some kind of organized sport or trail hike. Fostering an environment of "friendly competition" and accountability can have a positive impact on your employee's health and well-being. If you demonstrate to your employees that you care about their health and well-being, they will appreciate and respect you for it. 

Preventive Services

Flu and cold season is a time of the year that can really impact business continuity if a few employees are down-and-out with an illness. Likewise, regular physicals and biometric screenings can go a long way in identifying potential health problems early on, so that employees can address them before they become problematic. By providing free or reduced flu shots or on-site annual physicals, you can help to reduce the impact of illnesses such as the flu and obesity-related conditions. 

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)

When it comes to a healthy workforce, physical health is not the only type of health to consider; being mindful of mental health is equally important. The world we live in is more stressful—both on and off the job—than ever before. In fact, according to The American Institute of Stress, 40% of workers said that their job was very or extremely stressful. While some employees naturally thrive in fast-paced, demanding environments, others can become overwhelmed and stressed out, which can lead to short- or long-term health issues. Offering your employees a confidential program where they can seek assistance to help them cope with life- and work-related struggles can help to minimize adverse effects to job performance. Services such as counseling, assessments, substance abuse programs, and referrals for additional services are standard programs that can be included in an effective EAP.

Not only is offering a corporate wellness plan an excellent way to recruit and retain top talent, but fostering an environment of health and wellness, could potentially save your company big bucks when it comes to health care costs. Are you encouraging wellness in the workplace? Share with us in the comments below. 

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Employee Health & Wellness

Roxanne Leal

Roxanne Leal is the Director of Wellness for SWBC Employee Benefits Group. She specializes in developing strategic wellness programs based on high-cost claims, survey data, and aggregate reports.

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