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Worksite wellness programs aren’t just for the other guys

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: April 6, 2015

Take it from me. I have found myself settling in to a very sedentary role.  I can spend hour after hour sitting in front of my computer analyzing health plans and looking for ways to help my client’s keep their employees healthy.  I tout active life styles and preventive exams, all free and all do nothing but make people’s endorphins soar and feel better both mentally and physically.  But did I practice what I preach? Nope.  I ventured out on a day hike and ended up straining my groin muscle. All that pain could have been avoided if I had just followed my own advice.

Employers want employees who are happy and healthy. Let’s face it, they make a better employee.   A joint survey from Virgin HealthMiles and Workforce Management found that for 77 percent of employees, “health and wellness programs positively impacted the culture at work.” The benefits of having a positive culture are well known — increased employee satisfaction and engagement, decreased absenteeism, and higher productivity to name just a few.

According to a white paper by GuideSpark, you don’t have to have an expensive plan, just get your employees engaged.  They suggest 10 ways to keep the excitement going.

  1. Create an atmosphere of health competition.
    • Employees enjoy watching the success of their coworkers and often strive harder to keep up.
  2. Promote and Communicate Constantly
    • Regular communications to all employees about program successes and new activities, as well as sharing feedback, will ensure that they are not just informed, but more engaged. Using technology like online leaderboards to communicate team and individual progress will motivate everyone to put forth their best efforts.
  3. Be Creative
    • The most successful wellness programs have two attributes in common: they’re innovative and they’re simple. When planning your activities, think holistically and creatively, and seek out ways to maximize the programs’ awareness and engagement.
  4. Create a Wellness Honor Roll
    • Employee recognition is a powerful motivational tool.
  5. Leverage Internal Communication Channels and Video to Promote Programs
    • Share links to short catchy videos by email and through your social channels to promote and communicate your company’s wellness programs. You can also use intranets or other forms of internal communication and collaboration like
  6. Utilize the Power of Incentives (and Disincentives)
    • For many, reaching health-related goals such as losing weight or lowering blood pressure is incentive enough to commit unwaveringly to a wellness program. However, to keep enthusiasm high, and minimize the chances of individuals abandoning the program mid-stream, it’s important to incorporate and communicate incentives or rewards along the way.  You can give away Atta Boys at milestones.
  7. Involve Spouses and Significant Others A topic as life-changing as workplace wellness cannot be restricted to the hours of 9-5.
    • Involving the employee’s spouse or significant other from the outset, sharing goals and activities with them, and communicating progress along the way, will prove to be of immense benefit to the employee’s commitment. And, if they are on your company health plan, will stay healthier and have less claims too!
  8. Create an Employee-Driven Program
    • Rather than having company management alone design a wellness program for employees, create a working committee comprised of both management and employees to ensure that everyone is kept informed and represented.
  9. Establish a Baseline
    • As eager as companies may be to get their new wellness programs off the ground, it’s critical to spend some time understanding wellness-related challenges in the workplace and within the employee population
  10. Think Post-Program
    • An effective wellness program should ideally live on past any formal activity end date, continuing to be communicated as a company priority and play an ongoing role as part of your corporate culture. At specific milestones down the road — 3, 6 and 12 months, for example — revisit employee successes, and use the opportunity to communicate and reinforce how vital employee wellness is to the overall health of the company.

One thing that I thought of was sending out a calendar reminder on a reoccurring basis that has your employees get up from their work stations and stretch every hour for just two minutes.  This will go a long way in re-energizing your employee’s mental alertness and diverting fatigue.

So get up and get moving.  Your company will benefit as well as your employees!

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