The concept of workplace wellness is something that many companies still struggle to understand. Some employers equate wellness with physical health and thus believe that this is an area employees don’t need assistance with. 

Fortunately, most organizations recognize that workplace wellness is indeed a crucial area in which to invest.

Supporting employee health can have a significant and positive impact on a business.

In the coming sections, we explore the many facets of workplace wellness and how supporting employee health can have a significant and positive impact on a business.

What Is Workplace Wellness? A Complete Guide

What Is Workplace Wellness?

Workplace wellness refers to health promotion activities or policies that support positive employee health and behavior. From medical screenings and health education fairs to fitness programs and healthcare memberships, there are plenty of ways that companies can foster a culture of good health.

Companies that invest in human capital are clear about the benefits associated with workplace wellness. One will find that happy employees tend to perform better, actively take up work initiatives, improve productivity, and manage time efficiently.

RELATED: Wellness Company: Why Every Company Must Become One Now

Why Is Workplace Wellness Important?

Companies must be willing to commit to uncovering disparities and other concerns at the office and invest the time, resources, and policies to support meaningful employee health endeavors. Workplace wellness is even more important today, given the social, economic, and political climate of the world in which we live.

Here’s why companies must invest in their employees’ health:

  • Healthy employees tend to absorb less-exorbitant healthcare costs.
  • Well-cared-for employees meet with fewer road accidents as they don’t suffer from being stressed, sleep-deprived, or burnt out.
  • When employees are healthier, they are less likely to take sick leaves.
  • Talent acquisition and retention remain strong when employees are happy to work at a company.

How To Achieve Workplace Wellness

To achieve workplace wellness, companies must be willing to explore the different avenues of healthcare that can benefit employees. According to this study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 56% of workers are covered by company-provided healthcare plans as of 2021. This could be because of certain factors such as employee ineligibility under certain health benefits or small companies’ inability to shoulder healthcare costs.

workplace wellness with healthcare benefits

The good news is that many companies accept why workplace wellness is a paramount subject to address. Here’s how companies can achieve this.

RELATED: 7 Simple Strategies to Integrate Health and Wellness Programs in the Workplace

Promote Health and Wellness Programs

Identifying unhealthy behaviors and potential health risks is a great starting point for companies to foster a healthy workforce. Wellness programs that highlight the ill effects of smoking, weight management, depression, stress, and emotional distress caused by work-related factors can target pressing paint points of employees. To successfully incorporate these programs, companies must:

  • Invest in the right healthcare policies that encompass wider aspects of physical and mental health.
  • Get professionals on board to oversee and create nuanced wellness programs that require one-on-one sessions with employees.
  • Highlight the importance of regular biometric screenings or assessments that give employees a chance to address underlying concerns or risks related to physical and mental health.

RELATED: 10 Tips to Implement Mindfulness in the Workplace

Explore Telemedicine

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers have identified the importance of telemedicine for remote workers. Having access to healthcare services through a telecommunications platform is a major gamechanger to support workplace wellness.

Through telemedicine, employees have access to valuable resources and assistance to cope with physical, emotional, and mental challenges. Through the support of a company, the right help can be provided in a discreet, safe environment.

Furthermore, virtual healthcare programs are growing in popularity as organizations around the world recognize the need for easily accessible resources and help.

RELATED: 7 Ways a Virtual Wellness Program Makes Employees Healthy

Wellness Tips For Employees

There’s nothing like feeling good, energetic, and at the top of your game in and out of the office. While not every day will be as perfect, you can strive to create a healthy lifestyle that benefits your body and your work and personal life.

Check out the following tips that can help you accomplish small yet significant wellness goals:

  • Declutter your desk by placing things back where they belong and rearranging office essentials in storage trays, holders, or bins.
  • Set an alarm on your watch or phone to go off every 60 minutes. When it does, get up and stretch, walk around, and drink water.
  • Indulge in meditation by signing up on apps such as Calm or Elevate to create a routine that works for you. You can set a time to do this at the office with a few coworkers by booking a conference room when it’s convenient for everyone.
employee wellbeing  and workplace wellness with mindfulness and yoga classes
  • Invite co-workers for a group fitness program as a fun way to blow off steam after working hours.
  • Prepare nutritious home-cooked meals in advance for the week instead of relying on canteen food and takeout.
  • Sit on a yoga ball while working instead of a chair to improve your posture, stability, and core strength.
  • Get plants for your cubicle to create a space of zen and comfort while you work.
  • Take a power nap in the second half of the day, preferably a little after lunch when energy levels tend to dip.

RELATED: 9 Workplace Well-Being Activities to Skyrocket Employee Productivity

Workplace Wellness: Best Practices

It’s great to see that corporate wellness industries have grown by as much as grown by as much as 30% in the last 10 years. To be part of this movement, choosing strong and well-developed wellness initiatives that can kickstart and sustain workplace wellness should be a priority.

Here are the best practices of how to initiate solutions and practices that aim to keep a company’s employees’ interests in mind:

Craft An Annual Operating Plan

Crafting annual operating plans helps companies evaluate existing scenarios to gauge which wellness programs will benefit both the business and its employees. While crafting a successful wellness program, companies should primarily focus on these key factors as the end goal:

  • How to increase productivity and performance
  • How to lower healthcare costs
  • How to curb injuries and accidents from happening (on-site or as a result of factors related to work)
  • How to improve morale and retain employees
  • How to reduce absenteeism and control presenteeism (coming to work despite feeling unwell, which can hamper productivity and performance)
  • How to reduce disability-related and workers’ compensation costs
  • How to encourage employees to switch to a healthier lifestyle and tackle challenges at the office
  • How to get employees to open up on the kind of benefits they expect a company to cover

Once the managerial staff and HR come together to work on the above parameters, the next steps are to

  1. Survey employees to understand what they expect to accomplish from a wellness program by considering their social, economic, and personal well-being.
  2. Assess employment working conditions and how wellness programs should be aligned to cater to employees based on the nature and type of work.
  3. Conduct regular health assessments, whether every quarter or annually, for valuable information on employees’ health.

RELATED: How to Create Company Wellness Programs For Millennials in 5 Simple Steps

Create A Wellness Team

A dedicated wellness team or partner that can head a healthcare plan can make all the difference in the world. They can help formulate a wellness program within an organization and promote the importance and significance of wellness culture. Such a team should ideally be chosen based on relevant experience if they are to shoulder the responsibilities of running a wellness program.

corporate plans and processes

The company then works closely with the appointed wellness committee to ensure that the business’s goals and objectives work in tandem with the proposed, revised, and updated wellness plans.

There are two ways to promote and support a wellness program within a company that aims to fulfill the needs of its employees:

Choosing a Reputed Wellness CompanyChoosing to Hire Skilled Personnel

Because of years of experience, wellness partners are trained and equipped to align their efforts with the expectations of a company and its employees.

After conducting a detailed online or in-person assessment, bespoke programs are then made accessible to employees.
Hiring individuals to pick up the reins of a company’s workplace wellness endeavors shows employees that a company is willing to go out of its way to support a healthy workforce.

Having a team present on the premises available during work hours can put employees in touch with assistance as and when they need it.
Be it tying up with the ideal fitness professionals, studios, or schemes, employees will have easy access to resources and schedules from a wellness partner’s user-friendly digital interface, whether it’s app-based or a company-led platform.

That way, employees can always keep track of their progress, book appointments, invite others to join, and share feedback in real-time.
Companies that have dedicated wellness teams thrive better than those that rely on untrained employees to create in-house wellness programs to engage employees.

These efforts can backfire by placing too much pressure on existing employees and creating an uncomfortable atmosphere between coworkers.

RELATED: Top 8 Corporate Health Coach Companies for 2024

Provide Lifestyle Coaching

Lifestyle coaching can inspire and empower employees to overcome obstacles in the workplace or at home. While it may not be the most sustainable course of action, it can help encourage employees to take the next step. A lifestyle coach can offer valuable advice on how to manage the following concerns:

  • Sleep deprivation caused by long work hours
  • High levels of stress, and anxiety
  • Lack of a social life
  • Unable to break bad habits such as smoking
  • Creative blocks
  • Depleted energy levels
  • Disinterest or lack of motivation in the workplace

…  but be flexible.

Not everyone will benefit from the words of a lifestyle coach, so how do you get employees to take an interest? Instead, companies can refocus yearly spending on tailored health and wellness programs that consider different modalities such as type of lifestyle, nature of work, existing challenges, and fitness levels. So instead of going to the gym with a discounted company coupon, some employees may opt for a yoga class or a guided meditation session.

Employees are more likely to benefit from a diverse program that helps them target specific or borderline health or wellness issues. A one-size fits all solution is not a solution at all. A successful wellness program includes a blend of physical and mental activities and exercises to keep employees coming back for more. 

A successful wellness program includes a blend of physical and mental activities and exercises to keep employees coming back for more. 

RELATED: 22 Best Wellness Certifications, Personal Training, and Health Coach Certifications

Create A Supportive Environment

Companies that are revamping or implementing an employee wellness program should approach the subject as an employee benefit, not a perk. Wellness plans should make up the foundation of an entire employment package, including paid leaves and healthcare.

When employees feel like a wellness program is part of everyday work life, they’re more likely to embrace and benefit from it.

When employees feel like a wellness program is part of everyday work life, they’re more likely to embrace and benefit from it. It’s why employers should strive to normalize wellness initiatives to motivate employees to be the best versions of themselves.

supportive environment for employees

As a company, it’s imperative to highlight the importance of wellness engagement and create reminders that reinforce a supportive, wholesome culture. Through discussions, emails, and regular contests, employees should be updated on how fitness plays a major part in their careers and personal lives.

But before a company can develop and sustain a supportive environment for employees, it needs to reflect on its core image and messaging. Answering the following questions will put into perspective which aspects need to be addressed before wellness-related initiatives have a chance of being engaging, effective, and successful.

  • Does the company promote itself as putting its people first?
  • Does the company communicate the importance of building a healthy, strong workforce through its brand message and marketing efforts?
  • Does the company actively support inclusivity, equality, and non-discrimination?
  • Does the management make employees feel like outsiders or part of a family?
  • Does the company make workplace wellness a priority, or is this subject treated as a personal responsibility that employees need to tackle alone?

RELATED: 7 Reasons Every Worksite Should Offer An Environmental Wellness Program

Effective Communication

Communication is the key to comprehension. Without using this valuable tool to understand what employees need, companies will spend millions of dollars to support wellness plans that don’t work.

Arrange for employees to come together for group discussions and discreet one-on-one meetings for a clear, honest, and genuine exchange. It’s an effective way to build trust with employees to show that the company has their best interests at heart.

If companies don’t place importance on workplace wellness, it can be hard to gain confidence and increase participation from employees in the long run. It’s not too late for companies to change things and start focusing on the well-being of their staff.

Here are additional ways companies can effectively communicate with employees and promote workplace wellness:

  • Digital newsletter: Through newsletters, employers can invite and encourage employees to exchange views and experiences on subjects they identify with. This approach can be done anonymously (if one chooses to) as a way to support an open, no-judgment space.
  • RSVP app or tool: Encourage employees to book appointments easily from a few taps on their phones. The RSVP portal provides a flexible way to make appointments for vaccine shots, biometric screenings, wellness seminars, fitness activities in or around the office, and the like.
  • Screensavers: Screensavers may not sound like much, but when they feature powerful messaging on employee achievements or ongoing wellness initiatives, the approach can inspire or uplift employees whenever they log in for the day.

Conduct Biometric Screenings

As mentioned earlier, biometric health screenings or assessments allow a company to track the health of their employees. A biometric screening usually considers one’s blood cholesterol levels, BMI (Body Mass Index), blood sugar levels, weight, height, and blood pressure. The idea of having this data on hand is so that companies can actively assist on how to manage or treat concerning results.

conducting regular biometric screenings to support workplace wellness

Conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure can be easily assessed through biometric screening. While biometric health screening is not a sure way to diagnose a specific disease like a physical examination, it can provide valuable information on potential risk factors.

When companies encourage employees to take a biometric screening, doing so helps ascertain which incentives individuals will benefit from the most through a wellness program.

RELATED: The Best Way to Conduct Biometric Testing and Wellness Screening

Evaluate Outcomes

Just like how a company relies on performance metrics and statistics to track marketing efforts, it is important to measure and evaluate a workforce’s health progress. This insightful this insightful report reveals how 66% of employers noticed increased productivity by providing and tracking wellness efforts. The report also supports that 67% of employees were most satisfied at work after aligning their health goals with a company’s wellness plans.

While fitness tracking tech is one of many great ways to keep a tab on one’s health, some corporate wellness programs use it unfairly.

RELATED: Outcomes-based Wellness Programs: An Example from the Real World

What’s The Way Forward for Workplace Wellness?

Workplace wellness is an essential component in which companies should invest wholeheartedly to support the people who contribute to the business’s success. 

Ultimately, the strength of a company relies on the well-being and satisfaction of its employees. This guide should help you create the best wellness program to cultivate a highly productive, highly motivated, well-cared-for workforce.

Your next steps is to discover a wellness program that will work the best for your company and employees. Here at WellSteps we can show you exactly how working with a wellness partner will bring all the benefits and more that we’ve discussed in this article. Just schedule a free demo with our team, no obligation, and we’re happy to answer your questions.

About The Author

Dr. Steve Aldana

Dr. Aldana is the CEO of Wellsteps, a worksite wellness solution that leads the nation in wellness program deployment and engagement. Dr. Aldana authored over 75 scientific papers and 7 books on health risk management, healthy living, and health promotion programs. He has given over 350 keynote speeches across the U.S. on the ability of good nutrition and regular exercise to prevent, arrest, and reverse many chronic diseases.