Over the years, the demands of the workplace have continued to grow. This has caused stress levels to rise proportionately. In fact, according to a recent poll, 57% of all workers in the U.S. feel work-related stress on a daily basis.1 Although it’s normal to have some ups and downs within any role, ongoing stress at work can decrease employee experience and increase turnover. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 71% of all employees who feel stress at work plan to find a new job within the next year.2 To help minimize unnecessary anxiety, integrating workplace wellness plans are recommended. For more information, here’s everything you need to know about building wellness into your business.
Workplace wellness refers to a comprehensive approach to promoting health and wellbeing within the workplace. It encompasses various initiatives and programs that aim to support the physical, mental and emotional health of employees, while also improving their job satisfaction and productivity.
Workplace wellness programs can take many forms. Some businesses have improved wellness initiatives by providing healthy food options, offering on-site fitness classes, providing mental health resources and counseling, promoting work-life balance, encouraging stress management techniques and even offering financial wellness programs. Anything that helps reduce employee stress while improving health can be part of workplace wellness.
Employers who implement workplace wellness programs often see benefits such as reduced absenteeism, improved employee morale and increased productivity. Additionally, workplace wellness programs can help organizations attract and retain top talent by demonstrating a commitment to employee well-being. However, not all businesses have the resources to uproot their current practices and rollout expensive wellness plans or offerings. Luckily, with the right approach, any size business can reap the benefits.
As a small to medium size business owner, there are a few ways that you can integrate wellness into your business without spending thousands of dollars.
First, to reap the benefits of workplace wellness, you’ll need to create a plan of action. It’s important to try to identify the unique health and wellness needs of your employees. You can do this through various levels of employee feedback, such as pulse surveys or even open communication amongst leadership. Some companies may also offer biometric screenings or health risk assessments to give employees an opportunity that they may not otherwise have access to. Based on feedback, you can determine what’s most important to your team. This allows you to create a customized wellness plan. To further encourage your employees to participate in workplace wellness activities, you could include initiatives such as nutrition and exercise programs, mental health resources and stress management workshops.
Business owners should also try to establish some clear goals and objectives for their wellness program, as this allows you to track its progress and effectiveness within your organization. Over time, doing so will allow you to build a more strategic wellness plan that actually makes a difference.
Workplace wellness may mean something different for each employee, which is why it’s important to create a plan that uses a whole-person approach. This means integrating wellness benefits or activities that not only support physical health, but are also important in mental, social, financial and emotional health as well. This inclusive approach aims to redefine wellness to address physical health, mental wellbeing and anxiety or stress associated with finances or social situations.
Some examples of how to integrate a whole-person wellness plan is providing access to necessary resources for mental health, encouraging physical fitness, offering access to comprehensive benefits and providing flexible scheduling to allow for offsite counseling, familial responsibilities or simply a healthier work-life balance.
Another key factor of successful workplace wellness initiatives is having a strong leadership team in place. A supportive leadership team can help promote workplace wellness by creating a culture of wellbeing and offering different ways to strengthen work-life balance in day-to-day activities. When leaders prioritize wellness, they set an example for employees and create an environment where taking care of oneself is seen as a priority rather than an afterthought.
Leaders can also help their employees by providing resources and tools that make it easier for their team to practice healthy habits, such as access to healthy food options, mental health resources and even ergonomic workstations. They can also create a stronger sense of community among their team, help reduce feelings of workplace isolation and enhance overall employee experience.
Another way to build wellness into your business is to appoint a dedicated team of employees to help promote and prioritize different activities. Start by defining the roles and responsibilities of the wellness team. This can include developing and implementing wellness programs, promoting healthy habits among employees, providing resources and support for mental and physical health and tracking the success of the wellness initiatives. Then, look for individuals within your organization who have a passion for health and wellness and are willing to dedicate time and effort to your initiatives.
Once you’ve chosen a few team members, provide them with training opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills. Topics for training can include things like mental health, financial planning, exercise, nutrition and more. Allocate resources they’ll need to successfully implement the program and then regularly evaluate progress and adjust as needed.
A strong company culture is crucial for building a healthy and productive work environment. It can promote employee satisfaction, teamwork, and drive business success. To cultivate a strong company culture, organizations should start by defining their values and mission. Leaders within the organization should lead by example and demonstrate the importance of workplace wellness, such as taking breaks throughout the day, encouraging exercise and healthy eating and providing resources for mental health support.
For the best results, integrate wellness into your company culture. Just remember that creating a strong culture takes time. It’s not something that you’ll be able to achieve in a few short weeks. Your culture will be how your employees resonate with your business, so try to be patient—small actions add up.
One of the pillars of employee experience is feeling valued by the company. Show your team that you’re committed to both their short- and long-term success by offering regular development opportunities. This could include things like management and leadership training to prepare for internal growth, professional certifications to enhance and broaden skillsets, interpersonal skills training to help build a stronger collaborative team or even employer-subsidized degrees. The development opportunities you choose to offer your team depends on your needs, but having different options is a great way to enhance your whole-person wellbeing approach to workplace wellness.
Communication is one of the pillars to positive company culture and strong workplace wellness. When you create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns, you can help reduce workplace stress and anxiety. Try holding regular team meetings, providing feedback and recognition and scheduling employee engagement surveys to get a better idea of what your employees need.
Encouraging work-life balance is also essential for promoting wellness in the workplace. This can be achieved by offering flexible work arrangements, providing wellness resources and incentives and encouraging employees to take breaks throughout the day. People tend to have very different lives outside of the office and while workplace responsibilities are important to each employees’ role, life doesn’t always happen outside of regular business hours.
Some people need more flexibility in their day, while others may have to work from home occasionally. Try to determine some ways that you can offer flexibility to your employees that won’t have a negative impact on your business.
Finally, try to have some fun with it. Think outside the box and create wellness opportunities that get your team excited. Create internal challenges where employees can engage in friendly competition for prizes, hold an employee field day or consider offering subsidized wearable technology to motivate your team to get active. There are hundreds of different opportunities for employee wellness programs, you just have to find something that works for your business.
To help you create a strong long-term employee experience that prioritizes professional development, partner with TriNet. TriNet offers full-service HR solutions to SMBs across various industries.