12 Healthy Ideas To Improve Wellness In The Workplace
by Renée Leonard Stainton
Posted: October 14, 2019
Stressing while slaving away at your desk all day under fluorescent lights and to the hum of the office air conditioning isn't exactly conducive to health and wellness, writes Naturopath, Nutritionist and Western Medical Herbalist, Renée Leonard-Stainton.
Thankfully, wellness in the workplace programs are increasing in popularity and most excitingly, innovative schemes and incentives are replacing the likes of the token stock-standard subsidised gym memberships.
The focus has shifted onto initiatives that encourage an all-encompassing well being culture, taking into consideration both employees physical and emotional requirements.
Universally, corporate wellness programs are regarded as creating both lower health insurance premiums for the company, and healthier, happier and more productive employees. Thinking about promoting more employee in your workplace? Take a look below at 12 trends and ideas to help shape workplace wellness.
1. Bring your dog to work
Allowing staff to bring their dogs to work is a trend that has mainly been adopted by smaller businesses. However, the likes of Google have taken on this policy so other large corporates will no doubt follow the lead!
Dogs can help keep spirits up by bringing moments of joy to workers and they help employees meet people in the business that they potentially may not have otherwise.
Our canine companions can also encourage staff to get outside and take a break which helps with stress management and increased creativity.
2. Nap pods
Employers have acknowledged that well-slept and rested employees are more productive and efficient with their time. As such, sleep rooms or ‘nap pods' are increasingly observed in the modern workplace.
There's nothing like a quick nap after your lunchtime green smoothie and sushi. Thanks, Boss!
3. Mindfulness programs
Mental health is more so than ever being recognised as an equally important workplace priority as physical health. Stress management and mindfulness programs emphasise that dedicating a short time every day to mental fitness can leave employees feeling rejuvenated and more confident.
Meditation is encouraged as a daily tool to help with stress management, and forward-thinking companies are including meditation courses as part of teaching initiatives to help lower stress levels amongst staff.
In the past, a great corporate well being initiative included weight maintenance programs and other physical health initiatives. However, organisations are increasingly adding programs that address emotional, spiritual, and social aspects of well being,
4. Wellness adventures
Wellness adventures are where employees are encouraged in team-bonding groups to venture off-site during the day for a quick adventure break.
Perhaps consider a round of golf, a carefree bounce on some indoor trampolines or a stress-busting game of paintball.
5. Wellness by design
Sure, plenty of well-meaning businesses have gym equipment set up in an uninspiring basement, and perhaps a touch of the outdoors creeps into the office by way of the token plant in reception.
However, the corporate wellness pioneers are kicking things up a notch by way of incorporating well being features into the overall design of office spaces.
Think dedicated yoga rooms with zen corners, living walls, sleep spaces, calming colours and games rooms.
6. Fitness programs
Modern office designs are getting an overhaul with a focus on integrating physical fitness into daily work activities. This can be seen with trends toward standing desks and flexible work spaces such as lounge rooms to help encourage movement and interaction.
Office designs with a focus on activity include desks kitted out with exercise balls instead of chairs, treadmill workstations, and wobble board stations.
7. Discounts for well being services and brands
Employees are given access to out-of-office wellbeing services at discounted rates.
These discounts may be for healing modalities such as acupuncture or massage, or even services to help make life easier outside of the office such as house maintenance services.
8. Healthy technology
Many corporate well being programs already employ tech devices such as activity trackers, but a more comprehensive and all-encompassing approach is trending.
Some examples include live fitness coaching delivered to employees via two-way video conferencing and access to devices such as the Fitbit.
More tech advances in the health realm mean that employers are addressing well being efforts with more tools and better data, which they can then use to design catered wellness plans.
9. Fitness challenges tied to charity
Large businesses increasingly link employee fitness challenges to charitable donations.
For example, a business may create corporate teams for a month-long challenge and the winning team at the end of the challenge would then get to collectively decide on a charity that they would like to dedicate nominated company funds towards.
10. Mobile medical modalities
Despite modern advances in technology to make our lives easier, people seem to be more pressed for time than ever. Fitting in a doctor or physio appointment is a challenge for many.
Work is a great place to integrate lifestyle-based healthy habits to fit it all into the day. Forward thinking companies are offering on-site free health checks such as biometric and cholesterol screenings, blood pressure checks and even spinal alignment checks.
11. Healthy catering
For businesses with a healthy focus, gone are the days of the endless cookie jar in the staff room, sugar-laden pastries at meetings and lack lustre conference food.
Modern offices cater to dietary requirements and wellness trends by having fresh fruit delivered daily, providing healthier options in vending machines and outsourcing catering to companies who provide for those who wish to eat gluten-free, raw, vegetarian or the like.
12. Social networking
Well being programs can be implemented by utilising social networks to get people on track toward improving their health.
Creating colleague social networks, mobile apps and online engagement helps to encourage employees to engage in corporate well being schemes. The more involved employees are in the initiatives, the more positive the return on investment for the business.
With innovative and inviting new approaches to workplace wellness, work and healthy living don't have to be mutually exclusive.
If you're sitting (or peddling for that matter) at your desk reading this (on a mental health break, of course) raise your herbal tea for a cheers to that!