A healthy and happy workforce is a productive workforce. The benefits of wellness in the workplace, both to the employee and the employer, have been proven time and time again.
The challenge often lies in changing the culture of sitting all day and getting employees up from their desk and engaging in wellbeing activities. Making small changes in your office can have a big impact on long-term health as well as business benefits including increased productivity, attendance and workplace happiness.
TWOSIX Wellness, holistic health and workplace wellbeing experts share their tips to get staff involved in workplace wellness:
1. Offer ongoing classes within the office
These can range from yoga to pilates to a weekly group meditation session. Group classes are a great team building activity to encourage employees to place an emphasis on their own wellness in a supportive, team environment.
Having these classes in the workplace ensures that wellness becomes a part of everyone’s day. Classes before work, at lunchtime or even after work are a great way to keep staff involved.
2. Create a space dedicated to health and wellbeing
This does not require a total office makeover. It can be as simple as designating a space in the office for staff to meditate or clearing out a conference room that’s no longer in use and turning it into a yoga or workout space.
Having a dedicated area for health and wellbeing creates a separation of space creates a mini oasis in the office for employees to come to and refresh their body and mind.
3. Offer incentives or challenges for staff
You’ve seen monthly or weekly challenges at your local gym or yoga studio and there’s a reason for it – it works! Challenges are a great way to gamify wellness and encourage employees to get involved.
You could pit the sales team against finance and see who is first to complete 30 days in a row of engaging in a wellbeing program. Offering incentives and challenges is a great way to build teamwork and get people working together towards their wellness goals.
4. Ask staff what they want
There is no point offering yoga classes if your staff would prefer pilates. As with all areas of life, communication is key. Asking staff what they want from their wellness offering empowers them and will lead to a more engaged program.
5. Start from the top
Encouraging ideal behaviours, engagement and message needs to come from the top down. If employees see managers and peers taking part in healthier workplace activities they will be encouraged to take part themselves.
Encouraging managers to build a wellness activity into their team-building, or to take a meeting outside and turn it into a walking meeting, shows that it’s an important part of the workplace culture.
6. Offer support in the form of wellness
If you know there is a long day of planning coming up, fuel your staff by adding healthy activities to break it up. A meditation session in the morning to get your staff ready and in the right mindset, then a healthy lunch with pressed juices to keep them going for the afternoon. Skip the greasy pizza and provide a health whole foods lunch instead.
The result? Staff that are energised and ready to work hard, rather than spending the afternoon in a food coma with no brain power.
7. Start with small changes
As with any form of change, small steps are the best. Taking away pizza days, eliminating Friday beers and removing unhealthy snacks from the cupboard might be a bit much to take right off the bat.
People can feel overwhelmed when you try and force things down their throat! Instead, start small. A weekly wellness article in a staff newsletter, a pressed juice delivery at the next meeting, a group exercise class or meditation session. Start small and with time you’ll have everyone engaging in wellness in your workplace.
Article originally appeared on the News & Info website for Australian OHS Professionals