Wellness in the workplace... What does it really mean and why is it so important? Corporate wellness can mean a variety of things but essentially it means a company activity or policy designed to support healthy behaviour. Creating a healthy office culture through wellness programs is very important and not just for large corporations or “employee perks”.
First, let’s look at some of the facts:
58% of Canadians reported feeling job-related stress on a daily basis (Benefits Canada)
Canadian employees with two or more lifestyle risk factors (eg. being sedentary, being overweight, smoking, or high alcohol intake) are absent 50% more often than those without the risk factors, and cost their employers 2-3 times more in health benefit costs. (The business case for a Healthy Workplace)
60% of Canadian adults spend their entire workday seated, and 56% are classified as "Physically inactive". (Public Health Agency of Canada)
These statistics are probably not a shock to most of you, but how does it impact your quality of life, the office morale?
Studies demonstrate that investing in work-life balance initiatives:
Improves morale and working relationships
Attracts new employees
Helps retain current employees
So now that we know why a healthy office environment is important, how do you adapt the workplace to facilitate health and wellness? Here are 5 ideas you could try:
1. On-Site Fitness Programs
Physical activity is a great way to improve physical and mental health and there are many options which make it easy for any company to implement; sit-stand desks, guided yoga classes and walking meetings are just some examples.
2. Mindfulness Training
Learning mindfulness techniques can vastly improve your physical and mental well-being by relieving stress, lowering blood pressure and improving quality of sleep. There are many simple breathing and meditation exercises that can be done right at your desk!
3. Healthy Food
Large companies with on-site cafeterias should provide access to non-processed foods, or pop-up farmers markets in the warmer months. Smaller businesses can offer nutrition seminars and workshops that educate employees on the benefits of healthy eating habits.
4. Flash Walks
Implement a 10 minute “flash walk” once a day – a fun and creative way to get up from your chair, get some exercise and catch-up with colleagues.
5. The Office Health Professional
An up and coming trend is having a health professional come in once or twice a month to discuss/treat health issues with employees. This can be a Naturopathic Doctor, Physiotherapist, or Massage Therapist; all registered health providers that are covered under most employee benefit plans.
There are many other programs available to foster a healthier environment in the workplace... what are some of the things your office does to support healthy habits?