Ways Leaders Can Promote Wellness in the Workplace

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It’s hard to believe, but chronic illness and injuries cost employers $530 billion every year. When business leaders prioritize wellness in the workplace, they aren’t just helping employees improve their quality of life. They’re saving the company enormous amounts of money!

As a manager or business leader, there’s a lot you can do to help employees stay healthy, especially in times of crisis, as 2020 has been. With the right programs and incentives, you may be surprised at the increase in productivity and decrease in absenteeism you see.

What can you do? Here are some ideas to try today.

Create a Comprehensive Wellness Plan

Too many businesses spend money without getting the results they want because they implement health initiatives without a plan. Even a great idea that isn’t executed strategically can have hit-or-miss results.

Instead, create written policies that include safety and wellness information. This will make your goals clear and help everyone stay on the same page. Once you write out a plan, you can decide if a specific initiative is in line with your goals.

Investing in health incentives is worth the cost. Illness costs companies a significant amount of money in direct absences and even more in lost productivity and lower morale. An investment in the health of your staff is very likely to have a great return.

As part of your wellness plan, consider increasing the availability of remote work. A study showed that 57% of workers sometimes came to work sick, and 33% reported always coming to work sick. Remote work helps people stay out of the office when they are sick, which avoids the illness spreading to the other workers.

Work to Prevent Workplace Injuries

Workplace injuries are unfortunately very common, and not just in industrial environments. Even office environments can cause repetitive stress injuries or trip-and-falls.

The most common injuries in any workplace are slips, trips, and falls. Every workplace has something an employee can trip over. There may also be concerns with eye strain, non-ergonomic working conditions, and back injuries.

What can you do to promote wellness and avoid injuries? The first step is to be aware of what the risks are in your specific environment. A warehouse will have very different concerns than an office or a daycare. Next, educate employees about how to prevent hazards and what to watch for.

Implement a plan to improve your workplace ergonomics, whether that means standing mats or specific office desks and chairs. It might seem like a big investment upfront, but you’ll be saving millions of dollars over time.

Make sure you have enough staff on every shift. One of the reasons accidents happen is because people are overtired or doing work they are not trained in. You might need part-time or seasonal help.

Finally, if necessary, work to provide personal protective equipment to every employee and have clear signs showing safety instructions.

Taking these steps won’t prevent every workplace injury, but it will go a long way toward making your workplace safer and helping employees have more efficient and productive days.

Implement Health Incentives

Beyond injuries, there are chronic health conditions that cause a lot of trouble. Everything from heart disease to diabetes can cause employees to struggle at work and miss time.

You might think there’s not much you can do to change people’s personal health decisions, but workplace health incentives may make a bigger difference than you expect. You can encourage preventative care by having flu vaccines available at work every fall. Be sure you let employees know that their health insurance covers preventive care free of charge due to the Affordable Care Act.

You can make external programs available to your staff as well. These might include employee wellness programs that help with smoking cessation, mental health, and even financial planning.

See if you can create a fitness area in your office building. If that’s not possible, offering discounts on gym memberships may help employees access these services. Consistent exercise can reduce blood pressure, help people manage stress, and more. Make it easy for your staff to exercise!

You can also run in-office contests to promote wellness. While these have to be done carefully to avoid discrimination, a well-run program can incentivize walking, weight loss, and other healthy behavior.

When You Care About Your Staff, They Notice

Your company’s human capital is the greatest asset you have access to. When you protect your employees, they notice. Not only are they healthier and more productive, but they also see that you care about their wellbeing.

This care can lead to reduced turnover and improved morale, which also saves your company thousands of dollars. In the end, every investment you make in your employees’ wellness comes back to you many times over.

If you don’t have a wellness program in place yet, there’s no time like the present. Create a plan, set your goals, and start to put programs in place. You’ll be amazed at how much things will improve at the office!