Creating a Wellness Program at Work

We all know that smoking, stress, inactivity and poor diet can lead to increased risk of disease and result in rising healthcare costs.  At work these factors also contribute to absenteeism, disability claims, poor work performance, and the use of healthcare benefits. As an employer what can you do to help curb this trend? Consider starting a Wellness Program.

A wellness program is designed to maintain or improve the well-being of your employees through proper diet, exercise, stress management, and illness prevention.  Study after study confirms that workplace wellness programs reduce healthcare costs, reduce stress, increase productivity, boost morale, and lead to happier employees with better job satisfaction.

There is no need to invest a lot of time and resources into creating a wellness program.  Here are some inexpensive ways to implement a Wellness Program in the office:

  • Start a Walking Program by meeting at lunch or after work to walk as a group;
  • Create a Quit Smoking support group to help each other stop smoking;
  • Start a pedometer challenge with a goal of 10,000 steps a day;
  • Encourage biking to work by providing a safe place to store bikes in the office;
  • Provide healthy food for meetings instead of junk food;
  • Host health information sessions over the lunch hour;
  • Provide an incentive or prize for the top achievers in a weight loss competition;
  • Sign up as a team for a walk or run supporting a local charity;
  • Get involved with community volunteer activities;
  • Promote the Employee and Family Assistance Program through your Group Benefits.

To find out what your employees would like to see in a Wellness Program – ask them.  Send out an email or questionnaire asking what interests them.  Then you can tailor the program to benefit your employees.  Be sure to lead by example – the success of a wellness program relies on a visible and demonstrated commitment from the management team.

Renee Buchwald / PEO Canada / Benefits Specialist

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