What’s popular in well-being programs these days? There are some basic elements that continue to be mainstays, but new offerings are also cropping up to respond to the changing needs of employees. In this week’s blog, we share examples of common workplace wellness programs.
Whether the coaching is live, virtual, or via chat, this resource is a critical component of a well-being program. A coach works one-on-one with employees to develop personalized plans for increasing exercise, eating better, quitting smoking, reducing stress, or other wellness-related goals. Having a relationship with a coach creates the accountability many employees need to reach their goals. Onsite health coaches also assist with health screenings, vaccinations, and wellness fairs. Last but not least, they act as feet-on-the-ground wellness champions who influence the entire workplace culture!
Helping employees increase their physical activity is a common goal for most well-being programs. If the organization can support it, an onsite fitness center is a great way to get employees engaged. The convenience of working out before, during, or after the workday helps more employees get started and stay committed to a fitness routine. Group exercise classes and onsite yoga sessions are still incredibly popular, and these classes also work well virtually. Many well-being programs offer discounts on gym memberships and wearable devices to track steps. Walking trails are also a great way to help employees get their steps in throughout the day.
Helping employees lose weight is a key component of any well-being program. Support for weight loss might include sessions with a health coach, corporate-sponsored weight loss programs, tips and tools on a well-being website, nutrition seminars, and healthier options in the cafeteria.
Corporate-wide wellness challenges are another fun initiative to add to well-being programs. Challenges can be as simple as drinking more water or achieving a certain number of steps per day—anything that rallies employees around a common goal and builds morale with healthy competition. Our Invitational Team Steps Challenge, in which participants compete in small groups to tally the most steps per week, is always a hit. It gives people in different business units and offices who may not otherwise communicate the opportunity to connect and compete together, and the inspiration to keep moving each day.
Wellness champions add lots of value to a well-being program. These folks spur enthusiasm for events, create awareness about well-being program offerings, and serve as resources for employees. Peer pressure is a positive force for making healthy changes, so it’s a good idea for champions to share their activities on workplace social media.
Mental illness affects one in five U.S. adults, and employers are increasingly supporting employees’ mental health just as they do their physical health. Workplace wellness programs now include tele-mental-health visits, onsite mental health counselors, and free access to mindfulness and meditation apps. There are even programs to help employees maintain the social connections that are so critical to warding off loneliness and depression.
Employees who smoke cost employers more due to health issues than non-smokers, so smoking cessation programs are common in a well-being program. A typical approach is to combine lifestyle coaching with pharmaceutical support to help employees kick the habit. Access to health coaches via phone or text is particularly important.
Stress management and resilience-building.
Stress in the workplace is a huge issue for U.S. employers, accounting for almost 550 million lost workdays per year. Many well-being programs have added resources to help employees better manage their stress, like: instructional videos on progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing exercises, and journaling; education on how sleep, exercise and nutrition help; and resilience programs to increase the ability to deal with adversity and recover quickly after experiencing challenges.
Community involvement is included in some well-being programs as a way to increase employee engagement. Giving back is particularly important to younger generations, and has health benefits, too—helping others has been known to lower cortisol levels, reduce stress, ease pain, lower blood pressure, and boost the immune system. Community service increases social connections and gives teams a chance to bond, and even virtual associates can participate. Activities that match the company’s mission or local organizations are an excellent place to start. Employee resource groups are another way to bring employees together around a shared interest, increase the bonds between coworkers, and help people see each other differently.
There are no hard and fast rules around what must be included, but having a good mix of the elements above will help to achieve wellness program goals and objectives. For more information on creating a well-being program for your organization, visit our website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.