A consensus generally exists today among employers that an efficient, consistent wellness communication program positively impacts employee health and company bottom lines.
However, confusion persists as to how employers can best institute an effective wellness communication plan. When they get down to the nitty gritty, employers are often confused as to how to get started.
There are certainly a number of things that any and every employer can do, regardless of industry or company size, to create a healthier office atmosphere. At the end of the day, that’s really what a wellness communications strategy is, and should, be all about – encouraging healthy behavior.
Here are five ideas you can institute at any point to get the ball rolling. While not a substitute for a comprehensive wellness strategy, these small measures can begin adding up to a healthier employee base:
1) Provide Healthier Options. The office refrigerator and pantry are often hotbeds for unhealthy choices. It may seem an insignificant transition, but replacing soda with diet soda (or better yet, water) and replacing donuts, chips, etc. with fruits and low-calorie items can have significant impact on employee overall health. The Healthiest Foods For Office Snacking
2) Protect the Eyes. Studies have proven that fluorescent light exposure can have negative impacts on visual and mental health, and continued staring at a computer can yield visual strain and eyesight problems later in life. Avoid these issues by replacing fluorescent lights with :”natural” lightbulbs (or balancing out with actual sunlight where possible), and encouraging employees to take hourly 5 minute breaks from looking at their computer screens (non-glare monitors or screen guards are also a good option).
3) Add office plants. While it certainly improves office aesthetics, adding living, breathing plants to your office can positively impact the air quality as plants purify air and ad humidity as they simultaneous release oxygen and humidity. Over time, combined with the introduction of HEPA filters in the airways system, this could help your employees avoid respiratory illnesses that may otherwise become more problematic in an office where air quality is subpar.
4) Read the Benefit Controls Wellness newsletter – this is not simply to make a plug for the monthly newsletter we create, but to share a resource that I believe – and that our clients have told us – has great value. Our December issue featured full length articles with tips on how to avoid overindulgence and pick the right, healthy, satisfying foods; our January issue is all about achieving a healthy weight. Share these with your employees!
5) Set a personal example. Start a post-work running club. Schedule hikes and physically-engaging activities for team-building exercises, not mundane office ice-breakers. Be active in the office – take a break from your desk, use the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to lunch – and encourage employees to “come along.” You’ve taken the lead professionally, so your employees look to you to take the lead on healthy living as well.
Is there a small step you’ve taken in the office to improve yours and your employees overall health? If so, please feel free to share it in the comments. It’s the little things that, combined with a comprehensive strategy, will make the difference for your employees.