When you think about it, the concept of workplace wellness goes back at least as far as Henry Ford, whose automobile company started five-day, 40-hour workweeks in 1926. Over the decades to follow, companies set policies for breaks and vacations, banned smoking in offices and formed after-work sports leagues.
Today, the sky’s the limit, with on-site fitness boot camps, take-your-dog-to-work days and rooftop yoga sessions.
Efforts to promote health and well-being have been shown to increase productivity and help minimize healthcare costs. But they can also do something else: give your company an edge when it comes to hiring the best employees before the competition does. Seventy-three percent of workers responding to a new OfficeTeam survey said a company’s wellness program influences their decision of whether to work there or not. Given today’s tight hiring market, it’s not surprising that workplace wellness is getting more attention.
How can companies, large and small, ensure their corporate health and wellness offerings are attractive to potential hires? Here are six suggestions to get you started.
1. Wellness incentives
Offering prizes to employees who engage in healthy behavior, such as weight loss or smoking cessation, can go a long way. Encourage employees to start a lunchtime walking group or consider working with an outside vendor to put a formal program in place, such as lunchtime CrossFit or Weight Watchers.
2. Access to fitness facilities
Your company might have a lunch room, but do you have movement zones, rock-climbing walls and nap rooms? Probably not, but don’t worry: These are pretty unusual. Consider free or discounted gym memberships, chair massages or exercise classes for your workplace wellness initiatives.
3. Ergonomic evaluations and equipment
Proper ergonomics is essential in offices and are part of workplace wellness. Can chairs be adjusted for each employee’s height? Are computer monitors the right height, and are foot rests needed at desks? Standing desks are gaining in popularity, if you’re considering cubicle makeovers for your office.
4. Healthy food options
What you offer in your break rooms and vending machines says a lot about your workplace wellness. Doughnuts or carrots? Soft drinks or filtered water? You may not want to regulate what your workers eat and drink, but you can encourage good nutrition by offering healthy food choices at company meetings and in office cafeterias.
5. On-site vaccinations or health screenings
On-site flu shot clinics hosted by companies for their workers offer a convenient way to make sure everyone has the opportunity to be vaccinated. It’s likely these events will cut back on sick days, too. Companies also can create a culture of wellness with health screenings that might identify risks involving smoking, weight physical activity, blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and diet.
6. Stress management resources
Work-related stress can take a heavy toll on individuals and companies. Some of the techniques to minimize stress you can share with your team include the following:
- Getting enough rest
- Starting the day with a clear desk
- Keeping a daily to-do list to prioritize tasks
- Practicing time management
- Eating nutritious meals
- Developing a good support system
- Engaging in hobbies you enjoy
- Communicating with your supervisor for assistance
Other resources? Music, massages, meditation and walks can do wonders.
Just as job seekers are lured by competitive compensation, benefits packages and work-life balance, they are attracted by workplace wellness, too. If you make wellness part of your corporate culture, you may find a bonus for yourself, too, when it’s time to hire.