“Employee wellness” seems to be a hot issue these days as healthcare is on the national agenda and companies are looking to be more attractive to potential employees. Hip companies are providing employees with unique benefits ranging from gym memberships to free beer. While drinking lots of beer certainly won’t benefit your health, it begs the question: What is employee wellness and what kind of strategy should you employ?
There are many different definitions of employee wellness. While healthcare professionals limit wellness to “preventative care,” other treat wellness holistically, believing that a wellness policy should address not only employees’ bodies, but their morale.
Whatever your personal view on the subject, here are three diverse techniques to add a little wellness to your work environment.
# 1. Get your staff to the gym
An obvious and direct wellness aspect is to offer a gym membership or gym subsidy to your employees. Exercise is not only physical preventative care, but boosts energy and morale.
A gym membership is a huge benefit for many employees, particularly if it’s a great gym. For some, it’s more than a perk. It’s another monthly expense that they would like to get for cheap (or free).
Besides being a bonus, employers who offer or subsidize gym members can reap taxes benefits. Membership expenses can be treated as regular business expenses and can potentially be deductible.
# 2. Economics of Ergonomics
Comfort cannot be overlooked as an essential aspect of an employee’s day. Many of us sit in a chair for the better part of 8 hours, typing and staring at a screen. Here are some other ways to turn a work desk into a more positive space:
- Awesome devices – Certain keyboards and mice are an absolute pleasure to use. Others will leave you frustrated and envious. Spending the extra dime on quality input devices not only limits annoying distractions in the workplace, but sends a message to employees that you care about their experience. After all, many of us will spend most of our lives interacting with a mouse, keyboard, and monitor.
- The right place to sit – A comfortable seat can not only make this experience more enjoyable, but can prevent costly and painful health problems in the future. Stress on the wrists, shoulders, neck, and lower back can cause low morale, high medical bills, and time off.
- A budget – Empowerment can be a strong boost to employee morale and a unique benefit from a company. Give your employees a bi-monthly budget to buy something to increase their happiness at work. This could be a jumbo sized popcorn tin or a set of comfy noise-cancelling headphones!
# 3. Quit Smoking
Many health insurance plans support smoking cessation programs for employees. Often, these programs go unprompted and unfulfilled. Have supervisors or HR make these programs aware to employees when their hired or around New Year ’s Day when many smokers try to quit.
Not only is smoking an expense habit, it can take a toll medically. According to the CDC, workers who smoke spend about $16,000 to $17,000 more in lifetime medical bills and miss more work than their counterparts who don’t smoke. Making these programs available to your employees will save money and could save lives in the long run.
We’ve only touched the surface of a few powerful wellness tools. What wellness tools work for your company? What would you like to see implemented?
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