Top 3 Ways to Incorporate Health and Wellness in the Workplace and Why It Matters

Posted by: Jason Antoniazzi on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 8:00:00 am

From the largest global stages to regular family doctor checkups, discussions of health and wellness cross all paths of life in every venue imaginable.

Yes, this includes the workplace! Personal wellbeing affects our demeanor, productivity and other essential office traits—all of which play a vital role in an organization’s success. Incorporating wellness initiatives certainly has its benefits, so let’s break it down for you:

At our company, we’ve discovered two types of employees: those who wish to participate in HR-led health efforts and those who don’t. Since involvement in non-job related duties can’t be required, it’s our goal to generate excitement and willing participation company-wide. How do we do it?

  1. (Fun) company-wide team building activities

One strategy is to introduce an active challenge and work in an incentive. Is there a prize involved? Is the prize compelling? Is the initiative appealing? Then, consider if the activity is both simple and achievable, so the goal of a healthier workplace is accomplished but doesn’t distract from day-to-do work responsibilities. If you’re wondering where to start, look to your company’s insurance provider. For example, the “Aetna Challenge” encourages employees to exercise, with friendly competition, through logging steps in their online portal. Aetna even ships complimentary pedometers upon request. Convenience is important too—if your employees have to jump through hoops (not literally) to get involved and stay involved, there will likely be low participation.  

  1. Involve a charity

Think about working with a charity to amplify health and wellness efforts in your organization. It’s not only rewarding to help those in need, but the desire to do so may bring more of your employees on board. We recently raised money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation that aims to find a cure for childhood cancer. We encouraged employees to raise money, but more so to join teams within the company, log their mileage online for the health component, and support their fellow colleagues for a greater good.

  1. Shake up the office environment!

Aside from annual group challenges, charity walks and so forth, how can company leaders make environmental changes that foster a healthy workplace throughout the year? Start small—does your office have a vending machine? Consider replacing processed chips and candy bars with nutritional snacks like trail mix or low-sugar fiber bars. By the coffee maker, are there healthier additives like Stevia?

As a company, we also hold a monthly breakfast. During this time, employees that go above and beyond are recognized and healthy food items are served from yogurt and fruits, to granola bars. The breakfast is a reminder of our organization’s health efforts and also brings everyone together to mingle and celebrate successes.

Does it make a difference?

The big question: why do wellness efforts matter? Group participation and team building can help to boost morale. A light, non-intimidating health challenge can invite a social element into workplaces and help bond staff members. The very state of being healthy improves stamina, mental alertness, attitude and much more—all important for a strong team.

Logistically speaking, a healthy employee base can also reduce sick time and insurance premium increases. This means there may be fewer disruptions in the day-to-day work flow due to illness-related absences, staff issues with the company’s insurance provider, and so forth.

About the Author
Jason Antoniazzi
is Vice President of Human Resources for Furnished Quarters, a corporate housing company headquartered in New York City that serves the Northeastern United States.  If you have any questions about this article, or need to contact us, please call 212.367.9400 or email info@furnishedquarters.com.

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