UBP blog

07/15/2009

Considering on-the-Job Wellness Initiatives? Keep tabs on these four things

Filed under: Wellness — ubpblogger @ 9:23 am
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Employees are spending more time at work than they ever have before, mostly in sedentary careers. At the same time, both healthcare-related costs and the obesity epidemic are on the rise in our nation.

One way employers are responding to these trends is by introducing wellness initiatives such as fitness classes and nutrition specialists into the workplace. Employers who do this make it easier for their employees to access and participate in activities that will improve their heath. When effective, workplace wellness programs help employers to reduce employee absenteeism, curb increasing healthcare costs, increase employee productivity and reduce costly employee injuries.

It isn’t any wonder that studies show workplace wellness initiatives are growing in popularity. In January 2009, The Boston Globe reported findings from a study showing that 75% of major U.S. companies now offer wellness initiatives. However, when attempting to create a culture of wellness in your workplace, it is important for you, the employer, to keep several things in mind.

1. Make it optional:

While many of your employees will automatically embrace your wellness initiatives, others could view them as coercive or paternalistic. Employees could possibly resent the perceived fact that you are trying to tell them how to live their lives. As an employer, one way that you can avoid this possible setback with wellness programs is to make them optional.

2. Provide equal access:

Worksite wellness programs should provide equal access to all employees. This means that shift workers should have the same access to wellness programs as employees who work during the day. Also, the needs of single parents and commuters should be taken into consideration when planning the delivery of workplace wellness initiatives. A possible tactic to consider in providing equal access is allowing employees to use work time to participate in wellness initiatives

3. Hire a specialist:

If you offer fitness classes for employees to take on-site, please make certain that you hire a certified trainer to conduct these classes. Also, it’s important to make certain your workers compensation benefits are set in place to cover any employee injury that may occur during these classes.

4. Educate employees and management at all levels:

Make sure you educate both your employees and management team on the importance of overall well-being as well as the purpose of your workplace wellness initiative. In order for your company’s workplace wellness program to be a success, and for employees to want to participate, upper management must buy in to the program and mid-to-lower level management must be easily able to convey the purpose and advantages of the program to direct reports.

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