5 Best Workplace Wellness Practices You Can Implement Immediately

When it comes to quality of life, you are what you eat, think, do, believe.

So, if you want to maintain a healthy weight, set and reach personal/professional goals, live well and fit, help others to reach their personal wellness goals, develop a healthy team that works well together,  try implementing any/all of the following practices and help your staff and your business work well together.

1. Create a Wellness Committee

  • Choose cheerleaders from your staff who have either recently shed some unwanted weight, vowed to get in better shape, and have that uncanny ability to get so enthusiastic about it that they’re willing to encourage coworkers into the mix.
  • Have immediate C-level buy-in, and involvement at the committee level.  This is crucial if your organization is led from a top-down perspective (most are).  A commitment by upper management to participate and confirm to employees that the culture shift from unhealthy, unproductive to one of wellness, high employee engagement and increased productivity is absolutely necessary for the company’s overall success will reinforce the shift in the minds of employees.  Without C-level support, employees don’t necessarily believe that the culture shift will have any lasting effects.  So, ensure your wellness committee’s success and involve folks at every level in your company!
  • Consider the team’s objectives, the nature of the staff, the tactics necessary to motivate participation, incentives to participate, repercussions for those who are not interested in furthering this effort.Create work-arounds to deal with the reticent to participate, so that even if they refuse to participate, they don’t bring others down.
  • Schedule brief (usually one hour or less) weekly planning/update meetings for wellness committee and get a bit of skin in the game from each member.  Each week, every member of the committee should have some objectives to complete and report back to the committee on the progress thereof.  When people expect to be and are held accountable to the committee for creating change and momentum, they put forth the effort to make a significant shift in practice and culture.  Set your expectations high, and people will stretch to reach them.                                                                                      2. Create a Strategic Wellness Plan
    1. Set a date to meet (offsite if possible) to strategically plan your culture shift to one of Wellness.  Make your Strategic Wellness Goals SMART.  Ideally each objective should be:
      • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
      • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
      • Assignable – specify who will do it.
      • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
      • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.
      [Wikipedia reference:  Doran, G. T. (1981). "There's a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management's goals and objectives". Management Review. AMA FORUM. 70 (11): 35–36.]

      Consider:

    2. Set objectives. Consider,  are many people overweight, frequently ill, suffering from chronic disease?  Target objectives to minimally meet majority needs of staff, refine where possible to allow for individual assessments and self-study to maximize participation.
    3. implementation time-frames
    4. team approach- i.e. departmental teams compete for prizes/recognition of successes
    5. hurdles (perhaps there is no designated walking space or room for fitness equipment on site)
    6. personalities (What will it take to convince someone used to having company-provided donuts to consider yogurt instead?)
    7. sedentary lifestyles, incremental push toward movement
    8. incentives, implements the company may offer (i.e.
  • bicycles for borrow at lunch, treadmill in the unused conference room,
  • in-house Zumba, Yoga, QiGong, Interval Training instructor (s)- poll employees to see if any are already teaching and would consider offering classes on site
  • flex-time for working out during the workday- (this is very effective, as many times people feel too tired to workout after work)
  • time off for winning fitness contests or offering a class to encourage others to live well
  • offsite fitness outings (group kayaking, hiking, biking), 5k walk/runs for charity, Mudder events…
  • participants not subjected to  increased insurance premiums vs. increased premium shares for non-participants
  • on-site tobacco cessation programs
    • Insist on Involvement at all levels of employment, participation by all levels of staff, from senior to entry level makes a significantly positive influence on adoption of a well culture.

      3. Substitute Healthy Vending/Cafeteria Items for Junk Food fresh fruit, granola or protein or fiber bars, baked multigrain crackers/chips, individual hummus/veggie servings, trail mix, dried fruits, all are easier on digestion, frequently higher in nutrients and lower in detriments, than typical vending fare.  Whole healthy inviting foods can be prepared as easily as unhealthy, they are also in increasing demand, driving prices down to similar to those of readily available fast and messy unhealthy menu items.  Negotiate with your vendor- if they won’t agree, or try to charge you to substitute healthy items, offer to not renew their contract.  You are the buyer. Then call your local CSA instead.  Eat local.  Eat Fresh. Your purchase helps to make fresh produce available to all.  Your community will thank you.                                                                                              4Create Exercise Space, either measure and mark distances on a course throughout the building or on the grounds for walking; add equipment for employee use, sponsor wellness events/activities                                   5. Appeal to different learning styles. Remember, people learn new habits, brake old habits, acquire education in very different ways, so vary the delivery of programming to appeal to as many as possible.

These best practices have been proven effective in creating increased wellbeing and thereby, employee engagement throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia.  WELCOA, WebMD, AJHP have all contributed to the overall success of well-thought programs and effective delivery, participation and resulting wellness.  If only we believe, we shall eat, think and do well for one and all.

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