5 Best Wellness Initiatives in the Workplace for 2024
In a post-pandemic world, 53% of employees are expecting a hybrid work schedule, and 24% expect to work exclusively remotely. The consensus among the workforce population shows a strong preference for having flexibility between onsite and virtual work. Many organizations intend to keep their hybrid and/or remote work models, alluding to a nationwide workforce evolution. However, some employees feel isolated and are struggling to unplug after a week of remote work. Organizations are in a tough spot trying to attract and retain top talent while maintaining a highly productive workforce.
More than ever, organizations are turning to their wellness programs to solve this post-pandemic conundrum. In this article, we will show how the right initiatives can improve employee well-being across multiple pillars of wellness and share the five initiatives every organization needs for a healthy workforce.
5 Wellness Initiatives Every Organization Needs for a Healthy Workforce
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Physical wellness involves the care and maintenance of the body. Though diet and exercise are essential to physical wellness, quality sleep and healthy hygiene also affect an individual’s physical wellness. Encouraging employees to get enough rest, incorporating movement into their workday, and offering nutritious food options can all positively influence physical wellness.
A person’s social wellness depends on their connection and relationship with others. Humans are social beings and require authentic relationships to maintain their health. Daily interaction with other people reinforces a person’s sense of belonging, making a person feel secure in their surroundings. These relationships can offer a support system during times of stress. Cultivating a close network of growth-minded individuals can also influence a person’s individual growth.
Aside from emphasizing human connection, social wellness also encompasses healthy communication so people can resolve conflict positively.
Some examples of programming that encourages social wellness include company retreats, setting a time for employee recognition, and hosting virtual cooking demos that encourage interaction between employees.
Emotional wellness encompasses understanding, navigating, and communicating emotions. A demanding work environment can challenge a person emotionally, so a person’s ability to respond to stressful situations in a controlled manner plays an integral part in maintaining their wellness.
Organizations seeking to address emotional wellness can provide employee assistance programs (EAPs), offer stress management programs, and personal development classes to employees.
While nutrition is intertwined with physical health, it’s vital enough to be expressed by its own pillar. A balanced diet varies from person to person, but it’s generally made up of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. Incorporating a proper nutritional diet helps diminish the risk of chronic illnesses over time, allows us to appreciate what our bodies do for us, and replaces fatigue with energy.
In the workplace, organizations can be intentional about cafeteria or vending machine offerings, or offer healthy cooking demos and webinars covering topics such as supermarket survival or healthy snack ideas to promote the nutrition pillar in their workforce.
Living within a person’s means and planning for the future are the core aspects of financial wellness. Employers may be surprised at how much financial illiteracy can impact their staff. Helping employees become financially literate can positively impact employee wellbeing across the other pillars of wellness.
Providing financial wellness training, competitive benefits packages, and other employee savings programs can all go towards helping employees find financial wellness at the company.
Spiritual wellness is a person’s connection to their life purpose or a higher power. Some people engage their spirituality with religion or religious traditions, while others find the practice of prayer, meditation, and other means outside of a religious framework for their spiritual wellness. Living life while participating in activities according to one’s personal values brings further enrichment to a person’s life.
Because each person is unique in their spirituality, organizations should take a broad approach to spiritual wellness initiatives. Some offerings that can benefit an employee’s spiritual wellness include mindfulness, meditation, and yoga classes.
Though there can be overlap with occupational wellness, intellectual wellness is less focused on a professional end goal. Intellectual wellness is about a person opening up to experiences that stimulate the mind. Opportunities to collaborate, share ideas, and turn those ideas into reality can all benefit a person’s intellectual wellness.
Organizations can engage the minds of their employees with lunch & learn sessions, creating a workspace where team collaboration can naturally take place, and planning company retreats.
A person’s surroundings can have a significant impact on their well-being. For organizations, this means creating a work environment that promotes wellness and adopts sustainable practices that impact the planet.
Organizations interested in promoting wellness with their workspaces can look into wellness design. Recycling programs, going paperless, and volunteering to clean up the local park or beach are ways for a company to become greener.
Implementing initiatives across all eight wellness pillars can be overwhelming. However, the right wellness initiatives can help improve employee wellness across multiple pillars at once. We’ve identified the top five wellness initiatives employers focus on today to engage their employees and improve employee wellness.
The increased remote work hours further blurred the boundaries between work and home. Now more than ever, employees find it challenging to separate their work from their homelife. Digital presenteeism looms over employees with the feeling of being swept up into one task after the next.
Changes in a work environment require adapted policies and means of communication. As we’ve learned, onsite employee engagement does not translate well virtually. Mindfulness training can help remote employees recognize those moments of being swept up and respond constructively by taking the time to recenter themselves. Yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises are practices any employee can use to find their center.
COVID-19 didn’t just impact the workplace. There is a growing use of food delivery apps and jarring statistics on fast food that suggest people may be leaning into the convenience of ready-to-serve meals. Unfortunately, not everyone is making healthy choices for delivery.
The Washington Post released an article describing the negative effects of fast food consumption on the body. The effects threaten to snowball as the addictive properties of junk food take hold. Replacing one unhealthy meal with a nutritious alternative per day can have compounding benefits, including better productivity.
All employers, regardless of their employee work model, are keen on introducing virtual cooking demos to their employees, because the format offers scheduling flexibility and high engagement. Healthy cooking demos show the ease and affordability of at-home cooking. Organizations are also providing additional education to employees with nutrition workshops.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the world struggled with physical inactivity. Full-time office employees lead a sedentary work lifestyle, and the sudden transition into working from home further amplified this behavior.
Any supplementary movement done during their commute has been eliminated. Not everyone adapted to working out at home when fitness centers closed during the lockdown. Even though life is starting to return to normal, remote and hybrid work environments continue.
The stakes for work-related sedentary time continue to be a health concern. Increased work-from-home environments challenge for employers when choosing appropriate physical activity interventions.
Organizations can encourage their employees to incorporate movement into their work day with virtual stretching classes or fitness classes. These classes can serve as much-needed breaks throughout a workday and give employees an opportunity to decompress.
Organizations are challenged with choosing appropriate wellness solutions to combat workplace isolation and provide employees with opportunities to feel a sense of belonging. Both are an essential part of employee well-being.
We’ve talked about how wellness programs build company culture in positive ways that include helping employees feel engaged.
Organizations can “double-dip” by offering live group classes such as yoga, pilates, or HIIT where employees can interact with each other and a certified specialist. Live cooking demos are always an employee favorite, and virtual healthy cooking demos offer accessibility to a larger employee population.
Organizations are eager to bring their employees back into the office. There are many reasons organizations are prioritizing this initiative, but it all comes down to a belief that the office promotes better working conditions.
Employers can offer onsite fitness classes to encourage employees to return to the office. Companies that manage their own fitness center will want employees to use their facilities. Onsite health talks can also be a convenient option for organizations looking to promote wellness through education.
Delivering wellness services to employees comes with increased administrative responsibility. A wellness vendor can ease that administrative burden and deliver the requested wellness service. Strive excels at providing turnkey wellness services, ensuring employees get the best wellness program experience available. In contrast, HR and wellness teams can focus on the big picture.