Workplace wellness is big business, but how well do these programs work?
If your workplace wellness programs aren’t generating high engagement levels, consider implementing a policy.
Human beings adhere to force of habit, and consistency can cultivate a culture of wellbeing.
Workplace wellness is in. Wellness, in fact, has become a central topic of discussion around work and the workplace. It’s estimated that the global corporate wellness market will reach $90.7 billion by 2026.
But, the verdict is still out: how well do these programs work?
While some studies and companies claim that wellness programs offer several benefits, others aren’t quite convinced. Some argue that one issue with workplace wellness programs is that they tend to be generalized and that personalization is key to observe positive results. Personalization of these programs could also lead to greater engagement and participation levels.
Suggested Reading: “20 Wellness Initiatives for Your Coworking Space”
If you already have a workplace wellness program in place but you’re not seeing high engagement levels or positive outcomes, you might want to consider implementing a policy.
Human beings adhere to force of habit, and consistency can cultivate a culture of wellbeing. Workplace wellness policies can help encourage a widespread behaviour change among staff and employees, which can consequently positively impact your work environment and culture.
A policy also provides a sense that everyone is on the same page; employees, managers, C-suite executives, etc. This is important as change needs to come from the top-down, and employees might avoid making wellness or health related requests if they don’t feel the entire company is on board.
Before you set out to write your policy and print it out, it’s important that you clearly define the goals of your workplace wellness strategy. To do this, you can conduct a health assessment or use other organizations as inspiration: WELL Certification, Fitwel Certification, etc. Your goal could be to build and maintain a workplace environment and culture that supports employee health and wellbeing.
5 Key Elements of a Workplace Wellness Policy
1. Goal: clearly state what you want to achieve with your workplace wellness program (e.g. create an environment that’s conducive to wellness, increase healthy food options, increase the physical activity of workers throughout the day, provide access to mental health resources, etc.).
2. Objectives: what steps do you need to take in order to achieve your goal or goals? These are specific actions that will contribute to your goals (e.g. offer weekly fresh fruit, provide on-site mental health resources to reduce stigma, promote smoking cessation programs, etc.).
3. Scope: for whom is this policy? All workers, at-risk employees (diabetes, heart problems, depression, etc.).
4. Responsibility: What are the responsibilities of your employees? What are the responsibilities of management? What are the responsibilities of the HR department? For example, company leadership and management are in charge of creating awareness around the workplace wellness policy, while employees are responsible for seeking clarification, should they need it, and additional information of the available programs.
5. Communication: This is probably the most important step to a successful workplace wellness policy and strategy. The company needs to lead the effort of communication by constantly communicating which programs are available, when they are available, if there are new programs added, etc. For their part, employees need to also play an active role, communicating with management or supervisors their feedback on programs, what’s working, what isn’t, what they’d like to see, etc.
As a last point of action, companies should review their workplace wellness policies at least once a year. This will help create a sense that wellness is still a top priority, but it will also help when reviewing whether or not your objectives are in synergy with your goals.