We don’t need to tell you that work can be rough, but what you might not know is that your job can have a huge impact on your health — good or bad. We’ve written about how sitting can make a mess of your posture, and with obesity affecting almost one quarter of the working population, it’s easy to say that too much time on the job is bad news. But with a little effort and know-how, a workplace wellness program could actually make your daily grind the healthiest part of the week!
What Are Wellness Programs?
Workplace wellness programs are usually put in place by the employer in order to help employees stay healthy, with the hope that the investment will eventually benefit the company. Programs can range from allocating scheduled exercise breaks to hiring nutritionists and fitness gurus for health coaching. Other strategies include providing incentives for healthy behaviors, like offering healthy snacks at a lower price than the junk food in the office vending machines, or even awarding bonuses to employees who quit smoking!
Why Do We Need Them?
Full-time employees spend nearly 25% of their lives at work, so even the healthiest individuals can’t ignore their time spent at the office. It’s no secret that healthcare costs are rising, and employers are catching on, realizing that investments in improving employee health saves money long-term. According to the CDC, 86% of healthcare expenditures go to individuals with at least one chronic condition, like obesity, hypertension, or depression, and employees who smoke miss 2 to 4 more workdays per year than their non-smoking peers. When employers work to keep their employees healthy, it pays off!
What Can We Do?
As an employee, the first thing to do is ask your employer if they have a wellness program in place. Plenty of companies, especially large corporations, already have programs that you may not be aware of. If the answer is no, why not suggest implementing one? And as an employer, simply consider all of the benefits workplace wellness programs have to offer. The CDC has an assessment that employers can use to determine if they are doing a good job promoting healthy habits, and there are plenty of other resources and articles with suggestions and success stories.
Even if you lack the budget for a full wellness program, consider being a leader and building a low-key program with your peers. Morning “workplace walks” can get your workforce up and running, and group weight loss and smoking cessation programs have been proven to be more effective than solo efforts!
How do you promote wellness in your workplace?