Health & Wellness

Wellness Where We Work, Live, and Learn

Priority 1: Wellness Where We Work

Health care has soared to the top of almost every CEO’s agenda as health care costs continue to rise globally. Along with health care costs, the workweek continues to increase steadily, with the average now being more than 50 hours. These trends have resulted in support for worksite wellness. Organizations can glean numerous benefits from wellness programs. The return on investment (ROI) of wellness progress is threefold: for every dollar invested in wellness, three dollars are saved. Worksite wellness translates into the following:

  • Reduction of documented perceived barriers (e.g., time, energy, resources)
  • Stress reduction
  • Improved social support of colleagues, improving exercise adherence
  • Improved job satisfaction and morale (e.g., positive water cooler talk)
  • Improved employer–employee relations (e.g., manager walking with employees)
  • Positive public opinion of elected officials
 

For further information, feel free to contact us at: support@myworkwell.com / 03 7733 8311

With the increase in dual-income families and the increase in the average workweek, many people have less discretionary time than ever before. Delivering wellness at work just makes sense and translates into lower health care costs, benefit savings, and improved quality of life for employees. Employers, large and small, have observed the numerous benefits that worksite wellness programs offer. Providing social support and time savings, wellness programs at the worksite appear to be a natural fit for successfully engaging adults in healthy lifestyle practices.

This perceived barrier of discretionary time has increased the demand for the convenience of worksite-based health promotion and wellness programs. As people spend more time at work, it makes sense to engage them where they are, making healthy lifestyles convenient and affordable at a place where they can receive social support and recognition or incentives for positive lifestyle changes. The following strategies and tips may assist you in developing effective worksite wellness programs:

  • Self-directed programs. Self-directed programs have been proven to be effective because employees can have difficulty attending a class or event at a specific time. Such programs allow employees to be engaged at their own pace, on their own time, and at various levels of involvement.
  • Short-duration programs. Educational workshops that are 15 to 30 minutes long attract more employees than longer ones do. If necessary, you can deliver more content over a series of workshops.
  • Workday programs. Providing programs during work hours increases participation. If allowed to participate on company time, such as during breaks or lunch, even more employees attend.
  • Programs with incentives. Incentives have been shown to increase participation in worksite wellness programs and initiatives, particularly when linked to health benefit credits such as a reduction of health insurance copayments. However, the affect of incentives on financial outcomes remains unclear.
  • Programs with top-down and bottom-up support. The support of senior leadership, middle management, and frontline employees, or ground troops, is a must. Even when senior leadership is on board, middle management may take additional recruitment efforts due to demanding workloads. Middle management, to whom the majority of employees directly report, needs to be supportive of employee participation in wellness events or meetings during normal business hours when possible. It is important that senior management and middle management openly discuss and address any supports and barriers to implementing a wellness initiative. It is also imperative that support come from the bottom up through peer and social networks.

To reach the largest number of employees in a worksite setting, consider offering wellness programs at all locations, including remote or satellite locations, and during multiple work shifts. Worksite wellness programming must be sensitive to the time demands of employees as well as employers. Shorter programs may be an effective way to provide a taste of what a longer, more comprehensive initiative may entail. Programs offered at lunchtime are often better attended than those offered after work because many employees do not want to stay at their worksites after the workday has ended. Break time can be a good time to offer snapshots of health promotion opportunities. Wellness information and programs may be delivered to offices on mail carts to maximize participation, especially of the busiest executives.

Priority 2: Wellness Where We Live

In most of the Ourdoor Sports Group, Gym Centres or Dance Schools, you can get a great workout, along with dance lessons, engage in live music, and meet enthusiastic people at these places. This gives the community an opportunity to gather, socialize, and exercise.

These examples demonstrate that people of all ages “just wanna have fun.” Dancing or exercising not only is a great physical activity program, but it also has a therapeutic social component, which fosters self-efficacy, or self-confidence in adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors. Communities, municipalities, and faith-based organizations are recognizing the need for members to practice healthy lifestyle behaviors. Of all the environments we move through, there may be no better place to achieve a healthy lifestyle than our own communities.

Communities have a unique opportunity to influence large populations; they have a captive audience and therefore can uniquely engage families, where they reside, in healthy lifestyle behaviors and programs. Communities may also have a variety of resources at their disposal to assist in wellness efforts, including departments such as buildings and grounds, recreation, and other municipal departments. These departments and their employees may have resources, services, budgets, and contacts, as well as unique perspectives and ideas, that can be leveraged to execute wellness programs.

How do wellness strategies in communities differ from other settings? How can you maximize results? Here are a few tips for success:

  • Plan events that can easily accommodate large groups of people.
  • Offer wellness opportunities for families.
  • Take advantage of seasonal sports and activities. For example, offer badminton, golf, football, and offer walking programs and dance lessons which can also be offered throughout the year.
  • Partner with other groups such as nonprofit organizations, other municipalities, and state departments.
  • Advocate for effective policy and environmental changes to support healthy behaviors.
  • Arrange social opportunities to encourage commitment of participants in wellness activities.

Priority 3: Wellness Where We Learn

“Look at all the germs, and I just washed my hands!,” the colleague declared to her friends. As you observed your hands in a microscope, you will be able to see the millions of germs remaining after hand washing prior to entering the lunchroom. At an annual Kick Colds and Flu campaign to reduce the spread of flu and the common cold, faculty and staff may pick up information and giveaways and participate in hands-on demonstrations to increase children’s knowledge and change their hand-washing habits to minimize the spread of germs.

Corporate recognizes the opportunity and obligation to promote healthy minds and bodies through offering wellness programs to staff, and families where they spend most of their waking hours—at the office. Featuring changes in policies, wellness programs, and conventional health and gym classes, offices are building a menu of wellness initiatives.

First Lady Michelle Obama has assembled a new interagency task force that will develop a comprehensive plan of action to combat the growing obesity epidemic in children. Like the NGA Healthy America initiative, the National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP), and Get Fit, Rhode Island!, Obama’s Let’s Move campaign will take a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach, and engage both the private and public sectors. The goal of the campaign is to, “help children become more active and eat healthier within a generation, so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight” (www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/02/09/making-moves-a-healthier-generation).

In addition to the abundance of resources provided to promote healthy workplace, Let’s Move also provides solutions to enhance access to improve nutrition and physical activity, along with many resources to promote healthy homes and communities.

Call us to see whether it has a wellness committee to support your group in your area. If it does, join in. If your area does not have a wellness committee, start one! How? Email or contact us. Identify key people involved in wellness in the company, and invite them to a meeting to discuss organizing a committee to improve the health and wellness of staff, and families.

Health-risk behaviors such as poor nutrition, physical inactivity, substance use, and violence are consistently linked to productivity failure because they often affect staff attendance, ability to pay attention at work. One solution to improving health and work performance is short-duration programs. These may be creative, educational, and trendy, and they can engage families via take-home materials.

Integration into the academic curriculum may be another solution for promoting wellness where we learn. As adults spend a majority of their waking hours at the worksite, children spend the majority of their waking hours at school. Lesson plans in other subjects can include wellness education. For example, history class can include physical activity by going on historical walks, or math lessons can integrate nutrition concepts. Teachers can get creative with coupling wellness education with a variety of topics. ABC for Fitness and Nutrition Detectives, featured in part II, are just two model programs that effectively integrate wellness into the school curriculum.

How do wellness strategies at workplace differ from other settings? How can you maximize results? Here are a few tips for success:

  • Integrate wellness education throughout the work environment.
  • Institute effective wellness policies that are easy to implement.
  • Offer wellness information and displays during lunchtime.
  • Offer interactive demonstrations to capture interest and attention.
  • Offer take-home brochures to engage and involve Families.
  • Offer programs to both management and staff.
 

For further information, feel free to contact us at: support@myworkwell.com / 03 7733 8311

Health & Wellness Tips