Are your employees WELL?

Why you should care and what you can do about it.

By: Krissy Fuller

It seems like you can’t go anywhere without hearing something about employees and the workplace.  Depending on the outlet you’re viewing the context can look a little different.  The Great Resignation was a buzzword, layoffs and a recession have been a hot button, and there’s the ever present ongoing conversation about DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) YAY!   

One area that I’d like to highlight is employee wellness (employees are our JAM – and well, so is wellness).  Employee wellness is a crucial aspect of any workplace. Before I dive in – let me first say our number one focus and goal here is a healthy person – who happens to be y/our employee.  Do happy and healthy employees lead to higher productivity, less absenteeism, and a more positive work environment, YES! And who doesn’t want ALL of those things? I think it’s important for businesses to remember the HUMAN first, then, the fact that they’re an employee comes into focus.  So it is with that LENS that I encourage you to read the rest of this. 

So, you might be asking – “Krissy, I have to think about the human first and then my business but how do businesses promote employee wellness? It sounds tough AND expensive.”

Great question, I’m glad you asked.  There are many ways employers can promote employee wellness – and many that cost nothing to minimal amounts.

  1.  Encourage Physical Activity

    The research has shown time and time again that physical activity reduces stress and anxiety, improves mood, and increases energy levels.  There are MANY ways you can provide opportunities for your employees to be physically active.  You can offer your employees fitness class passes, stipends for a gym membership, standing desks, or even encouraging employees to take breaks and go for a walk.  Perhaps you create a 15 minute walking club that meets at set times during the day.  Allowing employees to opt in and join when it fits their schedule will not only help stretch the legs and get more activity, but it may also encourage and promote new connections and ideas amongst the staff.  

  2. Promote Healthy Eating Habits

    “Ummm, hold up Krissy – this is out of our realm, who am I to talk about eating habits?”.  I hear you… but a lot of companies already provide snack options or meals at the workplace.  Providing healthy food options in the workplace such as fresh fruit or nuts and healthy meal options in the breakroom or for team meetings also contribute to promoting employee wellness.  It may also encourage employees to bring their own healthy meals.  Do you have an internal company newsletter?  How about including a monthly recipe? Perhaps you bring in a nutritionist for a learning session that employees can sign up for. Get creative! 

  3. Provide Mental Health Resources

    Providing mental health resources such as mental health days or counseling can help support employees’ mental well being.  Additionally creating a culture that supports open communication and de-stigmatize mental health can help employees feel comfortable seeking help if/when needed.  You can do this through an EAP (Employee Assistance Program), a stipend towards mental health apps, or working with local mental health expert to provide reduced rate services for your staff.  You can also create a resource sheet to help employees find services in the area that provide free or low cost mental health services. Check out the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC).  Enter your business zip code in the search function on the site to find a list of clinics that offer mental health services near you. 

  4. Offer Flexible Schedules

    We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again.  Offering flexible work schedules or remote work options allows employees to better balance their work and personal lives.  This can help alleviate stress, AND improve mental health.  It may also allow your employees to adopt a physical fitness routine that they can do during the “usual commute time” that is now available to them with the work from home “carpet commute”.  With the option of flexible work schedules, it allows employees to meet the needs of their family/personal life, and their employers.  The stress of trying to balance it all (and anyone with kids knows that school schedules don’t account for parents’ work schedules) can weigh heavily on parents.  Allowing your employees to adjust to meet these demands can provide a huge relief, and therefore allow them to be more engaged when working.

  5. Learning Libraries

    Books can be a wonderful way to help foster employee wellness.  Creating a space where employees can leave their favorite books for others to read, or pick up a book on a brand new topic is a wonderful easy way to provide outlets for your employees.  From SCI-FI, Romance, Self – Help, Autobiographies and everything in between employees can pick up a book that resonates with them at that moment and enjoy!  It’s also a great way to make a positive impact on the environment by upcycling books! 

  6. Laughing

    I was reading this article from the Mayo Clinic about the effects of laughing on stress relief. Laughing can help boost the immune system – how cool is that?  While I’m not saying you need to hire a comic for your next all-hands meeting (although that could be fun, and send an invite if you do) there are easy ways to incorporate humor into the workplace.  “Wait…. HR just said to add humor to the office… this is a trick.”  

    It’s not.  Laughing and humor is AMAZING in the workplace.  Obviously there are boundaries, but we’re all adults here and I’m going on the assumption we know what’s ok to say at work.  (IF you don’t know, or your workplace needs help give us a call – we can help)  Here are a few ways to incorporate humor/fun into the day:

    • – A hula hoop contest – think bracket style competition.  Let employees sign up and get “hooping”. Laughs will abound and it’s involving activity, so a double win.
    • – White board tic-tac-toe.  Employees can walk by and make an entry until either the x’s or o’s win – repeat
    • – Get a deck of cards and allow for employees to play go fish – you’d be surprised how much fun can come from this
    • – Before a meeting try to play the theme to Twinkle, Twinkle on your phone.  Maybe the team can advance to this level of Harry Potter Theme Song.
    • – Play Two Truths and a lie
    • – Play a game of musical bingo on the last friday of every month – the cards get created ahead of time with selected songs and the DJ (using spotify/pandora/itunes) plays the songs in random order.  You can create monthly themes too!

Whatever option/s you choose, you won’t regret “investing”  more into your employees’ wellness. Our employees are whole people, with whole lives, and we encourage employees to bring their whole self to work.  The more we can incorporate wellbeing into the workplace the better WE will all BE!


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