Add Employee Wellness to Your Holiday Shopping List

As surely as we develop our strategic business forecasts for the new year, we also should think about the roles employee health and wellness play in helping achieve our bottom-line goals.

The benefits of staff wellness are many; improved morale, productivity, quality, teamwork, and customer service. Sick days are reduced, illness can be avoided or better managed, and the efforts can be rewarding both for enhanced quality of life and healthcare cost reductions.

The health benefits of “feeling good” — by meeting individual or team goals, through successful planning and execution, a sense of accomplishment, providing service, and feeling valued — may be hard to measure, but are indisputable contributors to success, retention, and morale. Additionally, generosity, giving, and awareness create a sense of increased goodwill and can increase the bond between employer and employee, and among employees.

By supporting your employees’ interests in local or national organizations through donations, fund raising activities and in-kind services, you help your staff achieve that valuable sense of accomplishment and caring that comes from generosity and giving to others.

Additionally, every month brings a variety of wellness, disease awareness and health-related special events, activities and recognition. These represent some of the proverbial “low-hanging fruit” for promoting, encouraging and rewarding employee workforce participation. And if you time your internal outreach to the national tides of wellness material being communicated through the media, you’ll find the resources and educational information robust and easily available.

CBIA continuously reaches out to our Healthy Connections members to discover how they bring wellness into the workplace without spending a lot of money. From time to time this column runs best-practice stories, and we’re always interested in what you are doing, regardless of how seemingly small, to promote health and wellness in your workplace. Based on recent outreach, here are some of the most common practices we’re finding:

Gym memberships: Many companies offer an allowance to their employees to use for purchasing a gym membership. Some organizations incentivize employees to “earn” extra money by doing other healthy activities such as going to their PCP for their physical, by setting personal wellness goals, or by completing wellness workshops and classes.

Community outreach: Building up morale in the company is a commonly overlooked wellness initiative, but the results are always positive. Lead this initiative by getting a team together for a charity event or race, volunteer, “adopt” a family or charity for the holidays, raise money as a team for gifts, match team and invidual efforts, and encourage employees to donate food, time and services. Remember, charity doesn’t end when the year does!

Stress relief: Studies show that a power nap can increase alertness, memory, and stamina. The end result: Your employees are more productive! Some companies have designated an office where employees can reserve times during the day for relaxing, and forward-thinking organizations find ways to reward employees and help them “recharge” by allowing them much-needed “down time” that is customized to each employees’ needs.

And finally, encourage employees to visit their PCP. One of the best ways to stay healthy and to prevent illness is to visit your PCP for regular check-ups. Many companies see the value in allowing employees to take work time to get their physical. Plus, routine visits are covered in full for CBIA Health Connections members. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season and year to come!

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If you’re not enjoying the benefits of a wellness program at your company, join CBIA Healthy Connections at your company’s next renewal. It’s free as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!

How does your company promote and encourage wellness?

Every month, this column encourages employers to help their employees embrace health and wellness opportunities through education, collaboration, and personal/team goal setting. Savvy employers promote these goals through open communication and support, establishing a vision for staff, and rewarding for improved healthy behaviors.

It’s a new year, a time that many people establish personal benchmarks for how they’d like to improve their health and wellness. It’s human nature to take a fresh look at ourselves and our lives, especially after the gluttony and chaos of another holiday season. We traditionally determine we’re going to do better, whether it’s weight loss, exercise, smoking cessation, stress reduction or by addressing the health side effects from not focusing on these important tasks — like high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, raised blood sugar, lack of sleep, overtaxed joints…it’s a long list.

Some employers set company goals, sponsor team walks or charity-related events, reward for total weight lost, or the number of smokers who quit. Others help supplement the cost of fitness center memberships, sponsor on-site classes, encourage healthy potluck lunches and dinners, host health screenings, and more. There’s no perfect recipe for success — every step counts, and company efforts vary from culture to culture.

The best stories about health and wellness are your stories — the formal and informal ways you and your company promote, support, communicate and reward wellness efforts, small and not-so-small. Whether they involve one or many, we’re looking for examples of what you’re doing at your company, how you’re doing it, and who’s involved.

Improving individual and organizational health is incremental. While we love “big success stories,” we’re looking for best practices to share with other companies like yours. How do you communicate wellness objectives? What programs or efforts are taking place onsite during the day, or before or after hours? How are you setting goals, measuring and recognizing achievement? Who is involved? Regardless of your focus, we’d like to hear about it. Then, we can share your efforts with others also participating in CBIA’s Healthy Connections.

Someone from CBIA may contact you to ask about your efforts. We’ll take small steps and combine them into articles that demonstrate what’s going on among our member companies, or profile your company and program individually. If you want to contact us to tell us what you’re doing, please send us a note at michelle.molyneux@cbia.com.

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If you’re not enjoying the benefits of a wellness program at your company, join CBIA Healthy Connections at your company’s next renewal. It’s free as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!