COMPANY CULTURE / AUG. 16, 2014
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How the Healthiest Workplaces Got that Way

When you’re committing most of your most productive hours of the day to your job, you’d hope that your workplace is as committed to you as you are to it. A good work-life balance, good communication among management and staff, a livable wage and transparency in goals and values are among some of the features that make a healthy workplace, according to Mental Health America. 

Some workplaces go even further in their quest to help employees live healthy lives, by hosting workplace wellness programs for employees, and often their families too. These programs have been shown to lower health care costs as well as improve employee morale and overall vitality.

Like everything though, some workplaces do wellness programs better than others. If you’re wondering how your workplace stacks up in terms of its workplace wellness initiative, here are some things that some of the healthiest workplaces tend to have in common. 

They conduct regular screenings. A workplace wellness program is not really effective unless you have markers to measure your success. At the heart of any wellness program, then, should be screenings for blood pressure, blood sugars and cholesterol. The screenings alone can help employees determine whether they need to seek more advanced medical care, but the screenings also help to compare data before and after the wellness program was in place. 

They have a competitive element to the program. Starting a walking group or a running club is a great way to motivate people -- but the companies who had the most success upped the ante even more by encouraging people to participate in some healthy form of competition. That might include racking up points for every workout performed, holding a sit-ups competition, or any other type of competitive event that’s related to the activities in the wellness program. 

The company leaders are on board. When CEOs spend time in the company gym during the work day or take part in those friendly competitive events, it sends a signal to the rest of the workforce that fitness and wellness are important to the company. What’s more, it shows employees that it’s OK to take some time away from work to participate. 

They walk the walk and offer healthy snacks, fitness facilities and other health-promoting items. The company doesn’t necessarily have to roll out a fresh fruit smorgasbord every afternoon or invest in a full-service gym facility, but investing in things like showers, secure bike parking and healthy vending machine options can show employees where the company’s values lie. 

Whether you’re the employee tasked with forming or improving your workplace wellness program, you’re a business owner looking for new ideas or an employee who wants her employer to take more stock in your health, these key items can give you a sense of what other companies are doing.

And if your company hasn’t yet started a workplace wellness program, talk to your bosses or your human resources officers about the steps for starting one at your office. By presenting the facts, it probably won’t be difficult to convince them it’s worth it.

 

Image courtesy Tec_Estromberg, Flickr

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