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For years, I was stuck in a routine. I would wake up and immediately reach for my phone to scan the news. In less than 10 minutes, I absorbed the day’s top stories ranging from the impact of global climate change to terrorism. I was stressed before I even got out of bed! Couple that with a potentially stressful commute and hectic work environment, and it is no wonder why over 60% of us report feeling overloaded and stressed out.
Companies of all sizes must get creative to help keep their workforce energized, productive and balanced without breaking the bank to retain their most valuable asset, their people. Leaders are constantly faced with the challenge of increasing productivity while reducing expenses. There are ways your business, (regardless of its size), can fuel employees, boost productivity and reduce costs through wellness initiatives.
Think of your vehicle and how it performs when you fuel it with premium gas and get regularly scheduled maintenance. It drives better, lasts longer and costs less in repairs in the long run. This concept is the same for people. When we make conscious decisions to be healthy, and are encouraged to protect our well-being, our focus, engagement, and productivity increase. Today, my most productive days are when I meditate immediately after waking up. I use an app called Headspace, and it helps me center myself as I start the day. (Check out Headspace’s Founder on Jimmy Fallon leading thousands of people through a 2-minute meditation). This mindset shift highlighted how a daily commitment to reducing stress, can help us avoid feeling overwhelmed before we even hit our desks.
Companies that assist their employees in maintaining a healthy lifestyle create a win for the organization and its people. According to a 2015 Willis Towers Watson survey, US firms with effective wellness programs experienced higher productivity through fewer unplanned absences and lower medical claims, and a stronger bottom line thanks to reductions in health costs of over $1,600 per employee. Globally, firms with extremely effective wellness programs experienced higher revenue by 34% and higher market premiums. The link between strong wellness initiatives, increased productivity and financial results make the investment worthwhile.
Effective well-being initiatives must address the employee’s emotional and mental health, nutrition, job fulfillment, social connectivity and so much more. Here are some examples of well-being initiatives that can be implemented in varying degrees.
10 Well-Being Initiatives to Keep Employees Energized + Productive
- Stress Relief Techniques – Making a habit to consciously reduce stress heightens focus and increases productivity in all aspects of life. Inspire Human Resources consultant, Jessica Powers, has consulted with global organizations and startups since 2006 and brings a unique mindfulness to engagements. According to Jessica, “to feel energized, vibrant, productive, and creative at work, self-care is essential. Curate your own self-care rituals. It might look like yoga, deep breaths, meditating, spending time with friends, laughing, taking a bath, fishing, eating healthy foods, walking, asking for help, being well-rested, listening to music, singing karaoke, or talking to yourself like you are your own best friend.”
- Aetna offers Mindfulness at Work and Yoga Stress Reduction programs in an effort to lower mental and physical stress. Inspire Human Resources client, LinkedIn issued breathing pattern monitoring devices to employees and found that those with the devices practiced healthier breathing patterns, especially in stressful settings.
- Concierge services & discount programs – Employee assistance programs help personnel tackle small tasks that would have usually taken their attention away from work. Having an extra hand can greatly reduce stress and increase focus.
- Rest Policies – Sleep is so important for overall well-being and productivity, but adults are rarely getting enough of it. A power nap has a huge impact on employee performance, which could translate to company growth. Consider creating a policy that allows for employees to take a short break as needed. Nap rooms not a good fit for your organization? Consider hosting ‘sleep fair’ events to create awareness on the power of rest.
- ‘Get Moving’ Campaigns – Encourage employees to get moving. Coordinate a ‘Flash Walk’ twice per day where employees take a 10-15 minute group walk, host walking meetings, or get creative to persuade your team to take the steps instead of the elevator.
- Create Volunteer Opportunities – Volunteering connects employees to fulfilling activities while increasing organizational corporate social responsibility. Giving back attaches a purpose to an action, and restores energy. Inspire Human Resources consultant Jessica notes that these opportunities “help employees to be engaged, more productive and present in relationships.”
- Prudential offers employees one PTO day each year to volunteer with their favorite nonprofit organization.
- Fitness Programs – Adding physical activity to the work day has a long list of benefits. Efforts can include:
- Adding sit-stand desks to workspaces
- Offering stress management seminars
- Partnering with local fitness centers to offer employee discounts
- Building an on-site fitness center
- Carnival Cruise Lines offers its employees an on-site gym, fitness classes, and healthy eating seminars, and have found these benefits to also be a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining talent.
- Puppy Therapy – Bring Your Child to Work Day is fun, but Bring Your Pet to Work Day is worth consideration. If your workplace is pet-friendly, arrange for employees to bring pets to work a few times per summer. There are also organizations that can bring in cats or dogs to promote adoption and celebrate the amazing pet companions in your workforce. Pets are great at reducing stress levels and trigger new interactions in the workplace.
- Corporate Chair Massages – Massage therapy at work is not only a stress reducer, but it’s also a crowd favorite. If purchasing chairs is too much of a commitment, consider scheduling Massage Days once per month with on-demand chair massage provider like Zeel.
- Healthy Food Options – We really are what we eat. When corporations offer healthy snack and meal options, it demonstrates their commitment to employees living healthier lives. Employers can bring in a farmer’s market during warm months, or provide healthy alternatives to snack and meals made available to employees. As an example, instead of providing soda and chips as snacks, consider swapping those for healthier options like flavored seltzer water and greek yogurt. Organize programs to educate employees on nutrition, diet and the importance of healthy meal choices.
- Companies like Facebook offer free snacks and lunch to employees, ranging from vegan options to burgers and fries. Company-sponsored lunches and snacks go a long way with employees and increase employee satisfaction.
- Flexible Work Arrangements – If the responsibilities permit, allow employees to work from home from time to time. This provides a mental break from the daily commute, which can boost productivity and morale. Offering flex time and allowing for a staggered schedule can also be helpful in alleviating stress for team members with long commutes.
If your firm is seeking opportunities to boost employee productivity, Inspire Human Resources can assist in creating a custom well-being initiative for your organization. Do not hesitate to reach out at (917) 612-8571 or [email protected]. We’re here to help!