In 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 43% of employees had access to a workplace wellness program, compared to 39% in 2016. Improving employee health is becoming more and more important. Workplace wellness programs are becoming common practice across industries, from retail to healthcare. The goal of these initiatives is to improve employee productivity and reduce absenteeism. Oftentimes, employers do not know where to start when it comes to workplace health programs. Here are 5 examples of workplace health programs you can implement in your office.
What is a Workplace Health Program?
Promoting health and wellness is essential in the workplace. A workplace health program is a strategy to improve employee health through knowledge, skills, and behaviors. The goal of these programs is to improve employee health and happiness. In turn, workplace health programs can also improve the health of employees’ families and the community at large.
Workplace health programs benefit both employers and employees. Employers who offer workplace health programs report higher levels of productivity and lower absenteeism rates. When employees perceive that they are important to their employer, they are more likely to work better and more efficiently. These programs provide employees with opportunities to improve their health without spending extra money themselves.
5 Examples of Workplace Health Programs
There are many ways employers can incorporate wellness into their workplace. It is important to remember that you should not expect results overnight. Developing a culture of health takes time and effort from employers and employees, but you have to start somewhere. Here are 5 examples of Workplace Health Programs that you can implement in your office.
1. Programs for Quitting Smoking
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. According to the CDC, about 12.5% of Americans smoke cigarettes and even more regularly use e-cigarettes. This can include presentations on how to quit smoking and offering resources and guidance on how to quit. You can also start a support group for employees who are at various stages of quitting smoking. Even if the majority of your office are not smokers, implementing a workplace health program like this can prevent people from starting.
2. Providing Access to Preventative Services
Preventative screenings and health measures keep your employees healthy for longer. Work with local healthcare systems and practices to provide clinics and screenings for your employees. Here are some examples of preventative services you can provide:
- Heart disease and stroke prevention
- Cholesterol and blood pressure screenings
- Flu shot clinics
- COVID-19 booster clinics
- Cancer screenings
There are so many preventative services you can provide as part of your workplace health program. Whatever services you choose should be beneficial and appropriate for the age range and lifestyles of your employees.
3. Disease Management
Even with preventative measures and healthy lifestyles, chronic illness may be inevitable for some employees. Approximately 60% of American adults live with at least one chronic condition. Be sure to provide support for people who have chronic illnesses or injuries, like arthritis and diabetes. Work with a health provider to find ways to make your workplace accessible and approachable for people with chronic conditions.
4. Health and Wellness Competitions
Throw a competitive edge into your health program by making it a competition. Weight loss competitions between departments or healthy food cook-offs can be a great way to develop comradery while developing healthy habits. Offer prizes, like gift cards to healthy restaurants or paid gym memberships, to the groups or individuals who win the competitions. This can be a great motivator and can improve employee participation in the workplace health program.
5. Promoting Lifestyles Changes
Perhaps one of the best things you can do for a workplace health program is to promote healthy lifestyle changes. This can range from eating healthy food to getting regular exercise to getting a full night’s sleep. Start by stocking the breakroom with healthy snacks and drinks. Your company can also partner with a local healthy restaurant to provide healthy lunches.
Promoting physical activity is also important. Encourage employees to get up and walk around at least once an hour. You can also host hiking trips or other outdoor activities to get your employees up and moving.
Offering a workplace health program only works if your employees use it. Work with your employees and an occupational health provider, like Work Health Solutions, to determine what health programs will work for your office!
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