The American Psychological Association (APA) defines workplace wellness as “the promotion of physical, mental and social well-being in the workplace.” This means that employees are taking care of themselves physically, mentally, socially and emotionally. Healthy employees are more productive employees, which leads to happier work environments.
To create a culture of health and wellness, employers should focus on implementing policies and programs that encourage stress management, physical activity/healthy eating, social support and work-life balance.
Step 1: Establish a Vision
The first step of creating a culture of health and wellness is to establish the company’s vision for wellness. The vision has to be realistic, attainable and measurable. There are many factors to take into account when creating a vision for wellness.
One factor is the company’s financial goals and what it means to be “well.” For example, if a company places emphasis on physical activity, then signs and walking trails may be provided around the workplace; whereas, if mental health is prioritized, there would be a designated space for meditation.
Step 2: Consider New Policies
The next step in creating a culture of health and wellness is implementing policies that promote the vision of wellness. The policies should be communicated across all levels in an organization, from recruitment/hiring to exit interviews. For example, if a company prioritizes mental health, managers should be trained how to support employees who are experiencing mental health issues.
The policies should also address the expectations on what is considered “well” and how employees can obtain it. For instance, if an employer prioritizes healthy eating, then there would be company-sponsored cooking classes or a company cafeteria that serves healthy food options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Step 3: Implement Programs
The last step in creating a culture of health and wellness is to implement programs that promote healthy habits. Programs can include company-sponsored fitness classes, meditation sessions, financial wellness programs for employees or healthy cooking seminars.
One benefit of implementing programs is that it provides employees the opportunity to build relationships with like-minded people within their organization. Employees may form new friendships or strengthen existing ones through these programs.
Healthy employees are happier employees, which leads to a more productive work environment. To create a culture of health and wellness, employers should focus on promoting healthy habits across the organization through policies and programs. Implementing this will create an environment where employees take care of themselves physically, mentally, socially and emotionally.