Self-care has become a significant buzzword when it comes to health, especially during the pandemic. According to Everyday Health, self-care is defined as taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy and well, do your job, help and care for others, and do all the things you need and want to accomplish in a day.
Employees perform their best when they are their healthiest, which is why wellness solutions and in-office self-care practices are necessary in today’s workplaces. Many people think of self-care as physical health, however, it’s just as important to take care of your mental and emotional health as well.
Oftentimes, an employee’s most unhealthy habits are shown at work. For example, sitting for long periods of time, incorporating little to no movement, and excessive engagement with screens daily. If companies were to offer wellness programs, employees would practice better self-care in-office and likely carry over their healthy practices to their personal lives as well.
Read below to discover how employers can encourage self-care practices and how they will benefit the organization overall.
How to Start or Refresh an Employee Wellness Program
When determining what to include in an employee wellness program, the first step is to think about and even consult with current employees. Each company will need a specific wellness program set-up for their unique set of employees.
First, think about your employee’s day-to-day activities that could be contributing to unhealthy behaviors. This could include lack of movement and potential employee eye strain or burnout due to increased use of technology. After determining the most concerning unhealthy behaviors of your employees, move into your second step—consulting the employees. This can be achieved by sending out an anonymous survey asking employees how they feel about said unhealthy behaviors and if there’s anything else that comes to mind when thinking about office wellness. Use these results to form your wellness plan.
Your next move should be determined based on the factors that have room for improvement and the responses to the survey you sent out. Some things you might want to include in your employee wellness program are:
- Health Reminders
Health reminders are a quick and easy way to get your employees wellness program started. This can include:
- A Daily Health Reminder
Daily health reminders can be in the form of a simple daily email that reminds employees to take a walk outside, stretch at their desk, try a local healthy restaurant for lunch, and much more.
- A Monthly Health Newsletter
A monthly newsletter would give your company more time to compile multiple health statistics and recent trends that employees could incorporate into their daily lives. Receiving a new newsletter each month will give employees new activities to look forward to.
- A Monthly Wellness Check-in
Similar to the wellness check-in we suggested you conduct at the beginning of your wellness program, a monthly wellness survey will help you gauge how your employees are feeling and allow you to pivot your plan accordingly.
- A Company Wellness Chat
A simple wellness chat on your company’s communication platform could be just as, if not more, effective as a newsletter. Leadership could share health statistics and trends as they come across them and employees could also share what is working for them.
This is an effective way to remind your employees to take care of their health and build healthier habits over time. According to Healthline, it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. Start encouraging your employees sooner rather than later to create a healthier and more productive workforce.
- Healthcare Stipend
One very effective way for companies to encourage employees to manage their health is to offer a healthcare stipend. This is simply a flat amount of money added to their paychecks weekly, monthly, or annually, which they can spend however they please towards health initiatives.
The benefit of an individual stipend is that employees can use it for their own individual healthcare needs. If your employees spend the majority of their day working from their desks, they might be more inclined to use their stipend for a more ergonomic office chair, which can support their back, neck, and shoulders, while working on their computers for long periods of time. This can also decrease back pain and tension making employees more agile and productive throughout the workweek.
Similarly, if employees spend the majority of their day interacting with computer screens they might consider putting it toward trying contact lenses as an alternative to eyeglasses. Having the proper contacts prescription can provide employees with better clarity, which reduces their risk of chronic eye strain and headaches. Furthermore, contact lenses rehydrate the eyes when engaging with screens for long periods of time, which is beneficial because digital screens often cause employees to blink less, drying out their eyes and causing irritation.
Employers can even use their monthly newsletters or wellness chats to share information about said employee health issues and encourage them to use their stipend towards these effective solutions. This can also save companies money, as a small annual stipend is likely less expensive than purchasing new ergonomic equipment for each employee.
- Flexible Work Arrangements
Lastly,, also known as flextime, can greatly benefit employees in today’s society. It has been determined that it’s unhealthy to sit and engage with computer screens for 8-straight hours per day. A flexible arrangement refers to a work schedule that doesn’t have the normal constraints of a traditional job. This type of arrangement takes into account an employee’s personal needs and allows them to better sync their work hours with their personal responsibilities and healthcare needs. However, many organizations avoid this arrangement because they think employees will take advantage of the flexibility and decrease productivity. But most employees have been known to honor the arrangement out of respect for their organization. Although, if needed try using a time and attendance system to better track your employees’ time, attendance, and activity, while also gathering data for compliance.
This arrangement will make employees feel better accommodated as they will be empowered to take breaks from their desks and screens as they please, make it to healthcare appointments if needed, and take care of family and personal needs.
Employee health should be a top priority for every organization as employees are an essential aspect of its function. Take the time to develop or adjust your employee wellness program today to help your employees feel more refreshed in 2021.
About The Author
Ingrid is the Content Marketing Manager at Paypro, managing both inbound and outbound marketing initiatives for the company. She has 15+ years’ of extensive marketing communications experience, leveraging brand awareness and strategic partnerships to increase sales revenue for a diverse group of B2B brands.