Slideshow Top 10 wellness tips for the workplace

Published
  • August 24 2016, 1:38am EDT
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Overview

Wellness can seem like a very broad and vague term, and knowing where exactly to start when initiating a wellness program can be confusing. Here are 10 tips from wellness experts across the U.S.

These tips were submitted by EPIC’s senior wellness consultant Craig Schmidt, MetLife’s head of strategy for national accounts, Douglas Choo, and Jeff Oldham, vice president of consumer strategy at Benefitfocus.

As financial concerns rise among employees, focus on financial wellbeing strategies and programs

According to MetLife’s 14th Annual Employee Benefits Trends Study, in just four years, employee concerns about meeting monthly living expenses has increased by 15 percentage points, up from 38% in 2012, to more than half of employees (53%) in 2015. What this means for employers is that they have a real opportunity to provide value to their employees and help them meet their financial needs.

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Develop effective communication strategies to engage workforces and showcase the advantages of wellness programs

When communicating about benefits, for example, MetLife’s Employee Benefits Trends Study found that employees are most interested in one-on-one communications to help them understand their benefits, followed by use of a mobile app. Employers and advisers should take note of how their employees want to be communicated with and follow suit in order to drive participation.

Think about using new technologies to deliver health and wellness

Recently, there’s been more and more interest in using technology to create digital wellness tools for employees. Advanced technologies such as avatars and gamification are being used in employee wellness tools. Big data is enabling businesses to better use that intel to drive better employee engagement. For example, employees can take a series of quizzes or use self-assessment tools that will then guide them to educational resources or videos to meet their specific health and financial well-being needs.

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Adjust the physical environment of the worksite to support the message programs are striving for

Much like when an alcoholic quits drinking it is beneficial to remove alcohol from the home, if you are promoting healthy eating in the work place you provide healthy food and snack options. Its not just enough to talk the talk, you also need to walk the walk to help employees be successful on their wellness journey.

Integrate wellness into the workday, every day

One problem that arises with attempts at wellness programs is that it's made into a one time event. Advisers and employers don’t build in accountability or daily practices or policies into the working day to keep employees engaged in whats going on. The more ways an employer can engage an employee, the more likely they will be at creating successful behavior change. Habits weren’t created overnight and they wont change overnight, either.

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Strategize and create a plan targeted at goals, prior to starting an initiative

Far too often there is no planning when it comes to programming and implementation. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. Come up with a game plan, know your clients' benchmark and metrics and include regular evaluations to ensure the program is staying on the right path or if it needs to be readjusted.

Ask yourself three questions

What is the intended outcome? What are your measurables? Who is your target audience?

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Include mental health

Anxiety and depression undoubtedly have an impact on employees' ability to concentrate and even show up to work, impacting the success of a company and the costs associated with keeping workers healthy and present.

Advise clients on the value of a holistic approach

Look at financial, physical, emotional and mental health. Physical or mental ailments are often a symptom of a larger cause and other life stressors, and offering a variety of benefits and wellness programs allows workers to personalize the kind of support they need.

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Don't be reactive when it comes to financial wellness

Employers are moving away from a reactive approach to helping employees in a crisis, to addressing the root cause and promoting a culture of prevention, offering student loan repayment benefits, financial education courses and more.