Yoga on the beach for workplace wellness
People + Culture

The how and why of workplace wellness

Now, more than ever, prospective employees are looking for work environments that look after their mental health and offer flexible arrangements that suit their lifestyles.

Looking for a new hire? Workplace wellness is one of the biggest candidate drawcards.

Now, more than ever, prospective employees are looking for work environments that look after their mental health and offer flexible arrangements that suit their lifestyles.

Here we look at the how and why of workplace wellness.

What is workplace wellness?

Workplace wellness refers to a work environment that is good for the health and well-being of all people within it. This includes employees, employers and clients or customers.

It is a broad term that captures all measures of health: mental, physical, and emotional.

An easy way to check if workplace wellness is implemented in your workplace is by asking questions like:

  • Is it easy to maintain a healthy lifestyle alongside your job?
  • Are you struggling with any facet of your health?
  • Does your organisation provide opportunities for your employees to improve their health through policies or programs?
  • Are healthy snacks available in your office?
  • Are you able to take frequent breaks during the workday?
  • Do you provide the opportunity for your employees to take breaks (outside of lunch)?
  • Does your organisation encourage physical movement?
  • Do you offer EAP?
  • Is there high workplace trust?
  • Can your employees honestly talk about how they are doing?

Lady enjoying workplace wellness

Why is it so important?

For full-time employees, the average Australian workweek is 41.5 hours. That’s almost a quarter of a person’s year spent in the office. It’s no wonder the work environment can have such an effect on someone’s mental and physical wellness.

Designing and implementing workplace wellness helps to improve the productivity, happiness, and health of your people. It will also greatly improve your health too.

Businesses with wellness programs typically have:

  • Lower levels of sick leave/absenteeism.
  • Lower employee attrition.
  • A reduction in workplace injury (and workers’ compensation).
  • Higher employee engagement and productivity levels.
  • Lower stress.

People coming together for workplace wellness

How do you implement workplace wellness?

Workplace wellness strategies should be embedded in the framework of your organisation. This includes the inclusion of health programs, policies, benefits, and external supports (like EAP services).

To implement workplace wellness strategies, you will need to follow a few steps:

  1. Survey your employees to evaluate what is missing in the workplace or where they would like more support.
  2. Gather information on the interests of your employees to programs that can align with what they want as well as what they need.
  3. Review the information collected.
  4. Set short-term and long-term strategic goals based on this information.
  5. Establish a budget.
  6. Get support from management on your priorities.
  7. Design wellness programs.
  8. Establish a wellness committee.
  9. Have the wellness committee evaluate the current programs and monitor the implementation of the new ones.
  10. Set incentives or rewards that align with the completion of the programs.
  11. Communicate the wellness programs you offer to your team.

Friends embracing workplace wellness

Some examples of wellness offerings include:

  • Wellness classes like corporate yoga or pilates.
  • Create programs that incentivise health (such as a weekly steps challenge or prize for completing a meditation course).
  • Mindfulness training.
  • Stress reduction program.

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