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Corporate Wellness: A Guide For Employers And Employees

October 7, 2021

The trend of corporate wellness and collective exercising at work opportunities for exercise is something that seems to be catching on in offices everywhere. With your busy schedules leaving you with little time to jump on commercial treadmills, commercial ellipticals, or commercial exercise bikes at home, people are opting to fit in their workout at the office. Turns out, moving your exercise plan to work has even more benefits than keeping you slim. Keep reading to learn more about how a comprehensive corporate wellness program can benefit individuals at all levels of your company.

Benefits Of Corporate Wellness

Corporate worker busy working on a corporate wellness guide.

Increased Productivity

When you get your body moving at work, you may be increasing productivity at the same time. According to a study from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm that was featured in the Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Medicine, patients who took two and a half hours out of their day to exercise experienced increased productivity, an increased quantity of work, and even took less sick days. “A reduction in work hours may be used for health promotion activities with sustained or improved production levels, suggesting an increased productivity since the same, or higher, production level can be achieved with lesser resources,” explained the journal.

More Time For Family And Friends

By fitting in your workout at the office, you’ll not only be increasing the quality of your work, but you’ll have more time when you get home to spend with family or friends, or yourself. A better balance between work and personal life has shown employees are generally more content. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, those who engaged in physical activity were less likely to become burned out at the office and tend to be less depressed.

Promote A Healthy Lifestyle

Workers using their office gym promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Incorporating a wellness program at work is great for promoting employee fitness and health. Partaking in physical fitness activities is proven to lower your chances of getting sick, which in turn will ultimately lower health care costs for your employees and company. In addition, you may see an increase in productivity as employees take fewer sick days.

Relieve Employee Stress

It’s no secret that working a 40-hour week can be physically and mentally stressful. Taking a half-hour each day to re-group and work out is a great way to reduce employee stress. Exercise relieves stress and generates endorphins, which will leave employees feeling energized and happier when they return to work. With a better mood and more energy comes more productivity!

Promote Employee Camaraderie

Getting to know fellow employees can be difficult when the day is entirely consumed by work. Exercising is a great group activity that allows co-workers to talk and get to know each other better. Set aside a half-hour each day for employees to exercise and socialize with their co-workers. Employees will get the benefits of physical activity and the socialization that comes along with group exercise.

Give Back To Employees

Not only does the company benefit from providing a wellness program for its employees, but it is also a way for the company to give back to its employees. Acknowledging employees’ hard work and rewarding them with a well-deserved break is a great way to show gratitude and provide motivation. Providing your employees with up-to-date, quality commercial fitness equipment will make them want to take advantage of the company gym.

Physical Consequences

Exercise relieves stress by increasing endorphins. Endorphins make you feel good, making you less likely to feel anxious, depressed, or hungry. In addition, regular exercise increases self-confidence through having a physically stronger and healthier body.

Employee working out to help prevent chronic illnesses.

Mental Consequences

Most everyone wants to be healthy, but many people’s busy lives make it difficult for them to reach their fitness goals. On a very basic level, in-house fitness centers make it easier for employees to make time for physical activity, reducing the stress of going to a health center. In addition, many people pay a sizable chunk of their salary to belong to a good gym. As an employer, you can get rid of this stressful financial strain by providing a fitness center at your work. Lastly, exercise can be its own form of meditation. Exercise allows employees to concentrate on something wholly separate from work, such as their breathing, form, or even the music they listen to while working out.

Preventing Chronic Diseases

Keeping your employees healthy and happy is essential to a positive, productive workplace, but it also means less insurance responsibility for your company. One of the best ways to promote corporate wellness is by building an in-house fitness center for your employees. Chronic diseases are some of the most harmful health issues your company can experience because they are long-lasting, infrequently resolved naturally, and hardly ever completely cured. In-house fitness centers can help prevent chronic illness by decreasing stress in the workplace.

Workloads, deadlines, time management, and important meetings make office life stressful for any average employee. While some stress is good for getting assignments done on time, too much stress can lead to:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Heart Disease
  • Weight Gain

How To Implement And Follow A Corporate Wellness Program

A wellness program in your workplace is a great way to promote healthy lifestyles in your employees. Promoting employee health helps prevent chronic diseases and promotes both mental and physical wellbeing. However, many wellness programs fail when the right implementation steps are not put into place. Here are a few examples of how you create a successful wellness program and accommodate its goals in an efficient and worthwhile way.

Develop A Comprehensive Program

Woman excited that she has helped to create a successful wellness program.

Develop a comprehensive plan that states what your wellness plan will entail. It needs to include everyone in the company in one way or another. Sample offerings for your wellness program include:

  • Preventive health screenings
  • Weight loss programs
  • Gym memberships or an in-house fitness center
  • Help employees stop smoking

Tailor The Program To Your Employees

Tailoring your wellness program to fit your employees’ needs is essential to make the most out of your wellness program. For example, if none of your employees smoke, it is not the best idea to offer programs to help them quit smoking. You have to find out what your employees are looking for and do your best to provide that for them. Surveys and other methods are great ways to gauge what your employees expect. An easy way to start is by providing an in-house fitness center with commercial fitness equipment where your employees can exercise at their leisure. From there, they can voice their opinions on what they want and how the program can be improved.

Implement Program Awareness

Creative marketing is essential to getting your wellness program underway. If your employees aren’t aware of the programs or what they are for, it is likely you won’t have a successful wellness program. To raise awareness for your wellness program, you can:

  • Send out emails
  • Put up flyers
  • Hold a meeting

Ensure The Program Is Embraced By Top Management

If the wellness program is not being embraced by top management, it is more likely to not be embraced by anyone else. Management must show their excitement and remind employees why these programs are so important in order to maintain and generate participation.

Additional Options For Your Corporate Wellness Initiatives

Pets In The Workplace

A dog in the workplace.

Wish you could take your pet to work? In today’s modern environment, more and more companies are allowing employees to bring their pets to work. Before you make your office pet-friendly, it’s a good idea to hold a meeting to discuss the pros and cons and make sure that a pet policy is right for your company.

Pro: Pets Reduce Stress

Pets have the great benefit of reducing stress and anxiety in your employees and improving their health. Studies have shown that pets can also help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. By allowing pets in the workplace, your employees can take short breaks which will help their mental health and allow them to regroup their thoughts.

Con: Pets Can Cause Allergies

Not everyone may appreciate the presence of the office pooch—especially if they’re allergic. Most pets shed dander which causes an allergic reaction in some people. There are even some health risks involved with employees who are allergic, such as sinus infections and the inability to manage asthma symptoms. If you have employees with allergies or other health conditions, you may need to reconsider having pets in the office to help keep employee health safe.

Pro: Pets Promote Employee Socialization

Pets tend to draw people in and can be a great way to help break the ice. Allowing employees to bring their pets to work is a great way to help employees who haven’t spoken before get to know each other. With closer, better relationships between employees, employees will be happier and more productive.

Con: Pets Can Be Distracting

While everyone may love having animals in the office, sometimes they can be distracting—especially if they’re not well behaved. Even if they are well behaved, some employees may be more apt to pay attention to their furry friends than their work. If you do have a pet policy, make it clear that employees will still need to get their work done on time and efficiently.

Pro: Pets Can Promotes Exercise

Pets need exercise too. By allowing employees to bring their pets into the office, they will be encouraged to take short walks at lunch to let their pet stretch their legs and take care of any business. Pets can even encourage employees to get up and walk around every hour or so.

Alternative Medicine

Acupuncture needles for woman's body. Alternative medicine.

In previous years, Americans spent over $30 billion on alternative medicine. Alternative medicine is typically defined as treatments that are used in place of mainstream treatments and medicines and includes:

  • Natural supplements
  • Acupuncture
  • Homeopathy

So should you incorporate alternative medicine into your corporate wellness program and is it safe? Here’s what you should know:

When Alternative Medicine Is A Good Option

While the health claims of alternative medicine are dubious and sometimes dangerous, it’s not all bad. Alternative medicine options like massage and yoga do work in helping employees relieve pain. Including these options in your corporate wellness program is a good idea in that it will help your employees relax and improve their mental health.

Do Your Research Before Investing In Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine claims are unproven. Before you decide to include alternative medicine in your corporate wellness program, you must be aware of the fact that many of the health claims are unproven or don’t work at all. Many alternative health treatments can interfere with other treatments as prescribed by an employee’s doctor.

Many people decide to include alternative medicine because they assume that “natural” remedies are safer than treatments prescribed by doctors, but natural doesn’t always mean safe. Natural products can cause side effects like:

  • High blood pressure
  • Organ damage
  • Allergies

Thoroughly research alternative medicine before you incorporate it in your corporate wellness program. Doing so can prevent unwanted and unintentional side effects, keeping your employees healthy and safe.

Tips For Reliable Research

When researching alternative medicine, finding reliable sources is important so you can get accurate, trustworthy information to pass on to your employees. When researching health claims, the CDC recommends that you consider the following:

  • When and where was the research published? A lot can change in just a few years. Finding the most up-to-date information from a peer-reviewed source like a scientific journal or medical institution is your best bet for accurate information.
  • Don’t rely on anecdotal evidence. Though it can aid research, anecdotal evidence often takes the form of personal accounts and is non-scientific and often inaccurate.
  • How is the research being funded? Is the information objective and unbiased? Check to see who funded the study and if they benefit from the findings.

By doing your research, you will be able to answer any questions your employees may have, like if a new health fad is safe.

Alternative Medicine To Avoid

Since alternative medicines like natural supplements are not regulated by the FDA as drugs or food, they don’t have to be approved before being put on the market. Also, some herbal medicines have been shown to contain contaminants like lead and mercury.

Alternative medicines like homeopathy, the practice of treating a medical condition through small, diluted natural substances, often contain high levels of alcohol and other ingredients that can cause dangerous side effects and drug interactions. Therefore, it’s good practice to avoid treatments like these all together in your corporate wellness program.

If you decide to include alternative medicine in your corporate wellness program, arm your managers and employees with complete and accurate information about the benefits and risks. That way, employees won’t unknowingly endanger their health and managers can curb any potential problems.

Staying Healthy If Your Work Doesn’t Have Corporate Wellness

Businesswoman Sitting In Wrong Posture Working On Laptop On Wooden Office Desk.

If your place of employment doesn’t offer time to exercise or classes to help you do so, don’t sweat it. There are little things you can do throughout the day that will help to burn calories, even if you don’t realize it.

Sitting All Day

Working at a desk all day can be hard on your body—especially if you’re in the habit of powering through your day without taking the time to get up from your desk. Failure to get up and move throughout the workday can cause high blood pressure, excess body fat, and cardiovascular disease.

To break This habit:

Do some exercises and stretches at your desk to help alleviate tension
Talk to your employer about investing in standing desks
Set a timer to remind you to get up and walk around about every hour

Slumping

Slumping weakens your core muscles and not only causes back pain but other physical and mental side effects as well. Slumping increases stress and depression, prevents you from breathing correctly, and makes you look and feel less confident.

Be aware of your posture when sitting at your desk and sit correctly by resting your feet flat on the floor, with your back straight and arms at a 90-degree angle

Soon enough, you’ll be strengthening your core and looking more confident.

Crossing Your Legs

While a comfortable sitting position for some people, crossing your legs can be detrimental to your health. When you cross your legs you’re putting pressure on the veins, which can damage or weaken them. It can also lead to neck and back pain and mess with the muscles and nerves in your feet.

The Simplest Way To Break This Habit Is To:

  • Keep your feet flat on the ground
  • Take notice of what triggered you to begin crossing your legs (recognizing the trigger will help you take action to prevent leg crossing in the future)

Mindless Snacking

Need at three o’clock pick me up or just a way to help your de-stress? You may be tempted to reach for a candy bar or other unhealthy snack to munch on to energize you for the remainder of the workday, but all of those calories add up. Here’s how to keep snacks from getting out of hand:

  • If you must snack during the day, keep healthy snacks stocked like fruits and vegetables to get the nutrition you need.
  • If you’re snacking because you’re bored or stressed, find out what is making you feel that way and eliminate it and any unhealthy foods you have on hand.
  • Drink plenty of water to sate any cravings.

Working Through Lunch

Crunched for time to get that proposal finished? You’re probably thinking that you’ll just work through your lunch break—which is a bad idea. By working through lunch, your health and creativity take a hit since you’re staying in the same environment for hours on end, making your feel burned out.

Take advantage of your lunch break to relax and focus on something else besides work.

Go to lunch with coworkers to socialize and create a healthy, fun lunch environment.

Not only will you feel better, but it will give your energy a boost and help you concentrate when you get back to work.

Learn More With TRUE Fitness

Learn more about corporate and overall health with TRUE Fitness. We’ll help you decide if your corporation needs a wellness expert, including how to integrate corporate wellness plans within your company.