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There are a lot of changes that have been happening in the corporate world, and the way companies are being run these days is very different from how things were a few years ago. One of the key differences is the drastic shift towards creating a culture of wellness in the workplace.
Employers are finding it more difficult to secure top talent when recruiting, and they are doing all they can to become more attractive to job candidates. Back in the day, buying a standing desk for an employee would have seemed extravagant, but today it is the least an employer can do for their office workers.
One of the reasons for this sudden shift in company culture is, of course, the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Being on lockdown for such a long time had a lasting impact on many people, with the importance of exercise and well-being suddenly becoming obvious. Even now, long after the pandemic has ended, top companies are still prioritizing the good health of their employees.
However, in such a busy and highly-competitive business environment, finding ways to promote exercise and well-being among employees is not easy. Companies need to take strong initiatives to create a culture of wellness in the work environment. This article will discuss the importance of such a culture and some of the things companies can do to promote health and wellness.
The Importance of Workplace Wellness for Active Office Environments
The culture of a company has a big influence on the happiness and productivity of its workers. It is something that can make or break an organization, regardless of how much talent is available within the workforce.
In that regard, creating a wellness culture is something that every forward-thinking company should aim for. When done right, a culture of wellness can help employees maximize their potential while increasing their levels of job satisfaction.
Besides the obvious benefits to the company, a wellness culture is also important for the health and well-being of the employees. It is well-known that many office workers will eventually suffer from lower back pain, fatigue, and other ailments associated with maintaining a sedentary lifestyle for many years.
Encouraging employees to exercise regularly can do a lot to prevent back problems and other health issues from occurring. In addition to that, a wellness culture will have the following impact on employees:
- Promote inspiration
- Increase job satisfaction
- Reduce stress
- Create a safe and comfortable work environment
- Inspire more loyalty
9 Key Elements to Create a Culture of Well-being in Your Company
Knowing that a culture of wellness is the right way to go is one thing, but finding ways to implement it in your already hectic schedule is another. Many companies find it difficult to know where to even begin when trying to create a culture of well-being in the workplace.
However, with the right approach, you will find that taking charge of the culture for health in your office is not that difficult. To make the process easier, you can break it down into the following nine key elements, and tackle them one at a time:
1. Prioritize Employees' Mental Health
Before you consider making any wholesale changes to your workplace, think about the current mental health of your employees. This has historically been a sensitive issue to discuss at work, but that is changing. Many companies are now providing employees with programs that target mental health issues as part of the process of promoting a culture of well-being.
2. Listen to the Needs of Employees
How much do you know about what your employees need? Creating a wellness culture requires a lot more than simply buying an office/home standing desk for your workers and calling it a day. Always remember that employees are individuals with their own specific needs. Companies need to learn how to listen so that they can know what to focus on to create a healthy work environment.
3. Consider Company Values
Your company values are the foundation on which all other initiatives to promote a culture of wellness will be built. Without strong and ethical core values and beliefs, employees will resist any attempts to implement a wellness culture. Analyze every aspect of your company's values, from the leadership down to the lowest-paid workers.
4. Accept That Employees Have Lives Outside of Work
When trying to stay one step ahead of the competition in a tough business environment, many companies are willing to ignore the fact that employees have personal lives outside work that are equally important.
Showing that you recognize that employees have family and friends, and are willing to take steps to accommodate your workers’ needs when it comes to life outside work, is a major step towards creating a culture of well-being.
5. Role-model Healthy Behaviors
Implementing a culture of health and wellness in your organization should start from the top going down. That means managers and other employees in top positions should be expected to lead by example by embracing healthy behaviors. Having role models to champion your initiative will increase the chances of it being accepted by other employees.
6. Provide Flexibility at Work
One of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of implementing a culture of health in the office is having to deal with a very busy workload that does not provide employees enough time and flexibility to take care of themselves.
However, you can tackle that problem by allowing workers to work remotely and arrange their schedules, which is another thing that the Covid-19 pandemic changed. As long as your employees can meet their deadlines and maintain their productivity, you should aim for more flexibility at work, leaving room for self-care and exercise.
7. Encourage Daily Physical Activity
Does standing help you lose weight? This is one of the main questions asked by office employees thinking of buying a standing desk to help promote good health and a culture of wellness. The short answer is yes, having a sit/stand desk is a great way to encourage daily exercises which have been shown to help manage obesity among other health benefits.
On top of that, you should also encourage employees to take regular breaks and move around the workplace every chance they get. Daily activity is very important to provide a balance to the many hours employees spend seated behind their desks.
8. Create a Healthy Work Environment
How do you plan on creating a healthy work environment for your employees? While many companies are willing to say they want to promote a culture of health in the workplace, taking the necessary steps to make this happen is not always easy.
You should sit down and analyze the culture in your company so that you can address any problems that might be creating an unhealthy culture. If you discover that the menu in your cafeteria is loaded with fats and carbs, change it. Buy an ergonomic chair for any employee who spends all day seated.
It is by tackling these issues one at a time that you make real progress toward implementing lasting change and creating a healthy work environment.
9. Enlist Some Help
Finally, it is not always easy to create a wellness culture at work, especially when dealing with a very large organization, or when facing a lot of resistance from your workers due to cultural differences or low levels of education.
In such cases, it is best to seek help. There are many well-being advocates that you can hire to come and teach your employees the value of implementing and maintaining a culture of wellness at work. You can give your workers time to attend workshops or company retreats that tackle the issue head-on.
However, for such initiatives to work, you and other members of upper management have to be seen actively participating so that the culture of wellness is more easily accepted by other workers.
4 Ways Employers Can Create a Culture of Wellness
Employers have to be willing to put a lot of effort into implementing a culture of wellness within the work environment. In many cases, workplace programs that deal with physical, social, financial, and mental health are a great place to start. The following are fours ways to implement these programs:
1. Physical Health
Improving the physical health of your employees is usually the best place to start because programs that focus on this are usually easy to understand and implement. You can try to encourage a culture of health by offering employees various perks, such as gym membership allowances. Yoga sessions, fitness challenges, marathon runs or walks, group aerobics, team-building exercises, and other physical activities are also effective.
Throughout all this, be sure to remind and educate employees of the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, including how obesity increases the likelihood of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart attacks.
2. Social Health
One of the things that will determine how well your culture of health and wellness initiatives will be received, and whether employees will stick to the routines is the social health within the workplace.
If your employees can form strong relationships among themselves, they are more likely to provide the necessary support and encouragement needed to maintain a wellness culture. Consider creating employee resource groups (ERGs) to help support a diverse and inclusive culture within the workforce.
3. Financial Health
Stress due to financial difficulties is one of the biggest problems you will have to face when trying to get your employees to accept your wellness culture programs. If workers are already struggling to make ends meet, the last thing they will want is to consider gym memberships or team-building excursions.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of workers think that their employers are responsible for their financial well-being. Whether or not that is the case, this is an issue you cannot ignore if you want your workers to buy into your ideas. You could consider providing your workers access to the services of a financial advisor to help boost their financial health.
4. Mental Health
As part of your journey towards a culture of health and wellness, aim to create an environment where talking about mental health is not regarded as taboo. Encourage workers to keep tabs on each other’s emotional and psychological well-being.
Many employees suffer in silence because they feel they have no one to tell that they are battling stress and depression. Considering that they spend around 40 hours a week at work, this should be a safe place to discuss these issues.
3 Company Initiatives That Support Daily Exercise for Employees
Creating a culture of wellness requires the implementation of many company initiatives that support daily exercise for workers. Simple things, such as teaching your employees how to do standing desk exercises can go a long way. Consider doing the following for your employees:
Buy Standing Desks
When creating a culture of well-being, a smart desk can be a very important tool to have. If you buy standing desks for your workers, they will be able to work on their exercises without affecting work productivity. You can even consider additional accessories to go with the desk, such as folding treadmills.
Allow Break Times to Exercise
You need to give your workers time to implement a culture of health and wellness in the office. While doing some exercises in front of an L-shaped standing desk is a good place to start, if you want to see better results, give your workers regular breaks so that they can work on their physical health.
Have Dedicated Exercise Areas
If you have the space for it, a dedicated exercise area can be a huge benefit to your employees. Some of the bigger companies even have fully equipped gyms where employees can spend an hour or two each day working on their physical fitness and socializing with their colleagues.
If you are considering implementing a wellness culture within your organization, addressing the key elements outlined in this article is a good starting point. You will also need to invest in the right kind of ergonomic furniture to support your initiatives, and Autonomous can help with that.
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