Wellness Programs Are the New Black

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Getting fit has become a worldwide phenomenon over the past few years. It seems people all over the country have been focusing on eating healthier, exercising and staying active more than ever before—it's even become a culture at many workplaces. In fact, one-half to two-thirds of U.S. employers with 15 or more workers have instituted some type of wellness program.

Employee wellness programs offer many benefits for both the employee and the employer, including:

• Decreased absenteeism
• Enhanced productivity
• Lower insurance and workers' compensation costs
• Increased retention rates
• Enhanced employee morale
• Safer and more supportive work environment
• Improved job satisfaction

When deciding on what kind of wellness program to implement, you should first assess your workplace culture and think about what would work best for your employees.

To boost participation, explore ways to make it a fun, team-building effort for your employees. Another great way to encourage and motivate your employees to participate in the wellness program is to offer an incentive or reward.

Some examples of the biggest trends in the wellness world right now are below.

Wearables

One of the biggest trends in the wellness world right now is "wearables," i.e. FitBit. Wearables are devices that can be worn on the wrist or clipped onto clothing and monitor steps, distance, calories burned, sleep cycles, etc., and they can be synced with smartphones and computers. In this digital age, consumers are connected to their phones, tablets and other devices all the time—so why shouldn't employers take advantage of that? Assess your workforce, and determine which wellness devices or apps will get your employees engaged and motivated.

A friend of mine works for a public school system that provides its employees with pedometers to track their steps. If you reach a certain number of steps in a year, you can win up to $500.00! It seems so simple: put the pedometer in your pocket or clip it to your belt each day and in a year you could be $500.00 richer. The interesting part is the amount of steps you must reach before you can win. It motivates employees to walk more and be more active in order to reach that goal.
She told me the point of the program is to raise awareness and to make employees more conscious of their physical activity during the day. Participants can log into the system they use and it will provide them with tips on the importance of hydration, getting enough sleep, exercise, and more.

Wellness Apps

Wellness Apps are becoming increasingly popular among employers in order to increase employee engagement and motivate workers to live a more healthy and active lifestyle.

There are a plethora of apps out there to track steps, exercise habits, sleep cycles, calories burned, and even heart rate. But how does this relate to employee engagement and motivation? One app called Hotseat "uses nudges, social accountability and gameplay to create easy and fun two-minute office activity breaks. Using their smartphones, employees can select physical activities they're comfortable with and capable of completing at the office."

Wellness apps can do wonders for employee engagement and productivity. They get employees up and moving, competing for rewards, and conscious about their health. Everyone always says those who exercise regularly are more energized and productive—two characteristics that are consistently valued in the workplace.

The concept of a "work/life balance" is very important for all those in the workforce. Maintaining the right balance of work time and "me" time, i.e. focusing on one's physical/emotional well-being, can lead to increased productivity and employee satisfaction. Happy, productive employees make for a happy, productive workforce!

Does your company have a wellness program in place? If so, how has it impacted your office? For more information on incorporating a wellness program at your workplace, please do not hesitate to call us at 410.451.4202.

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Guest June 25 2017
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