Health and wellness are often taboo subjects around the office. While coworkers will certainly complain to one another about common issues like aches and pains, it’s not at all kosher for a supervisor to talk to employees about the dangers of smoking or the potential health problems associated with obesity. The majority of people would consider this type of conversation as prying into their personal affairs, and they would almost certainly accuse the offending supervisor of overstepping the bounds of socially acceptable workplace behavior. And yet, there are many things that companies can do to encourage their employees to adopt healthy habits within their lives, without necessarily coming right out and saying that employees need to get with the program and attend to their own health and wellness. Here are just a few tips for concerned employers looking to help.
- Provide benefits. The number one way to encourage health and wellness amongst staffers is by providing them with medical benefits. This will allow for annual or semi-annual check-ups that ensure preventive steps will be taken, including oral cleaning, eye exams, and hopefully physicals. When insurance is footing the bill for these services, a lot more people are likely to take advantage of them, for themselves and their families.
- Use an incentive program. Although controversial, incentive programs related to health services are an effective way to get employees to consider their own health and wellness. They work thusly: employees that submit to annual physicals and come out with a clean bill of health save the company money on insurance, and these savings get passed along to said employees, lowering the amount they pay for their portion of coverage. Employees that are willing to quit smoking, lose weight, or otherwise improve their health may also be entitled to such savings. But those that refuse will end up paying the price, literally.
- Limit overtime. When employees are on the premises around the clock, it’s no wonder they don’t have time to exercise or prepare healthy meals. By limiting the amount of overtime any employee can work you can give them back the time required to see to their health and wellness needs. Of course, there’s no guarantee that they’ll do so, but at least they might get more sleep and reduce their stress levels, both of which contribute to improved overall health.
- Install an on-site gym and cafeteria. Employees may not be keen to slog down to the nearest gym or seek out healthy eating options nearby, but when these services are available on-site the excuses start to dwindle. So think about installing a gym facility complete with cardio and weight training options and add a cafeteria that serves fresh, organic, and/or locally-sourced foodstuffs. You can’t force employees to eat right or exercise, but you can give them every opportunity to do so.
- Host mandatory seminars. If you’re truly concerned about the health status of your workforce, you can do more than provide gym memberships or send them to the bariatric store. You can offer them information that will help them to make healthy choices by hosting mandatory seminars at your facility with lectures by experts on nutrition, physical activity, addiction, and more. They may or may not apply to everyone, but those who have health issues will get the data they need to make changes, and their coworkers might just be prompted to speak to them about addressing potential health problems.