Following the perennial cycle of holiday celebration and overindulgence, it is a new year – a time for many of us to make resolutions, often focused on living a healthier lifestyle. As individuals, we commit to these changes. How much easier would it be if we were supported in the place where we spend 40 or more hours a week?
As employers, we should resolve to support the wellness of our employees, a goal that isn’t limited to large employers with personal fitness centers and on-site health coaches. It’s a way of life that employers of all sizes can embrace in unique, company-specific ways that work.
With a new year upon us, follow these simple tips to help establish or strengthen your organization’s commitment to wellness:
• Get leadership support from all levels. Organizations that have support from leaders at all levels, who understand the importance of wellness and are committed to it, experience the best health outcomes.
• Develop a strategic wellness plan with timelines, goals and objectives, then stick to it! Treat this plan in the same manner as you would a business plan, and it will help you stay on track.
• Communicate to your employees. Research shows this yields the best outcomes and return on investment. Discuss the benefits of a wellness program for both employees and the organization, explain why you are investing in wellness and highlight available resources and programs.
• Offer targeted wellness programs. Ask employees about the changes they would like to make. Work with your health plan and other business partners to identify top health risks and target your efforts.
• Create a culture of health. Find ways to build wellness into the workday; install a bulletin board in a common space with healthy recipes. Or create a walking path that includes the stairwells in your building. This will make a difference in employees’ work habits, attendance, performance and your company’s bottom line.
Healthy prompts, including suggestions and reminders on the health benefits of taking the stairs or the damaging effects of excessive sitting periods, may give your employees the nudge they need to embrace workplace wellness. •
Anne Marie Ludovici-Connolly is the director of health, wellness and productivity for Tufts Health Plan.