Wellness in the Workplace: Laying the Groundwork
In our last blog, we discussed the importance of workplace wellness and how a balanced, healthy culture can strengthen your team and even increase profits. More and more companies are shifting their mindsets and allowing culture to drive productivity rather than the reverse. That’s because employees crave balance and a positive atmosphere, and businesses that respond to that need reap the benefits—but before you hop on the wellness bandwagon and buy Fitbits for your entire staff, there are a few things you need to know about establishing a healthy workplace.
Creating a culture of wellness that effectively improves health outcomes and bolsters morale requires intentionality and forethought. “Wellness” encompasses a broad spectrum of your employees’ lives, so without a balanced, holistic approach, you can end up wasting time, effort, and resources on initiatives that don’t help your employees or your company. But with a focused plan in place, you can change your team—and your business—forever.
We’ll offer concrete tips to kick off your plan in part three of this series, but first, here’s how to lay the groundwork for a wellness-focused practice:
Address all Aspects of Wellness
Workplace wellness doesn’t only apply to your employees’ physical wellbeing—it applies to their mental, emotional, and spiritual health too. These aspects of wellness affect and complement each other, so it’s important not to get “wellness tunnel vision.” By focusing only on physical health, for instance, you could unintentionally neglect the equally important component of your employees’ mental wellbeing. And because mental health affects physical health and vice versa, you want to give each aspect of wellness the support it deserves.
As you think about how to incorporate wellness into your practice, consider how you can address all aspects of your employees’ health, not just their physical wellbeing.
Don’t Ignore Spiritual Health
This one can be tricky, especially if your team members have very diverse beliefs. You might prefer to leave spiritual health off the table entirely, but fostering spiritual growth is an incredible way to strengthen your team and boost employee morale. At LMG, we pray for and with our employees, and we share resources we think are helpful for mental and emotional development.
The goal is to strengthen and support your team, so it could be as simple as allowing people space and time to practice their beliefs as they see fit. Ultimately, you know what will and won’t work for your team, but I’d encourage you not to overlook this vital aspect of your employees’ wellness.
If you’d like to learn more about fostering all aspects of wellness, check out The Art of Energy Management and Understanding Your Four Forms of Energy from leadership guru and Life Church pastor Craig Groeschel.
Begin with Purpose: Team Discovery
“Well, great advice,” you might say, “But how do I find that perfect balance between mental, physical, and emotional health?”
Start with fact-finding, just like you do with clients.
Consider conducting an anonymous employee wellness survey—you don’t have to get too personal, but you want to gain an understanding of how you can best help your employees improve various aspects of their health. This will help you determine where you should place the most effort when developing a wellness program.
Ask questions like:
- What prevents you from making healthy choices during the day (lack of time, stress, access to exercise equipment, access to healthy foods, etc.)?
- How would you rank your stress level on an average work week (1-10)?
- What motivates you to be healthy (feeling good, being there for family, looking good, monetary incentives)?
These kinds of questions will help you understand where your employees struggle, how you can help, and what motivates them (which is especially helpful if you decide to implement a wellness challenge of some sort).
You might find that your employees need help addressing stress more than they do curbing unhealthy eating habits, or want resources to develop their confidence more than their exercise routine—but you won’t know unless you ask. That’s why when you’re determining where to focus your workplace wellness efforts, it’s a good idea to first get feedback from your team.
Quick Tips: Make the Most of Your Wellness Efforts
Here are some additional ways to ensure your wellness initiatives are focused and effective:
- Set a Budget: Just like any important aspect of your business, “wellness” should have its own line item. Granted, it doesn’t have to be a large amount (there are tons of free ways to foster employee wellness), but you should know ahead of time what you’re willing to spend—that’ll help you determine what kind of initiatives to implement and how often.
- Appoint a Wellness Champion: Everyone is busy, and as the business owner, spearheading wellness initiatives probably isn’t a top priority for you. Finding someone on your team who’s passionate about wellness to handle the logistics of your program can take a load off your plate and foster better engagement. (Pro tip: ask for volunteers in your initial wellness survey.) The key is to find someone who’s excited to help in this area, rather than someone who might view it as a burden. Otherwise, it’ll have the opposite effect that you intend. If you find the right team member who has creative ideas they want to share, they’ll enjoy this new responsibility rather than resent it.
- Know Your Team: To get the most engagement and benefit, make sure the competitions and rewards you offer resonate with your team. This, again, is insight you can leverage from a survey, but if you know your team members’ personalities, you should have a general idea of the things they’d enjoy. For example, if your firm consists of more experienced professionals, they might not get excited about a zombie fitness challenge they track with their smartphone. They might, however, appreciate a fitness club membership that allows them to try new sports with their spouse or kids.
- Be an Example: It’s one thing to encourage walking breaks or healthy lunches, but if you as the business owner don’t practice what you preach, it’s very unlikely your team will. So if you set the bar high or offer enticing perks, be willing to reach for those goals or use those benefits yourself.
Take the Next Step
Are you ready? Wellness is incredibly important to the health of your business, and the great thing is, it’s fun, too! Our yearly fitness challenge and regular Character Development meetings bring us closer together as a team, and they give us something to look forward to during stressful seasons.
For concrete ways to incorporate wellness in your practice, check out part three of this series, Wellness in the Workplace: Practical Tips for Busy Businesses.