When you say health and wellness for employees, you think of gym memberships, salad-filled lunch breaks, and perhaps the occasional ergonomic workshop.
While these initiatives have certainly promoted employee wellbeing, the recent global and economic problems, most notably the COVID-19 pandemic, have introduced new employee challenges. A surge in mental health issues, elevated stress levels, and an evolving definition of work-life balance now mark the workplace.
Because of employees’ evolving needs, continuing traditional wellness practices of the past might no longer suffice. Now, more than ever, companies require dynamic and unconventional methods to effectively support their employees’ wellbeing.
In this article, we will share four unique health and wellness tips for employees to help you craft new and fresh wellness programs for your employees.
The four unconventional employee health and wellness tips:
With hybrid setups emerging as the future of the workforce, organizations are challenged to re-strategize their wellness programs to keep their employees happy and engaged. It’s time to bring out-of-the-box ideas to your traditional wellness programs to foster resilience, wellbeing, and a renewed sense of purpose among employees.
These innovative programs can deliver a range of benefits:
- Reduced healthcare costs
- Increased employee satisfaction
- Increased employee engagement
- Boosted productivity and creativity
- Stronger employee loyalty
- Nurtured sense of community
- Improved teamwork
To help you start, here are four unconventional health and wellness tips for employees that you can consider:
1. Organize unique health and wellness workshops
According to a report from Spill, an organization dedicated to employee mental wellbeing, 52% of employees felt that mental health support within their workplace was inadequate.
A workshop can help employees acquire new skills or knowledge to address issues or challenges they have raised. When organizing workshops, it’s crucial to keep the activity interesting for your employees and identify wellness-related goals when creating a theme for your workshop.
Here are some workshop ideas:
- Workshops on mindful eating. Educate your employees about the importance of holistic wellbeing and how nourishment can help achieve it. For example, you can tap a nutritionist to talk about mindful eating to help employees manage their “emotional eating” tendencies and create a better relationship with food while getting more in touch with their emotions.
- Sound therapy sessions. Music has been used to heal the body, mind, and spirit for many years. You can introduce sound therapy to combat burnout and help employees take a break from work-related stress. During these sessions, they can relax while listening to specific sound frequencies, often made by instruments like gongs or singing bowls.
- Gratitude journals. Teaching and encouraging employees to maintain a gratitude journal is a great way to help them seek ways to be more inspired and appreciate where they are. Workshops can be used as a platform to teach employees how to do it and, more importantly, give them a platform to share and encourage one another.
Create an evaluation form for each workshop so you can get feedback from your employees on the session’s highlights and lowlights and identify ways to improve your workshop activities.
2. Immerse employees in nature retreats
With the rise of remote work, employees can feel disconnected from their organization’s values and culture. Give your employees a change of scenery by planning company retreats where they can participate in outdoor activities that nurture teamwork while basking in the beauty of nature.
According to Stanford Professor Dr. Katie Curhan, Ed. D., there’s solid evidence that connecting with nature can boost overall wellbeing and productivity. Some documented benefits include reduced stress and better cognitive performance.
Allowing employees to stay in touch with nature can help boost their energy, getting them recharged and ready back at work. And dowing so in the format of an employee retreat can infuse their work production with the positive influence of nature and deeper friendships.
3. Encourage your employees to participate in an ‘adopt a plant’ program
Having plants in the office is not just about adding a touch of aesthetics—it can enhance employee wellbeing and creativity. The Netherlands-based research agency Motivaction found that 63% of employees noted that having plants in the office can improve their work environment.
Set up an ‘adopt a plant’ program where employees can choose a plant for their workspace. As they take on the role of plant parents, they care for their adopted flora and experience the therapeutic effects of nurturing a living thing.
To ensure they stay engaged and motivated while keeping their plants healthy, it’s possibel to organize a workshop and set up regular check-ins so employees are enjoy the process.
4. Leverage technology to improve employees’ health
Technology plays a vital role within organizations, serving various purposes, from communication tools to system establishment. You can use technology to improve employee wellbeing in the following ways:
- Strengthening remote collaboration with tech solutions
Working remotely has its perks, but—if not managed properly and for certain personality types—it can feel like working in solitary confinement. With various collaboration options—from video calls to team chats—your remote team can stay connected, see the bigger picture, and know how valued they are.
- Automating tasks
Streamlining operations through automation frees employees from time-consuming manual tasks. From invoicing to marketing, automation can tackle various processes, allowing your team to focus on more fulfilling and impactful work that contributes to personal growth and business success.
- Onboarding employees with health apps
In their 2021 Health and Benefits Leadership Conference, Human Resource Executives (HRE) stated that 49% don’t understand their health benefits coverage. Thus, they’re not getting the most out of their benefits. While addressing individual benefit inquiries is doable for an HR manager, it’s not a sustainable solution in the long run.
An AI-driven app like Healthee can help simplify employees’ healthcare navigation, saving you hours on employee assistance and administrative costs. Plus, your team gains more control over their health and wellbeing journey.
Getting the C-suite on board
So, you’ve got everything laid out for your new health and wellness programs. But here comes the challenge—getting the executives on board with your ideas. Convincing senior leaders can be challenging, especially if your proposed program veers from traditional wellness initiatives.
To help you successfully navigate this crucial step, here are some strategies to gain executive buy-in for your wellness programs:
Understand business objectives
Even good ideas can be disregarded if executives don’t see how the plans will help achieve the business’s goals. When presenting your wellness program, consider key business outcomes they will support.
For example, highlight how much money the company can save in the long run when effective wellness programs are in place. A report from the Integrated Benefits Institute indicates that unwell employees can cost employers $575 billion a year. Integrating wellness programs in the current health care of employees is a great way to reduce costs.
Present employee insights
Numbers should back all your wellness ideas. Employee surveys are a great way to highlight pain points, and industry reports can show the demand for wellness programs to keep up with the competition. Try reiterating the benefits of a wellness program with actual proof through case studies and meaningful data. Then, tie it back into the company’s needs.
Create proof points within the organization
Don’t be afraid to start small! If you want to win executives over, you can start by running a pilot program on a smaller scale and presenting its results. For example, try starting with offering a small workshop to a limited group of employees and garner positive feedback that you can show as a success metric.
With workplace wellness practices constantly shifting, taking a proactive and creative approach is the key to tailoring effective programs that yield optimal business outcomes. Since there is no one-size-fits-all for executing wellness programs, you can start putting these unique employee wellness tips together to keep employees engaged and motivated to use their health benefits to the fullest.
An AI-driven app like Healthee allows you to streamline your wellness programs, taking the load off your hands while empowering them to make the best decisions for their health and wellbeing. Healthee is a transformative healthcare navigation solution for employees. With its virtual assistant, Zoe, it provides real-time answers on health coverage and treatment options. This tool not only streamlines healthcare queries but also empowers employees with proactive health insights.
Book a demo to learn how Healthee can be a game-changer for your company’s health benefits offerings.