Ian Clayton is the Senior Learning Facilitator at Torrens University for Health and Wellbeing. Ian has over 13 years of experience in health and wellbeing and sports industries.
Why Does Corporate Health & Wellness Matter?
Recent findings show that one third of corporate Australians suffer from some form of mental health concern, of which 36% suffer from depression, 33% from anxiety and 31% from stress. This is a dramatic increase, especially when comparing to 2007 figures which showed 14.4% suffering from anxiety and 6.2% from depression. This study was conducted by Medibio, using 3,500 employees across 41 organisations.
In 2017, a staggering $164 billion price tag for poor physical and mental health was showcased by the Sydney Morning Herald. Since we spend on average a third of our lives at work, it’s crucial for organisations to provide the best environment for their staff.
Health and Wellness programs can benefit employers by:
- Reducing absenteeism
- Reducing sick days disguised as stress leave
- Lowering health care and economic costs
- Achieving higher employee productivity
- Reducing workers’ compensation and disability-related costs
- Reducing injuries
- Improving employee morale
- Improving employee retention and loyalty
Here are some tips on how you can establish a Wellness Program in your organisation:
1. Block out a meeting room for 10 minutes meditation break (Try the 10 @ 10:00 am)
When we take time during the busy workday to stop, breathe and focus on the present moment, stress loses its intensity. This is especially important in this fast moving, technology-obsessed society. All you need is 10 minutes to sit quietly in a room. Not only will employee performance improve, but several studies have shown that regular meditation can also reduce stress and anxiety.
2. Provide mental and physical health education
Invite experts in the health and wellness field to come in for a 30-minute lunch break and talk about nutrition. For example, set up a lunch and learn. This can also be in the form of seminars, articles, or e-mail health tips to all employees.
3. Introduce fitness tracking competitions
The best way to enhance group camaraderie and promote physical health is with a fitness competition. If many people live on the outskirts of the city, why not develop a bike riding competition? Or, you could also try a Fitbit challenge, the person with the most steps for that month wins! Gamification is the new buzzword in Health.
4. Develop at-desk workouts
An Australian study found the more time you spend sitting during the day, the higher your mortality risk soars. Encourage people to take regular breaks, do some desk workouts or have more walking meetings.
5. Support healthy eating
To get people eating healthier, add some healthier options to the vending-machine items. Or organise a healthy potluck to celebrate monthly birthdays.
6. Provide discounted gym memberships or fitness activities
Many gyms would love the chance to work with a large company. This acts as a win/win for both parties. There is simply no excuse for an employee if they get a free gym membership, or even one at a discounted rate. The payback for employers will come back tenfold!
7. Encourage each-other
As much as developing a health and wellness strategy is important, the small daily gestures add up in the long run. Being encouraging and compassionate towards your colleagues, especially in times of intense stress, fosters a healthier workplace. Support each other, recognise your colleague’s efforts and congratulate them.