This week wraps up our three part series on Employee Wellness Programs.  We will be reviewing the impact that Social Wellness has on employee productivity, happiness and health. 

Social Wellness is defined as an individual’s multidimensional state of positiveness, which is demonstrated through the individuals quality of life and overall sense of well-being. Social Wellness is achieved through maintaining positive relationships with yourself, your community, your friends and your family – it is essentially your ability to feel like you belong.   

For many people, balancing work, family, community activities and social commitments becomes daunting, exhausting and difficult.  With the constant buzz of technology and mile-a-minute pace in the world we live in, maintaining positive relationships with yourself, community, family and friends is more important than ever.  Research has shown that those who are socially isolated have a higher mortality rate and are more prone to illness than their social counterparts. 

To help your employees achieve heightened states of social wellness, implement activities and policies that support harmonizing and socializing with each other while impacting your community.  By feeling engaged and connected, people have an amplified sense of self worth and accountability, resulting in having employees who are invested, which drives increased productivity.

It’s important to consider different personality types when implementing activities and policies that target improving social wellness.  Here are a few suggestions for how you can engage your employees:

  1. Host a regular company event that allows employees to socialize and unwind, such as dinner or appetizers after work.   When it’s on the calendar, people can look forward to it and plan for it rather than feel like they need to cram it in last minute.
  2. Get involved.  Sign your company up for various community events, such as hosting a tour for students, fundraising for a cause or volunteering at a soup kitchen. Make sure to choose different types of events to cater to the varying interests of your group and again, plan in advance so more employees can join you! 
  3. Get a team together – whether it’s for a club sport, running group or a trivia team, being part of a team improves social wellness and allows your employees to interact and bond outside of the office.

Happy employees equal happy employers! The Web site Definition of Wellness has a great self-assessment for evaluating your own personal level of Social Wellness as well! 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our series on building an Employee Wellness Program (EWP) which includes Physical Wellness, Mental Wellness and Social Wellness. For more information or questions about your Employee Wellness Program, contact our HR Consultants at HR Shield. If you don’t currently have an Employee Wellness Program, we can also help you initiate one!

Welcome back to Part 2 of our series on Developing an Employee Wellness Program!  After discussing how to incorporate Physical Wellness into your program, we’re now addressing the impact of Mental Health & Wellness on employee happiness and productivity.

It has been estimated that up to 90% of chronic and acute illness is triggered and/or worsened by stress.    The article Understanding Stress provides great insight into identifying what triggers a stress response, the positive and negative impacts of stress and how it can be managed to avoid further physical and mental health issues.

So how can you help your employees manage stress and other mental health issues?managing employee stress

1.  Eliminate Negative Stigmas around mental health challenges.  Oftentimes employees let mental health issues go untreated because they are concerned that admission of having issues could be viewed as incompetent.  It is up to you to foster a culture where your employees feel comfortable seeking the treatment they need.

2.  Provide Resources to help your employees manage stress and address mental health issues. Through many Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), which we will elaborate on in the near future, employees gain the opportunity to seek mental health counseling at no charge for a specified number of sessions.  Often financial constraints can hinder employees from seeking the help they need.  Have a resource library that employees can tap into for stress busting techniques and educational resources to learn how to react to stress.  Whether counseling is provided in a formal EAP, or information is simply provided to employees through a resource library, employees with personal problems will appreciate getting help for themselves, and maybe even members of their household.

3.  Foster Work/Life Balance.  In today’s world we are constantly communicating and being stimulated by information, be it work email or Facebook notifications we often lose the ability to decompress.  Encourage your employees to use their vacation time (and actually TAKE the time off), to stop working through lunch, and to spend time socializing and decompressing. Here at the HR Shield office, we encourage employees to post extracurricular community or volunteer opportunities of interest on an event board. This allows all employees to take a break from their routine 9-5, and socialize and give back to the community as a group outside of the office.

When you have a clear mind you are happier, more productive and more creative – all qualities that corporations desire for their employees.  Hosting a monthly or quarterly event that includes some form of stress relief or is focused on mental health is also a great way to engage employees and remove the aforementioned “taboo”!

Join us next week for the final part of our series: Social Wellness. If you have any questions in the meantime, contact our team at HR Shield!

 

 

 

Last week we introduced Employee Wellness Programs (EWPs), and as promised we will be diving into the three components (Physical, Mental, Social) and providing insight into how to develop a well-rounded program for your employees.  The first element we are addressing is Physical Wellness – encompassing physical fitness and nutrition.

The 3 Most Important elements of a Physical Wellness Program

  • Nutrition – If you have in-house dining options, make an effort to change the offerings to be healthy and fresh foods, rather than processed fare.  Offer resources to educate your employees about their food choices – a quarterly seminar with a nutritionist or suggesting websites like My Fitness Pal or Lose It to track food choices are great ways to empower your employees to make the right choicesEmployee wellness
  • Physical Fitness – If you have the capacity, provide a physical fitness facility on-site.  If you do not, seek partnerships with local gyms or offer to reimburse your employees for their memberships.  Be sure to vary with what you offer – for example, offering Olympic weight lifting to cater to the men, or Zumba for the women.  With more options to choose from, more employees will want to get involved!
  • Accountability & Motivation – The biggest challenge when making a lifestyle change is maintaining consistency.  Continuously motivate your employees to participate – incentives can help, but ultimately you want this to be an intrinsic decision to get fit so it sticks.  Encourage your employees to partner up or create “fitness teams” who keep each other motivated and accountable to one another.

The physical health of your employees is directly correlated to insurance costs – the healthier your employees, the lower the costs.  By fostering an environment where physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices are encouraged and the resources to make these choices are provided you empower your employees to become healthier.

Wellness Proposals is a fantastic resource to share with your employees – providing educational content around Nutrition, Health and Physical Fitness.   Stay tuned for part 2 of the series – addressing Mental Health & Wellness! If you have any questions about Physical Wellness Programs and initiating one within your working environment, contact us today to help you get started!

What is an Employee Wellness Program? Do you currently have one? Employee Wellness Programs (EWPs) reduce employee insurance costs, improve office morale, and create an overall healthier and happier working environment.

Wellness Programs used to be considered a “value add” not a “need to have” but recent skyrocketing health care costs, economic challenges and research supporting the value of such initiatives has caused a jump in the number of companies offering these programs.  As these programs become the norm, it is important to understand how and why your company should get engaged.  We found an article that provides a great summary of the Top 10 Reasons to Implement an Employee Wellness Program.

Whether you are designing your program organically or seeking a vendor to provide a comprehensive EWP, the bottom line benefits of incorporating this initiative into your corporate culture are significant.  According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, $6 in healthcare savings were achieved for each dollar invested in a wellness intervention program.   The return on investment is there – the question now is how do you implement an EWP that maximizes the return for your company.

While planning and designing your EWP, there are three key areas to address:  Physical Wellness, Mental Wellness, and Social Wellness.   In a previous post, Too Much Work, Not Enough Play?, we discussed how important work/life balance is to employee health, happiness and productivity.  By investing in a program that empowers employees to improve each of the wellness areas, you are laying the foundation for long term success and savings.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to provide our expert HR advice, and we will be doing a deep dive into each of the three wellness areas to understand what makes a strong program and how each focus impacts your employees.  Stay tuned!

For more HR Management Best Practices, or to get started on an Employee Wellness program sooner rather than later, call the HR professionals at HR Shield, (813) 251-3181.