Company Wellness Program Ideas

Corporate wellness programs reduce absenteeism, short and long term disability, and prescription drug use, and increase productivity. Here are some ideas for establishing worker wellness through nutrition, exercise, and workplace culture.

* Adapted from “Public Health: Grey Bruce Health Unit

Worker Wellness (nutrition and exercise)

  • Build on-site gyms or outsource fitness programs (partner with a company like GoodLife)
  • Hold health and safety fairs, lunch and learn education
  • Offer stress management and relaxation training, mental health programs, substance abuse programs including smoking cessation
  • Organize team challenges, fitness breaks, walking clubs, stretching classes, and onsite yoga
  • Put together corporate sport teams (soccer, volleyball, hockey, etc.)
  • Offer on-site medical services including health risk screening and counseling
  • Have programs for childcare, elder care
  • Have personal, family, and financial counseling
  • Nutrition counselling and weight control programs
  • Promote alternative work arrangements such as telecommuting, job sharing
  • Stress the importance of healthy snacks and lunches to increase focus, creativity and energy.
  • Add juice dispensing machines and water coolers and vending machines with low-calorie snack choices
  • Encourage caffeine-cutbacks and water increases
  • Work with naturopaths, homeopaths, and promote herbal remedies and vitamins

Work Culture Wellness

  • Make work demands and expectations realistic and clear
  • Provide flexibility around work
  • Increase employees’ sense of control
  • Focus on creating a more supportive work environment
  • Give positive feedback
  • Practice two-way communication
  • Show respect
  • Focus on output – not hours
  • Demonstrate consistency
  • Coach and mentor employees
  • Encourage participation in decision-making
  • Encourage workers to voice concerns and make suggestions – and then listen
  • Establish and maintain trust
  • Demonstrate fairness
  • Support work/life/family balance with policies, practices, and culture
  • Measure employee satisfaction regularly and act on results
  • Develop incentive and recognition programs

Also – never underestimate the power of a good boss. The Industrial Accident Prevention Association cites various studies which reveal that employees with ‘supportive managers’ report significantly higher job satisfaction, trust levels, and commitment to the organization. In essence, having a supportive manager reduces employees’ perception of stress and allows them to manage work-life conflicts better.

‘Wellness’ must be seen as a priority in the organization; it’s essential for managers to model this positive behaviour. Keep in mind, though, that partaking in health promotion programs should always be voluntary and incentives should not put pressure on workers to change aspects of their lives they’re not ready to change.

Additional Resources for Corporate Wellness Programs:

National Quality Institute

Health Canada

The Canadian Healthy Workplace Council

Industrial Accident Prevention Association

The Canadian Institute of Stress