Health and Wellness : Creating a Wellness Program.

Health and Wellness : Creating a Wellness Program.

Ideally, you will create an overall plan for a wellness program before starting to plan specific wellness programs. for example, you can begin by getting the following elements in place –

• support from executive management

• A wellness committee or team

• information about the wellness needs and interests of employees

• A budget

• health promotion program objectives

• An examination plan

Even if you have few financial and/or HR, you can still take a “micro” approach. for example, you may focus on only one specific issue or problem. Creativity, enthusiasm and planning can help you overcome limitations.

This article will give you some ideas for establishing up health promotion programs. Even the smallest steps can have an impact.

Whether you choose to begin with a single wellness program or create something larger, planning is essential. First think about the large picture and then look after the details.

Ask yourself these questions –

• Identify an action. What health-related health promotion program will fit the bill and best suit the personnel and organization?

• Promote. Just how can you most effectively get the word out to employees? What are the opportunities for promotion? Consider everything, because workers have access to and pay attention to different types of messages.

In a average workplace, workers get information from e-mail, newsletters, bulletins, pamphlets, meeting announcements and fellow workers.

• Deliver. Who is the best person or group to put the wellness program into action? Ask other organizations about approaches they have used. Decide on your budget before making a decision.

• Evaluate. What should you evaluate to determine success? Do you need hard data and/or testimonials from individual participants?

We recommend the following when planning your health promotion program –

• creating and communicating clear health promotion program objectives

• Targeting your audience

• deciding on the kind of wellness program or campaign

The Elements of Health Promotion Programming

Programs to promote wellness in the workplace don’t need to be restricted to a single area. You may think corporate wellness only involves promoting positive personal health, e.g., blood pressure (BP) clinics, brochures on heart illness, “lunch and learn” workshops on consuming habits and short-term physical activity programs.

These activities are important, but corporate wellness should also be part of a organization’s business strategy and go beyond traditional wellness programming.

Taking a expanded approach, the National Quality Institute recently identified three key elements of a healthful worksite –

• physical environment

• social environment and personal resources

• health practices

Specific Program Ideas

Physical Environment

Look after workers’ health and safety and establish regulations to support their health and safety. Consider providing the following –

• Safe bike storage and shower and/or change facilities for cyclists and other commuters.

• Fridges for personnel to keep snacks and meals fresh and/or healthy snacks in vending machines and cafeterias.

• Ergonomic assessments.

• Subsidies to help employees join local recreation centers.

• Classrooms/conference rooms available for booking activities such as yoga, pilates, tai chi, meditation and aerobics.

• Safe and pleasant stairwells that invite workforce to use them.

• Assessing the potential for violence at work with plans to deal with such risks.

• Good lighting and sound and air quality.

Social Environment

Human relationships and communication, as well as ways of doing organization, can affect an employee’s mental and physical health. Corporations ought to consider the following –

• respectful worksite policies that provide safe worksites

• policies on flex time

• policies on working from home

• employee satisfaction surveys

• leadership coaching

• resiliency training

• employee assistance programs

To foster a positive social culture or climate, consider employees’ needs, which include –

• being respected

• A sense of belonging, purpose and mission

• freedom of expression

• protection from harassment and discrimination

What you have “always done” might not address current worker needs. Ensuring that individuals enjoy being at work is not an easy task, but making the right changes can have a enormous impact.

Health Practices

Provide health promotion programs and set policies that help employees remain healthy or improve their health while at work. Consider offering the following –

• “Lunch and learn sessions” on healthy habits such as sleeping better, consuming on the run, healthy snacks, using a pedometer, pole walking, work-life balance, time management, stress management, resiliency, parenting and reading nutrition labels.

• Stop use of tobacco clinics or subsidies to help workforce quit.

• Health risk assessments, including fitness assessments.

• Programs to address the issues raised in the health risk appraisals.

• Healthy snacks served at meetings and conferences.

Personal Company Wellness Tips

If there is no wellness program at your workplace, don’t let that stop you from keeping healthy. Perhaps your example will spark a movement toward a healthier workplace.

Here are a few ideas to think about –

• be active at work. There are many ways to bring activity into your workday. Walk to work, even if it is just one way. Hold walking meetings. Bike to work. Use the stairs. Walk to a workmate’s office instead of sending an e-mail.

• Eat well at work. Pack a healthy snack and meal. Place a bottle of water at your desk or workstation. Eat breakfast and eat regularly during the day. Take turns bringing a basket of fruit for colleagues’ snacks. Order healthy snacks for meetings.

• Maintain work-life balance. Make sure to work efficiently so you are able to leave on time. Conduct short, effective meetings. Leave your work at work and do not take it home.

Minimize social chit-chat. Make sure to set up your office to enhance your work. Avoid clutter. Plan and prioritize to ensure that the most vital things get done first.

There’s no limit to the number or variety of health promotion programs. A key to success is planning well and ensuring that you can evaluate the results so that you can sustain momentum.

Talk to other wellness practitioners to figure out what works well for them. Listen to your peers to determine their needs and interests. And do not forget to promote, promote, promote.