Wellness is a trend that's not going away, and for good reason. When your employees are consciously making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life, they perform better, are more motivated, and boost the overall morale of the company. It's more than salt lamps and motivational Instagram quotes. In fact, it's something that I have personally made a goal to work on in 2019.
It's clear wellness is the real deal. But a problem arises when wellness is the exclusive onus of employees, and employers do little to nothing to provide resources and encourage their employees to make wellness a priority, both on and off the clock.
Now if you're like me, you're probably thinking something akin to "hey, wait a minute -- I barely have the budget to cover my essentials, why the heck would I spring for an entire wellness program"? Well, here's the kicker -- wellness programs actually do amazing things to your bottom line.
Harvard Business Review reported that, on average, employers who invested in health and wellness initiatives saw $6 in healthcare savings for every dollar invested. Take that to your budget meeting!
So what exactly does workplace wellness look like? Here are four workplace wellness trends in 2019 that you should definitely be paying attention to in the new year.
Encouraging Employees to Disconnect
Let's be honest, some days we spend more time on our phones than with our significant others. And if an employee wants to answer urgent emails on their commute home or after they put their kids to bed, why should we, as their employer, intervene?
The answer is simple: having a separate work and personal life is crucial to maintaining balance and keeping your employees focused when they come back to work.
It may seem like a brilliant idea to encourage people to be available for clients 24/7, but the reality is that it significantly increases the risk of employee burnout. Instead, encourage your employees to disconnect from their work devices after 5pm. It could be a hard cord to cut, but trust me -- it's worth it.
Making Healthy Snacks Available in the Office
Convenience is a big motivator when it comes to making healthy decisions, so making healthy snacks available as an alternative to that tempting vending machine (super guilty of 3pm Snickers bars over here!) is a great way to encourage wellness in your office. We recently decided to have KIND bars and fresh fruit available in our pantry, and the response has been phenomenal.
But if your budget doesn't account for adding healthy communal snacks to the kitchen, consider making other healthy food swaps -- for instance, try having healthy catered lunches for office parties instead of greasy extra-large pizzas. Just start somewhere.
Investing in Flexibility
Flexible employment isn't new, and it isn't going away any time soon. If the nature of your work allows for it, consider giving your employees options that work for their lifestyle -- whether it's coming into the office an hour later so that they can drop off their dog at doggy daycare or having them work from home one day a week to ease the headache of their 1.5 hour commute.
Changes like these affect the company very little, but they can make a world of difference to your staff -- plus, it can significantly affect your company's employee retention rate. When people like where they work, they stay longer. There's simply no arguing it.
Switching to Ergonomic and Wellness-Focused Work Stations
I don't want to be the one to say sitting is the new smoking, but sitting is the new smoking. One easy way to promote wellness in the office is to invest a tiny bit of capital into making your employees' work stations more comfortable and pleasant.
This is the time to stifle your inner bargain hunter and avoid cheap plastic office chairs just because they are on clearance. Invest in back-support. Make an effort to provide natural lighting whenever possible. Buy office plants. Consider making the switch to convertible standing desks.
Small changes like these, when added together, can truly make all the difference in upgrading your office culture and promoting a wellness-focused office.