June is National Employee Wellness Month
National Employee Wellness Month was initiated over 10 years ago to highlight the importance of having a healthy workforce and organizational culture. Observed every June, it encourages employers and employees to work together to adopt healthier habits imperative for personal and professional development.
One of the top challenges facing employees and their health is chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and mental health disorders. Chronic disease along with financial stress and psychological stressors impact worker’s ability to complete their day-to-day tasks and promote absenteeism and presenteeism. The cost associated with this is monumental for employers.
Adopting a wellness program comprised of physical activity, a healthy diet, workplace connections, financial awareness, etc., can lead to increased productivity, higher engagement levels, and a healthier, happier more robust work culture. There are many things that organizations can do to support employee wellness. For example, the JPIA has had an internal employee wellness committee for over 20 years! The success of this committee would not be possible without support from the JPIA senior leadership team. Support is more than saying you will do something. Support is having an active involvement in each wellness initiative and providing the resources to see it through to fruition.
Below are some simple tips from the JPIA wellness committee to help reinforce wellness in your workplace:
- Provide wellness information regularly. Email a wellness article monthly to all staff, include an article in your employee newsletter, or post it in the office breakroom. With an employer-sponsored wellness article, you can provide targeted health education and resources needed by your employees and put health at the forefront of their priority list.
- Create a challenge. Step challenges are an easy way for all employees to participate. 10,000 steps are equivalent to about five miles. See who can reach this goal first via step-tracking apps or a smartwatch. Employees who are physically active have lower healthcare costs, require less sick leave, and are more productive at work.
- Educate on financial wellness. Reach out to your local financial institutions and ask an expert to come and speak on the importance of saving for retirement, consolidating debt, or creating a trust. Investing in financial wellness boosts the overall well-being of employees, increasing their health, productivity, and engagement.
- Encourage socializing. Food brings everyone together. Have a potluck to celebrate things such as the Super Bowl. Allow staff to wear their favorite sports jersey, including games such as who can throw the football the farthest or have a football-themed word search. Socializing with coworkers helps strengthen the quality of workplace relationships. Strong relationships enable the team to work better together. Coworkers who communicate well about non-work matters are more likely to collaborate on work effectively.
- Think outside the box. April is national humor month. Encourage staff to post funny jokes on a communal board and provide a prize for the funniest one. Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress.
However you choose to promote wellness, just remember a healthier workforce is a more productive one.
Written by: Cassie Crittenden, HR Specialist, and Dan Steele, Finance Manager