Setting Up a Wellness Program at Your Workplace
As a leading supplier of height adjustable standing desks, MultiTable.com is at the forefront of the healthy workplace movement. As part of our commitment to workplace wellness, we travel to events around the country designed to honor employers who have demonstrated a commitment to employee health and educate people about healthy workplaces.
In late September, we attended a “Healthy Employers Expo” in Seattle. While we were there we had a chance to interact with companies from the Pacific Northwest, learning about the benefits of increasing workplace wellness. One of those companies, Portland-based Leatherman Tool Group, Inc., recently purchased height adjustable desks for their offices. Nick Meyers, Safety Engineer at Leatherman, was one of the lucky winners who walked away with a new MultiTable standing desk in a drawing we held during the Expo. Attesting to the versatility of MultiTable desks, he decided to use his prize at home. “It just so happened that the only space we had open in our tiny apartment to put the desk was in the kitchen. It has become the exclusive surface we use for meal prep because we can dial in the height to our needs,” he said.
According to a just-released 2015 survey of almost 2,000 firms by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 49 percent of companies with fewer than 200 employees offer wellness programs compared with 81 percent of larger businesses. Those figures, combined with the success of the recent event in Seattle, inspired us to do some research into the best practices for companies looking to set up their own workplace wellness programs. There are several advantages for businesses to do so, including reduced healthcare costs, increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and higher employee morale. If you’re ready to take your commitment to employee health and wellness to the next level, the non-profit Wellness Council of America has a list of best practices for setting up a program for your workplace.
Make sure you have senior-level support. Dedication from those at the top level of your organization is crucial to the success of any healthy workplace program. Your employees must see a level of sincere commitment that inspires them to get on board. This includes making sure there is sufficient funding available to ensure the wellness initiative will be successful, and will be given sufficient time to work.
Create a wellness team. Solicit people who represent a cross-section of people from all levels of your organization who will encourage company-wide participation, making sure the program is responsive to the needs of those who take part. Team members then set, implement and evaluate goals for the wellness initiative.
Gather data. Once management is on board and your team is in place, you should gather baseline data to help guide you in creating your program. For example, you could take a survey to gauge employee interest and conduct health risk assessments (HRAs) to measure the risk of disease for employees. It is very important that you follow HIPAA and GINA guidelines while conducting an HRA. If you have fewer than 50 employees, you’re prohibited from receiving an aggregate report of HRA results. If your company is small, you can use an outside vendor or get creative. For example, you can pool your company’s employee data with that of similar companies, such as businesses in the same office park.
Develop an annual operating plan. This should include a mission statement as well as specific, measurable objectives and goals. This is vital to holding your wellness team accountable to the goals and timelines you’ve established.
Foster a supportive environment. This encourages employees to take an active role in creating a healthy workplace, incentivizing them to take part while also rewarding active participation. For example, offer gift certificates to those who lose the most weight in a specified time, or quit smoking.
Is it worth it for your organization to invest in a wellness program? The results of a study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion found an impressive ROI:
If you’d like to see your company reap the benefits of providing a healthier workplace, we suggest you develop your own workplace wellness program. We hope you’ll consider making height adjustable standing desks an integral part of that plan, to learn how, and perhaps we’ll see you soon at a healthy workplace event near you!