Sample Wellness Strategies
Wellness strategies can be easily implemented in any workplace. Strategies can include policies, programs, worksite improvements or a combination of all of these. Strategies should focus on nutrition, physical activity, tobacco and mental health.
Good nutrition can help lower the risk of many chronic diseases. Healthy eating includes a variety of foods like fruit, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. It also includes watching portion sizes and limiting salt, sugar and saturated fat.
A healthy diet can:
- Promote weight management and reduce the risk of obesity
- Reduce the risk of developing high cholesterol
- Reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
- Reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure
By making healthy food choices, like fruits and vegetables, available to employees they are able to make healthy choices at work which will benefit their health.
Sample nutrition policies
Healthy Meetings: Develop a healthy meetings policy to provide healthy food options throughout the workday. It is a simple way to promote the idea of mindful eating to employees.
Healthy Vending: Support healthier choices by providing nutritious food and beverage options through vending machines.
Breastfeeding Program: Provide lactation support in the workplace to new moms.
Sample nutrition programs
Nutrition Education Classes: Partner with local organizations to offer nutrition educations classes (i.e. how to read a nutrition label, dietary guidelines, etc.). For more information on local offerings, contact us.
Healthy Snacks: To promote healthy eating, stock kitchens/break areas with more nutritious options, such as fruits, vegetables, snacks with whole grains, healthy fats and protein.
Provide Dietitian Services: Partner with a local dietitian to offer employees resources and support to make long-term nutrition changes. Contact us for more information.
Environmental Improvements to Promote Nutrition
Provide employees with food preparation and storage facilities, such as a microwave, refrigerator, and/or sink, to encourage them to eat healthy food.
Provide appropriate space for breastfeeding moms
Provide on-site garden to teach gardening skills and increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
People who are physically active reduce their risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. It is recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week. Many Springfieldians are not meeting this recommendation.
With employees spending almost 8 hours a day on average at work, worksites provide a unique setting to promote practices that can increase physical activity and positively impact the health of working adults.
Sample Physical Activity Policies
Flexible Work Schedule: Adopt a policy to allow employees to participate in physical activities during the work week. For example, consider allowing employees to combine their 15-minute breaks into a longer break to incorporate a workout. For more ideas, contact us.
Active Breaks: Develop a policy that supports physical activity during breaks (i.e. walking, stretching) throughout the workday.
Partner with local fitness facilities to offer discounted memberships to employee and their families.
Sample Physical Activity Programs
Challenges and Contests: Host or participate in physical activity challenges, such as the Move Your Shoes Walking Challenge.
Walking Meetings: Instead of a meeting room or coffee shop, consider combining your meeting with physical activity. Promote walking meetings to help your employees meet physical activity recommendations.
Start a walking club with co-worker to encourage physical activity.
Fitness Classes: Work with a certified fitness instructor to offer fitness classes at your workplace.
Environmental Improvements to Promote Physical Activity
On-site shower and changing facilities: This will encourage employees to fit a workout into their work day.
Flexible Work Space - Offer sit/stand desks that encourage employees to stand up throughout through the workday.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to his or her community. Unfortunately, mental illnesses are common in the United States and according to National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults live with a mental illness. In fact, about 1 in 25 U.S. adults experience a serious mental health illness that interferes with their daily activities.
Mental health is the second leading cause of absenteeism. According to the CDC, national health expenditures for mental health services were estimated to be over $100 million. But there is something you can do!
Sample Mental Health Policies
Provide flexible scheduling during work for yoga, meditation, physical activity to improve the mental health of your employees.
Develop a mental health training policy for all employees to better build awareness, recognition and reduce the stigmas associated with mental illness.
Offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to provide employees with counseling and referrals to address personal and workplaces challenges.
Sample Mental Health Programs
Offer mental health presentations from area experts to increase the knowledge and decrease the stigma of mental health.
Provide training to all employees on mental health, such as the Mental Health First Aid program.
Environmental Improvements to Promote Mental Wellness
Provide a quiet room or stress reduction room, to allow employees to take mental health breaks throughout the workday.
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. For smokers the associated diseases and health care costs are significant, they see physicians more often and have longer hospital stays than nonsmokers. In addition to direct health effects to tobacco users, other employees are negatively impacted by secondhand smoke.
The real costs of smoking are staggering:
- Cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year.
- Tobacco related disease in the U.S. costs more than $300 billion a year, including over $175 billion in direct medical care for adults and $156 billion in lost productivity.
- Smokers cost employers nearly $6,000 annual, therefore smokers cost the Springfield Community employers $222,331,400 each year.
Helping smokers quit not only saves lives, it also saves money; lower healthcare cost, increased workplace productivity and prevented premature deaths.
Sample Tobacco Policies
Develop Tobacco-Free Campus policy to improve the health of all employees.
Provide insurance discounts or incentives for quitting.
Implement a no-smokers hiring policy.
Sample Tobacco Cessation Programs
Provide smoking cessation opportunities. Some include:
Environmental Improvements to Reduce Tobacco Use
Install adequate signage and remove ashtrays, receptacles, etc. to support smoke-free workplaces.
Tool Kits for Employers
American Cancer Society:Tobacco Use in the Workplace: A Model Policy
American Lung Association: Making Your Worksite Tobacco-Free
Change Lab Solutions: Walk This Way
Kaiser Permanente: Tobacco Free Campus Toolkit
Kaiser Permanente: Walking for workforce health toolkit
Kaiser Permanente: Healthy Meetings Guide
Washington University School of Medicine: Workplace Health & Wellness Resource List