Help Your Employees Recover From the Holidays by Invigorating Your Workplace Wellness Program

Get moving! Invigorate your workplace wellness program for 2015 to help employees beat the post-holiday blahs. (Photo via MilitaryHealth, Flickr)

Now’s the time to invigorate your workplace wellness program for 2015 and help your employees recover from the holidays and beat the post-holiday blahs.
The risk for disengagement is high as workers return from vacation or back to their normal hours after weeks of holiday overtime.
The thrill of the holidays has passed. Parties are over, gifts unwrapped and bills on the way. Add to this the bitterly cold January temperatures hitting the northern half of the country, and the pressure of those New Year’s resolutions to eat better and get in shape, and you’ve got a recipe for an unhappy, distracted and unproductive workforce. The average for disengagement among U.S. workers is a whopping 70 percent, so don’t let post-holiday blahs get a chance to make it worse!
The causes of post-holiday blues vary and remain a topic of scientific research, but the cure — at least in the workplace — is re-energized employee engagement with a strong focus on workplace wellness.
TIME magazine predicts that workplace wellness programs will “burgeon” in 2015. Healthier employees are more productive, and forward-thinking companies have begun in recent years to recognize the importance of sustained, expanded efforts to keep employees healthy.
An effective workplace wellness plan needs more input than health-risk assessments and once-a-year seminars on healthy eating! Read on to find out what you can do this month to help employees recover from the holidays and make a great start to your workplace wellness plan for 2015.

5 Ways to Banish Post-Holiday Blues in Your Workplace!

1. Offer A “Palette Of Place” In The Office

At times of high distraction, like during and after the holidays, minimizing distraction in the workplace should be a priority. But not all employees focus in the same way. One physical environment does not fit all, and recently released research shows that the popular “open office” setup actually increases stress and lowers productivity. (Maria Konnikova’s New Yorker article “The Open-Office Trap” is a good place to start for background on this research.)
Brian Shapland, a general manager at turnstone, explains in a recent blog, “While it’s true that some people function best surrounded by office buzz or listening to a steady stream of 80’s rock, others need a quiet space to do their best thinking.”
Shapland suggests that even collaborative spaces should be equipped to support solitude. He says a “palette of place” in the office is needed to meet the needs of all employees and create an environment that’s productive for everyone.
How do employees in your company do their best work? Do they “get in the zone” in silence or while listening to music? Do they work more efficiently sitting with others or alone? Ask, and modify as needed to accommodate.

2. Stand Up And Get To Work!

Research is piling up that shows sitting more than six hours in a day is a health risk on par with smoking, even among people who are otherwise fit and active.
For workers who are bound to their desks all day, standup desks could be the solution.
Reuters reports that “advocates of workplace wellness initiatives are hoping 2015 will be the year that standup desks, historically favored by great minds from Leonardo da Vinci to Virginia Woolf, will reconfigure the modern cubicle.”
A doctor with the American Council on Exercise tells Reuters that employees at standing workstations typically feel more energetic and also report better mental processing.

3. Give Employees Something To Look Forward To

For months, the holidays provided us with events and rituals to look forward to — the Thanksgiving feast, time with family, decorating the tree, hanging lights, giving gifts, going on vacation, and spending a romantic New Year’s Eve with someone special.
Now it’s January, and the calendar is suddenly empty of big holidays or excitement. Without anything to look forward to, the temptation is strong to tune out, disengage and become pessimistic — but it doesn’t have to be.
Re-engage your workforce by creating your own fun activities and events!
“Holiday cheer doesn’t have to end with the holidays,” writes Namely founder and CEO Matt Straz for Entrepreneur. Creating something for employees to look forward to “helps to build a positive work environment that motivates employees to perform at their best.”
Besides employee-related celebrations, upcoming fun days to highlight with employees include National Pie Day (Jan. 23), National Compliment Day (Jan. 24), Fun At Work Day (Jan. 28) and Superbowl XLIX (Feb. 1).

4. Promote Healthy Snacking

Healthy Snacking

Make healthy snacking part of everyday work. (Photo via Iain Farrell, Flickr)

If cookies, dips and cheese trays ruled your workplace break room over the holidays, try to set a healthier tone for the New Year. Support healthful eating by providing healthy snacks to employees or by offering information on easy snacks to bring from home.
Encouraging a healthy workforce can require a change in environment and shift in culture, as Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has found with its “Strong4Life” program. The program is both an external guide for patients and an internal guide for the hospital’s 7,000-plus employees.
“The food staples of office parties — doughnuts, bagels and pizza — are discouraged. Instead, employees celebrate with fruit popsicles and neck and shoulder massages,” the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports.

5. Don’t Forget to Say “Thank You”

Keep the momentum of holiday gratitude going into 2015. Encourage supervisors and other leaders to be a role model for sharing gratitude with employees.
Gratitude isn’t just good karma, it keeps us healthy. In fact, gratitude, mindfulness and altruism are more powerful forces in our lives than we think, according to Top 10 Insights from the Science of a Meaningful Life in 2014 from the Greater Good Science Center, the research wing of the University of California at Berkeley.
So use these helpful tips to banish post-holiday blues in your workplace and welcome in a happy, healthy and productive new year!
Want to learn more about the power of gratitude to transform your workplace? Click below to download our free eBook. A healthy program of workplace wellness is built on a foundation of gratitude. Start your transformation today!

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