It’s difficult to estimate the tremendous asset a healthy, happy workforce has on corporate wellbeing, but it’s clear the cumulative costs of workforce illness take a huge toll on the U.S. economy. One estimate, from the nonprofit research organization Integrated Benefits Institute, puts the cost to the economy at more than a half a trillion dollars each year. This includes lost productivity from employee absenteeism, as well as what the researchers called “presenteeism,” when sick employees report for work but are unable to perform at their best. Employees who are sick at work also deplete morale and put their coworkers at risk.
A company dedicated to workplace wellness can help eliminate those unnecessary sick days by strengthening the mind-body connection. Forbes contributor Jackie MacLeod writes, “Emphasizing wellness allows us to operate more energetically. We work better because we’re there, in body and mind. If we are allowed to be truly present when we are at work, companies can say goodbye to unnecessary absenteeism.”
Spring is in the air, so there’s no better time to inspire your workplace to practice good eating and exercise habits. Here are five ways to get started this week.
1. Check the Health of Your Workplace Wellness Program
Promoting workplace wellness should be a fun, inspired and, most of all, effective. But a new book, “Surviving Workplace Wellness With Your Dignity, Finances and (Major) Organs Intact,” suggests that not all workplace wellness programs are created equal. The authors, Al Lewis and Vik Khanna, discuss evidence that some ill-conceived programs instead of inspiring healthy habits actually alienate employees and have no discernible effect on workforce health. Forbes contributor Leah Binder reviewed the book recently in her article “Three Surprising Hazards of Workplace Wellness Programs.” Like a tune-up for a car, use this week to review your company’s wellness program and check it for any potential weaknesses.
2. Give Thirsty Thursdays a New Meaning
Take a cue from Utah State University, which runs a wellness program with fun activities slated each day this week, and promote healthy water-drinking habits. Challenge employees to ditch caffeine- and sugar-packed soda for a day and drink nothing but water at work.
3. Celebrate National Walk to Work Day
Started in 2004 and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Podiatric Medical Association, National Walk to Work Day is celebrated the first Friday in April. Why not organize a chance for employees to walk together, and encourage employees to share their walking progress publicly (in distance or minutes)? The American Heart Association has more ideas for walking activities and promotion.
4. Dance-Off in the Break Room!
Bring in a licensed dance instructor to teach a Zumba class over lunch, or break out a boombox, clear a dance floor and invite employees to bring in their favorite dance tunes for a fun lunch-hour diversion. If no one wants to dance – start a limbo contest to get juices flowing. Just a half hour of dancing will get everyone moving, laughing and invigorated to go back to work, happy and focused.
5. Eat Your Colors
Help employees add color to their meals — and no, that doesn’t mean platters of pink-frosted cookies and bowls of blue punch. Promote a colorful diet rich in fruits and vegetables by making it fun or collaborative. Here are two easy ways:
- Encourage group participation in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program that allows employees to split a share of produce from a local farm or farm collective. Look up what’s available in your area by searching the directory of Local Harvest, a national organization that connects farmers and consumers via CSA programs.
- Share gThankYou Fruit & Vegetable Gift Certificates. Easily redeemable at grocery stores, gThankYou gift certificates for fruits and vegetables give recipients the freedom to pick the produce they want, whenever they need it and wherever they like to shop.
To learn more about increasing employee happiness (and health) in your workplace by building a culture of gratitude, download our free guide to “Workplace Gratitude” and start sharing your gratitude today!
About gThankYou, LLC
Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.
gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.
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