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Wellness in the Workplace

A healthy and happy workforce is a productive workforce. The benefits of promoting wellness in the workplace, both to the employee and the employer, have been proven time and time again.

Businesses are adopting workplace wellness programs to become an employer of choice, to help recruit and retain employees and to sustain a healthy and productive workforce.

On top of higher turnover rates, employers who aren't meeting their employees’ health and wellbeing needs face significant absenteeism costs.  The challenge often lies in changing the culture of sitting all day and getting employees up from their desk and engaging in wellbeing activities. Making small changes in your workplace can have a big impact on long term health as well as business benefits including increased productivity, attendance and workplace happiness.  

Ideas to help you get started

Wellbeing programs don’t need to be elaborate, be time consuming or cost a lot of money, but they should be targeted to what your employees value the most. Start small and go from there as support and engagement grows.

1.        Flexible work hours / arrangements (work from home, purchase leave).

2.       Fresh fruit, herbal teas, catered healthy lunch once a week/fortnight/month.

3.       Employee Assistance Program – confidential counselling service for employees to seek support with any area of their work or personal life.

4.       Lunchtime walking/running groups, on-site gym, meditation, yoga or Pilates - Group classes are a great team building activity to encourage employees to place an emphasis on their own wellness in a supportive, team environment.

5.       Healthy eating programs.

6.      Ergonomic Workstations – back-supporting chairs, height adjustable standing desks, lots of natural lighting, and de-cluttered desks.

7.       Flu shots - Post a list on the notice board of locations near your office offering flu shots, or arrange the health nurse to visit the office.

8.      Celebrate or acknowledge birthdays or work anniversaries.

9.      Set up a rewards and recognition program - offering incentives and challenges is a great way to build teamwork and get people working together towards their wellness goals.

10.    Incorporate a wellness article in the staff newsletter.

11.     Get some plants for the office.

12.    Invite employees to share their success. Encourage employees to share health-related efforts and successes with others.

13.    Encourage productivity while at the office, and encourage employees to disconnect from work during off-hours.

14.    Company picnics and team building activities.

15.    Desk fish tanks, bring your pet to work day. 

Top tips for a successful wellness program 

  1. Leadership Buy-In - Encouraging ideal behaviours, engagement and message needs to come from the top down. Senior leaders need to be the champions of the program and take part in wellness activities. 
  2. Employee Buy-In - Ask employees what they want from their wellness program as it empowers them and will lead to a more engaged program. Get the employees involved in developing and implementing a workplace wellness program.
  3. Actively promote the workplace wellness program internally to existing employees, and externally to potential candidates. Many employees are not aware of what their employers offer; so utilise staff meetings and notice boards 


It's easy to get caught up on ideas you think employees might want in a workplace wellness program. But remember your employees have excellent ideas too and know what’s most beneficial to them.   Start the conversation…….

Information in HR Advice Online guides and blog posts is meant purely for educational discussion of human resources issues. It contains only general information about human resources matters and due to factors such as government legislation changes, may not be up-to-date at the time of reading. It is not legal advice and should not be treated as such.

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