In a healthcare workplace, wellness programs for their healthcare team are initiatives undertaken by an employer in order to promote healthy lifestyles amongst employees.
Considering how much time people spend at work, it makes sense for there to be wellness programs fitted into the workplace. Such programs can be in the following areas:
- Physical – this is tied to the proper functioning of the body
- Emotional – this is wellness that is tied to mental health
- Environmental – this is about accounting for sustainability
- Occupational – this is to do with satisfaction with one’s job
Wellness programs can end up saving a company money in the long run. One review revealed that having a workplace wellness program can reduce health care costs and absenteeism.
They are also an attractive perk that can help recruitment and retention of staff.
More productive employees
Low productivity is when healthcare employees are at work but they are unable to or are not doing their work. Exercise has been reported to have an impact on cognitive abilities. A study supported the fact that workers who took part in a wellness program made better use of their time at work.
Healthier healthcare employees
A good number of the healthcare workers of today spend their lives at work seated, only to drive home and go to bed. This sedentary lifestyle has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
By taking part in the physical activity packages of a wellness program, employees can gain more control of their health.
Adoption of healthy behaviours
A single session at a gym won’t make you healthy; it requires consistency. Workplace wellness programs help in embedding the routine of taking better care of oneself.
Higher morale in healthcare employees
A wellness program is one way for a company to address its need to improve staff morale. Healthcare employees who take part in wellness programs are reported to be happier and healthier. This means that employees can approach their jobs with enthusiasm and that they have a more positive outlook.
How to design a wellness program that benefits your healthcare team
Do some research
The first step in designing a program that will actually benefit your healthcare team is to do some research. Yes research what programs fit in your budget and can work for your particular office but also get information from your team. Through different surveys, find out what programs your team needs. It will not benefit the company to set up a high tech gym that no one uses.
Set goals and objectives
The results you get from the research will help you establish some objectives for your program. These are important because they will help in evaluating the efficacy of the program. The objectives should be clear and time bound.
Encourage and support employees who are taking part in the program to set goals of their own. Without being able to measure their progress, the program might seem unhelpful to them. Their objectives might look like this: Increase number of footsteps in a day by 5000 by the end of the first quarter.
You might want to include some objectives for management as well. It will help your healthcare team see a return on investment. An objective might be to increase the number of employees enrolled in stress management programs by 5% in the first quarter.
Make it holistic
A very sterile and clean work environment and perhaps an office gym is usually the first thing that comes to mind when we think of wellness programs in the workplace, but a good program includes much more than that. It can include a better eating plan or meal management, resources on stress management, resources on managing alcohol and tobacco consumption and more.
More employees will be likely to take part in a wider program as it will have something for everyone.
As an example, Facebook supports a bike sharing program for its employees. It enables them to cycle, which is a healthier form of transportation than driving. In addition to satisfying the health goal, such a program appeals to employees who are passionate about environmental wellness.
Tie it into the culture
Companies like Johnson and Johnson made wellness of staff a part of their culture. This means that as opposed to it being a one-off activity, wellness is part and parcel of the organisation’s DNA. It can be seen in every aspect of their work, from their office premises to how they work with clients.
In the 1970’s, their CEO James Burke established a wellness program that is still in operation today. According to Johnson and Johnson Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Peter Fasolo, “As a result of that initiative, we were the first company to be tobacco-free, as well as one of the first to promote employee safe driving and to have a global HIV prevention program.”
Get management support
As with most workplace initiatives, management support is critical when designing a wellness program. First, management need to offer funding support and approve policies related to the program.
These policies might include half work days or flexible schedules on some days to enable employees to take part in the wellness programs. They can also help to tie the program into the strategic objectives of the organisation, thus guaranteeing uptake.
According to a study with Tranamerica Center for Health Studies, leadership support is one of the factors needed in implementing a successful wellness program.
There is no point in creating a beautiful program that your healthcare team knows nothing about. There must be multiple ways to communicate about it. Your team needs to know why they need a wellness program. Educating them about the benefits they will receive is important.
Communication cannot be done once, it needs to be sustained. Establishing a wellness committee to support the program is one way to achieve that goal. They will be in charge of finding ways to communicate to the team, evaluating the program and making adjustments where necessary.
In a nutshell
Medical research and studies support the benefits of wellness programs at healthcare workplaces. Hence, in order to have one that benefits your team, there is a need to first understand their specific needs.
With this you can create a program that is holistic, goal focused and one that your healthcare team will benefit from and enjoy using.
About the Author
Gerald Ainomugasha is a freelance writer with a pen that is keen for entrepreneurship, business and technology. When he isn’t writing insightful articles on employee engagement and corporate culture, Gerald can be found writing for a number of media outlets.