healthy workforce

Health & Wellbeing

3 ways to promote a healthier, happier workforce

healthy workforce
If like many of us, you started this year full of good intentions to make 2016 the year you changed your lifestyle for the better, are you still going strong? If not, how long did your good intentions last?

In our first blog post of the year we quoted figures showcasing the likelihood of you seeing out your ‘New year, New me’ regime until February. The figures weren’t very promising…

So whether you’re still going strong or your gym gear is now at the bottom of the draw we’ve got some handy, yet quirky effective ways to promote a healthier workforce in the workplace.

Creating memorable experiences

Trust me, we’ve researched this topic and so far this year and everyone; everywhere talks about creating memorable experiences within the workplace. What does this mean? Well, it refers to ambient media and communications, ‘publicity stunts’ if you like. Finding new ways to showcase health and wellbeing in the workplace without handing out flyers and leaflets. It could be anything from installing gym equipment in the office to encouraging staff to take the stairs rather than the lifts, or even something as simple as offering fruit within the office.

For example, Westfield Health held a healthy eating week for its employees. They incorporated healthy eating and exercising by introducing the ‘Smoothie bike’. The bike featured a built-in blender, with riders adding their favorite fruits before pedaling enough to create a smoothie.

Making a strategy fun, interesting and quirky means it will resonate more with staff and they will become more likely to engage and use the benefits, which in turn, will help the bottom line of the business” Fiona Lowe, head of HR at Westfield Health (Source: employeebenefits.co.uk)

Encourage a sense of competition

A bit of healthy competition never hurt anyone and encouraging employees to interact with health and wellbeing schemes by offering a competitive spirit will encourage and retain staff.

Here at Salary Exchange, we’ve been trialing a new app for Bupa called Bupa Boost. It encourages our workforce to monitor and track everything they do to improve wellbeing and earn ‘wellness points’. From reading and spending time outside to exercising and walking, there are hundreds of activities to track, you can even add your own.

A lot of our workforce have invested in Fitbits too, these link with Bupa Boost as the steps and activities tracked through Fitbit earn wellness points on Bupa Boost. Both apps facilitate individual competitions and leaderboards allowing staff to see who’s been more active. Of course, there are  plenty of other devices and apps out there, just find the one’s that work well for you and your workforce.

Our health and wellbeing has definitely seen a turn for the better, employees are now walking at lunch, regularly attending the gym, trying to maintain a balanced diet and staying active at home too. The bragging rights to get to the top of the leaderboards have certainly caused some serious competition within our office.

Of course a  competitive environment may not be suitable for every work place  and finding the right balance is important. When implementing a revamped health and wellbeing scheme, it’s important that employers tailor their communications to best suit their organisation’s workforce demographic.

Thinking outside the box

Introducing new ways to communicate health and wellbeing will also boost engagement within the workforce. Flyers, leaflets and posters are traditional methods that effectively work, especially if you incorporate a familiar style or internal branding. If you’re looking to boost engagement and retain staff then breaking the mould from the traditional methods is an important factor. Implementing a method that encourages physical engagement will more likely retain staff than that of an eye-catching poster.

Investing in weekly fruit baskets or encouraging staff to start their own fruit collection is a simple and easy place to start. You could take it up a notch by producing personalised fruit stickers with either a company message or something like a challenge – if you wanted to link the sense of competition to your communications.

Healthier, happier workforce

Whether you choose to start small or go straight in with a big idea it’s important to include why the health scheme is being introduced in the first place. Branding it with a fun elements and putting a spin on the traditional communication methods will certainly retain attention and encourage employee engagement. Ultimately, what is good for the employee, is good for the organisation, which in turn produces a higher productivity rate and a happier workforce.