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Starting a Wellness Program

Photo: Something fo revery workplace environment

Before you start

The key thing to remember is that participation in your Wellness Program must be voluntary. The reality is that not all of your employees or coworkers are going to participate - even with incentives.

When you want to increase the odds of success and he rates of participation, begin by having employees fill out a Employee Wellness Program Survey to see just how ready/interested they are and what components they will actually use.

Once you tabulate the likely success of the program, you will be able to determine whether or not a sufficient number of employees will participate to make it worthwhile.

Getting it set up

TO get started you will need to elect someone to be responsible for coordinating and driving the process. It might be you, or someone who scored highly on the questionnaire and who has time to dedicate to organizing. This person should be committed to a healthy lifestyle regardless of the Program, and be interested in speaking to others about it.

Next, determine the goals of your Wellness Program. They could include any number of the following:

  • Improve general health and well-being
  • Improve morale & attitude
  • Improve the sense of being a team
  • Improve productivity
  • Reduce turnover rate
  • Decrease absenteeism
  • Decrease injuries

Then, depending on the size of your organization, select a Wellness Committee. This will allow tasks to be spread out, requiring less time from each person. Committee members will manage responsibilities, such as taking turns ensuring that healthy snacks are available, booking outside health care practitioners, or organizing events. They should plan to meet monthly to coordinate their efforts, and be made aware of the goals of the plan.

Go back to the results of the questionnaire to select components the employees will use.

Take into account the age and cultural backgrounds of your employees when choosing the elements of your Workplace Wellness Program. Make it flexible so that people can participate on their schedule, or choose components that work for them.

Some options include:

In addition, some other ideas that go hand in hand with Workplace Wellness are:

  • "Green" office suppliers
  • Office Recycling
  • Safety in the Workplace
  • Stop Smoking Programs
  • Stress Management

Through discussions with management and staff, you can determine what mix of elements is right for your organization.

Managing the Program

Monitor the program regularly to see if it is meeting the goals, or if it needs to be revised.

There will always be early adopters and those who are resistant. Understand that it is a voluntary program that will have to be "marketed" to your employees - and the more fun it is, the more likely people will participate.

Be sure to reward the employees who are on the committee that oversees the implementation.

You can find workplace wellness statistics and quotes among other great wellness program tools at our Wellergize.ca site.


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Need more workplace wellness information & support?

NaturalHealthcare Wellergize: Workplace Wellness Programs with the Natural Health slant has created a dedicated site with a wide range of tools and services for workplace wellness: Wellergize.ca

On Wellergize.ca, you can find:
Making a Business Case for Wellness? • Our popular "Business Case for Wellness" cartoons, with Canadian stats
posters and program support materials
• our 15 different wellness challenges
workplace wellness blog
• seminar & lunch and learn series (topics and speakers)
useful stats and quotes
• glossary
• and much more...

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