Successful wellness programmes usually have a couple of things in common. Firstly, they have specific outcome goals; they have been designed to tackle specific health and wellbeing issues that companies are facing. Without this direction, wellness programmes end up being, at best, a nice perk.
The second thing successful programmes have in common is that they have specific programme targets. These targets are the markers of how well the programme is being utilised. They guide the process of iteration when adjusting a programme to hit the outcome goals. If a programme is not having the desired effect and yet your programme targets have been met, it may well be an indicator that your programme needs to be more comprehensive.
So, what makes a programme comprehensive? In this article, we will look at our three pillars of staff wellness and break them down into 3 levels. You can use this to benchmark your own corporate wellness programme and see where and how you could improve.
A base level wellness programme should give staff advice and support in regards to mental health and wellbeing. This should include:
- Access to Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) – Access to advice and counselling, often provided by health insurance programmes.
- Basic training in stress resilience – This could include mindfulness workshops run on-site and access to mobile apps or online programmes.
- Awareness days – Taking advantage of events such mental health awareness week and Time to Talk, allowing mental health into the wellness conversation.
A more in-depth programme should take this a step further giving staff easy access to tools, advice and support. This could include:
- Seminars – These can be on a variety of subjects including mental and financial wellbeing and how to spot issues with colleagues
- Recommended specialists – Having an approved provider list of counsellors, therapists and financial specialists especially any covered by their health insurance or cash plans.
A fully comprehensive programme should give staff all the support they need to create a workplace conducive to good mental health. This can include the following:
- Regular workshops – Ongoing training made available to staff to allow them to look after their mental and financial wellness.
- 1-to-1 coaching - Offering executive coaching, life coaching or mindfulness coaching for key staff and vulnerable staff.
- Communication training – Educating managers know how to talk to staff about subjects ranging from company vision to mental health and offer support where necessary.
- Stress recovery profiling – Usually reserved for more senior staff, stress recovery profiling can ensure staff are coping well with stress and performing at their best.
For physical wellbeing, a basic programme needs to ensure working conditions are not detrimental to staff health. This should include:
- Gym membership – subsided gym membership is a standard addition to most wellness programmes and allows staff access to a place where they can counteract the effects of sedentary work.
- Some standing desks – Having access to shared standing desks, giving staff the option to avoid prolonged sitting.
- Cycle to work scheme – Free initiative allowing staff to purchase a bike at a heavily discounted price for commuting to and from work.
Taking this a step further involves actively encouraging staff to look after their physical wellbeing. This can include:
- Onsite access to facilities – This doesn’t have to be a full-scale gym, but staff should have an area where they can stretch, move and de-stress.
- Staff-run clubs – Getting staff who are passionate about physical health to act as wellness champions and organise clubs.
A fully-comprehensive programme usually requires a bit more investment and strives to create an environment that truly moves away from the traditional unhealthy office. This can include:
- Manned gym-facilities – Giving staff access to an onsite gym and coaches and taking away most barriers to exercise.
- On-site classes – Group classes such as Yoga, Pilates and circuits, carried out in-house.
- Active Metabolic Profiling (AMP) – Used by companies like Adidas UK, AMP is a great health marker and allows staff to tailor their fitness regime to their specific level
- Incentives – One great incentive we have seen used is a reward for cycling to work. This can be monetary, perks or additional annual leave.
A basic level should enable staff who are already engaged in healthy living to be able to look after their nutritional health. This should include:
- Healthy options in the canteen - A provision of healthy food on the menu such as a salad bar and fruit.
- Awareness and education – Utilising campaigns such as obesity awareness week and diabetes awareness week to promote healthy eating while giving staff access to information.
A step up from this should improve the nutritional offering and improve staff knowledge and habits around nutrition. This can include:
- Extensive healthy options in the canteen – A majority of the food offering should be high quality and health-promoting.
- Seminars – Regular sessions educating staff on how to build healthy nutrition habits.
To create a fully comprehensive programme the aim needs to be to create an environment that makes healthy eating easy and even the norm. This can include:
- Fully healthy menu – Providing a fully healthy menu in the canteen designed by a nutritionist or franchising the catering out to a healthy third-party supplier.
- Eliminating unhealthy options from vending machines – replacing chocolates and crisps with vending machines serving only health promoting snacks.
- Healthy food in meetings – Replacing the usual platter of sandwiches and biscuits with healthy options such as salad pots and fruit.
- Nutrition coaching and workshops – Regular sessions designed to educate staff on healthy choices and teach healthy food preparation skills.
If you are trying to work out where your company sits on the wellness spectrum, you can use our easy Company Wellness Calculator to find out how comprehensive your current wellbeing programme is and get suggestions on where to improve. If you need any further help on taking your wellness programme to the next level, you can get in touch with us here.