Employee Wellness Programs: Promoting Mental and Physical Health at Work

Work, work, work!! For the reasons of financial compensation for employees on the one hand and achievement of business objectives on the other hand employers, the work or say tasks assigned to the employees working in the organization perform whether it be a 9 to 5 job or Work from Home module. After clocking in, the ticktock of the work clock starts until the employees clock out. As a human being, an employee also needs support for maintaining mental, emotional, and financial health from the organizational side and here kicks off the focal topic of the need and importance of employee wellness programs in the organization. 


Before leaping into the main motif, it should be clear that the benefits to be achieved by employees and employers must eclipse the costs incurred in employee wellness programs. Primarily, employee wellness and well-being are the most meaningful factors in terms of a company’s operations and employees’ efficiency. There is always a positive connection between employee wellness and organizational performance. Employee well-being always stays at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to organizing the programs regarding employees’ support and assistance apart from daily and usual work. 



Employee Wellness Programs: Promoting Mental and Physical Health at Work 


Employee Wellness programs are the agendas undertaken by the HR leaders or organizational heads for the employees of the organization related to healthcare, well-being, and support of the people. The non-stop hectic job may drain the employees and workplace burnout is more than just a buzzword. The stress that employees feel at the workplace has to be compensated with such wellness programs. These programs make the employees feel that they are valued and appreciated in the organization. There is no doubt that employees are the valuable assets of any organization and employee burnout has a direct impact on their physical and mental health such employee wellness programs play a crucial role in improving their health and dedication towards organization and organizational performance and objectives. 



How do employee wellness programs promote mental and physical health at work? 


From Fun Fitness Challenges to In-Yoga sessions there are various popular choices as employee wellness programs. Also known as workplace wellness programs, these programs contribute to the employees and employers in multiple forms. 


Employee Wellness programs are to be organized on a frequent basis. Not just promoting physical health, these programs should promote mental and emotional well-being among the employees. The sudden outburst of the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed organizations to allocate the budget relative to employee well-being as the pandemic has had far-flung implications upon every individual, family, and workplace of almost every hook and corner of the world. The employee wellness programs may include: 


  1. Stress reduction programs 
  2. Meditation, yoga sessions 
  3. Support group for access to confidential help 
  4. Health awareness programs 
  5. Fitness Goal Challenges 
  6. Relaxing break areas and healthy snacks 
  7. Flexible working schedules 
  8. Coaching sessions by third-party trainers 
  9. Financial advisory and Counselling sessions 
  10. Teamwork games 
  11.  Equal participation in company events by top managers too 
  12. Mental Health Initiatives 
  13. Support Care and Feedback sections, etc 



The employee wellness programs contribute to the mental and physical health at the workplace by the following points as enumerated below: 


1. Improves engagement and energy 


With the programs frequently organized in the organization, employees feel better and they can focus on their work. They may feel both physically and mentally well which reduces their sick leaves and organizational operations may run smoothly without any hassles. These programs further motivate them to get energized and dedicate more than their 100%. 



2. Reduced stress and health-related risks 


These employee wellness programs are designed in such a way that create a positive work environment in the organization. Like a peaceful break from hectic and stressful work schedules, these programs enable them to get more concentrated on the ongoing work. Programs like meditation, and yoga sessions support maintaining their individual health goals which ultimately reduces sick leaves, and absenteeism resulting in more productivity and engagement in the workplace. 



3. Strengthening bonding between employees 


When programs like fitness classes and yoga sessions are organized, the collaborative efforts and experiences among the employees contribute to better communication and relationships with other coworkers. This ultimately leads to the strengthening of bonds and builds camaraderie between the work colleagues. 



4. Improves mental health 


These programs support the employees and improve their mental health. The support sessions facilitate the staff to share their emotional sharings and feedback that help to combat depression in the staff. They can also consider options for seeking confidential help. When such programs are conducted, it helps to abolish the stigmas regarding mental illness too and employees can open up regarding personal mental and emotional health. 



5. Boosts employee morale and elevates company culture 


As employees feel happy, valued, and appreciated by the happening of such events, they get enthusiastic about their work. It further accelerates the network of company culture. Where the employees are valued, more productive performances get fostered, and where there is a good place culture, employees get valued, and the business performance strives and thrives. 



6. Employees’ retention and organizational excellence 


The healthy offerings and benefits along with remunerations make employees feel dedicated and committed to work. 100% commitment means 200% excellence in work ultimately responding to positive outcomes for the organization and different stakeholders. 



Before introducing such employee wellness programs for promoting physical and mental health at work, several steps should be launched including: 


i) Setting up goals that benefit both the organization and working staff 


ii) Assigning a project team to organize the programs 


iii) Collecting and obtaining information from employees about the need for the kind of employee wellness programs 


iv) Drafting a plan for the arrangement 


v) Sharing the information and objectives of the program amongst the work colleagues 


vi) Feedback and recommendations gathering through participant staff 


The foundational step of organizing such employee wellness programs will be making the employees understand why the investments in such employee well-being programs need to be maximized and why their participation is a must. If they are unaware of the objectives, they may not reap any productivity or benefits to the organization. 


Furthermore, HR leaders should advocate the normalcy of seeking support in case of confidential help or depression-like serious issues. They should initiate to reduce the existing stigmas of mental health. Also, the time should be considered as employees are committed to full-time jobs, and family time is also required so timing of such programs should also be considered.


As a segment of the budget is apportioned, such a program is applaudable but HR leaders and departments should also grapple with challenges and expected returns from investment into such programs i.e. wellness of employees and thriving of business. 


In a nutshell, these programs have become an integral part of any organization and collaborative participation seems to be most fruitful for both human resources and organization.


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