What is Corporate Wellness?
Corporate wellness seems to be the newest buzz word for many organizations, especially as they search for new ways to engage their employees. In fact, the trend towards living a healthier lifestyle and searching for ways to incorporate fitness, or incentives for improving overall health is steadily increasing.
Corporate wellness can mean many different things to companies. Some companies, along with their insurance carriers, offer reduced premiums for participating in specific health screenings and/or improving baseline screening results to an acceptable level. While other larger corporations offer such things as in-house fitness centers (for a reduced or no fee), employee assistance programs such as smoking cessation, weight loss programs and more.
As such, if you work at an organization that offers a corporate wellness program or provides incentives for participating in fitness or preventative programs, then consider yourself very lucky. Hopefully you’re taking advantage of this amazing benefit.
My Company Doesn’t Offer a Wellness Program
So, what if you work for a company that doesn’t offer these types of amazing wellness options or incentives? This makes your journey for living a healthier lifestyle harder, doesn’t it?
Um, no, it doesn’t. Or it certainly doesn’t have to be.
Although having a very structured program or service provided for you is very beneficial for those who are beginning the healthy lifestyle journey; finding your own motivation and creating some easy ways to add wellness to your day is not that hard. You just have to be a little creative and maybe even think outside the box.
Creating Your Own Work Wellness Program
If you like the motivation of a group activity, talk with some of your coworkers to see if anyone else is interested in improving their health. Hopefully you will find some colleagues who are also interesting in the same goal as you, whether it’s improving fitness, improving their diet, or quitting the need to smoke.
Next, discuss the overall wellness goal for the group. Is the overall goal to increase walking activity among the group? Or is the goal to lose X amount of weight by fall? Whatever you and your colleagues come up with as one large group goal, each member should have their very own specific target. Remember that each person in the group should set small benchmarks along the way. And don’t forget to set a realistic timeline for each benchmark and a deadline to achieve the final goal for the group.
Then the group should discuss how you will achieve your goal and create an action plan. Will you go for a walk together at lunch? Will each of you bring your own healthy lunch and eat together to provide motivation? Or perhaps some of you who live in the same area will decide to join a gym together and workout in the mornings prior to arriving at work. Whatever activity the group comes up with, make sure that everyone is agreeable with the plan, the goal and the timeline.
Many corporate wellness programs provide ways to track your progress, which means you should do the same thing for your group. How? One way is by using old – fashioned devices such as simple pedometers, a group journal or a tracking board kept in someone’s office. However, if you and your group are more on the techy side, you can use mobile apps such as Fitbit, MyFitness Pal, HappyScale or ChallengeRunner. Whichever method you choose, providing your colleagues with a way to document their progress will not only provide accountability, but it will offer motivation and encouragement for each of you.
Finally, during your planning process, the team should also decide how you will handle motivation and rewards for meeting select benchmarks and the final target goal. Text messages, emails or a note on someone’s desk are excellent examples of motivation. Whereas rewards can come in tangible forms such as a group t-shirt, trophy, etc. or non-tangible celebrations such as a celebratory (healthy) dinner, group walking event or promotion in the department or company newsletter. Just remember that everyone should provide input on how they personally like to be motivated. And the final reward should be one that is agreeable and beneficial for the entire group.
One final thought. Even if your company doesn’t offer a structured wellness incentive, what’s great about creating your own wellness program with your coworkers is that it is something you created together as a team. Meaning, not only will you receive the benefits of achieving a healthy goal together, but your ‘new’ social (wellness) network will be available for future goals as well.
Already Using a Corporate Wellness Program?
If you are already participating in a corporate wellness program, please share the details of it with me. I would love to know what activities you take part in as well as your thoughts on the benefits of having this benefit as a part of your work environment.
All pics by Pixabay