Choosing Tools to Promote a Culture of Wellness

Have you made promoting a culture of wellness a top priority in your workplace?  Well, I have to tell you, you’re on the right track—and others would do well to follow your example. Why? Because placing emphasis on workplace wellness is one of the most effective ways employers can help boost employee productivity, reduce absenteeism, and control healthcare costs. And it makes sense for your employees too, since they’ll be the direct beneficiaries of a workplace program that staves off sickness and helps build better long-term health and wellbeing.

Making workplace wellness a priority is the place to start, but having the right tools to support your employees is also really important. According to Morella Devost, founder of holistic health website Transformation One, there are 11 keys to creating a culture of wellness, and having the tools to facilitate your wellness initiative is one of them. Tools can encompass elements such as gym equipment, fitness trackers, and health assessments, as well as various communication platforms like newsletters, bulletin boards, health websites, recipe sharing, and more. These tools are not a program in and of themselves but are essential elements in supporting your workplace wellness program.

Workplace Tech

You also have the category of workplace tech, with wellness technology, showcased by those wearables that are all the rage, including fitness trackers, smart watches, and heart rate monitors. What’s not to love? And, in addition to the basic functionalities of wearable fitness trackers, which aid in setting personal goals—i.e., tracking the number of steps or flights of stairs—these tools can provide workplaces with a way to monitor group goals or even set up friendly interoffice competitions.

Fitbit, the leading name in fitness trackers, offers your employees easy-to-use software and services for planning, tracking, executing, and managing a group health program. Employees motivate, inspire, and encourage each other by participating in group programs, making it more likely they’ll continue working toward their fitness goals. In fact, Fitbit data shows that users tracking their activity with one or more friends are 27 percent more active than those going it alone.

These days many organizations committed to forging a culture of wellness are buying or subsidizing the purchase of fitness trackers for their employees, citing the return on investment they realize through higher productivity and lower absenteeism, which often more than offsets the cost of the devices.

On-Site Gyms and Other Options

We see another trend that supports workplace wellness in the increase in corporate fitness centers. But as Forbes points out, following the trend without having a strategy to support it is an exercise in futility. Having a qualified staff run the fitness center, as well as maintaining ongoing fitness programming and initiatives that bolster such use are among the key elements that will make the significant investment in a fitness center pay off.

For those companies without the budget to put in a fitness center, there are many cost-effective alternatives. You can invest in fitness tools like yoga mats, exercise balls, and other non-tech fitness products as a way to encourage your employees to integrate physical fitness throughout their day.

Promoting Physical Comfort

While physical fitness is important to workplace wellness, physical comfort is another component. According to Staples Business Advantage’s second annual Workplace Index Survey, a majority of respondents (employers and staff) agree that ergonomic and functional furniture is a significant factor contributing to higher productivity. Providing furniture that helps improve posture and ensure employees’ comfort throughout the workday is a substantial step to take in support your organization’s dedication to wellness.

Workplace design is another important element to promoting health and workplace wellness. Spaces that encourage walking and movement, proper task lighting, adequate noise masking, and good airflow are essential components in making an office more productive—and healthier.

Promoting a Positive Outlook

And what about job satisfaction? It turns out, to no one’s surprise, that workplace wellness also ties into the importance of job satisfaction as a means of helping employees have a positive outlook on work and life. Again, technology is necessary here. According to the Staples Business Advantage survey, respondents identified inadequate technology as one of the top three causes of lower productivity and reduced job satisfaction. Conversely, the most productive and satisfied employees are those who have access to the latest technology such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

However, technology can be a dual-edged sword. We’re finding it difficult to disconnect from our jobs because of technology that is driving an “always-on” work culture. That has led to the majority of workers—53 percent—feeling overworked and burnt out. This inability to easily disconnect from our tech also underscores the importance of promoting a workplace culture of wellness that considers not only the “big things” but the “little things” as well. Yes, onsite gyms are nice—many employees find this to be a great perk—but they’re also looking for other amenities as well (a well-stocked break room, for instance).

So, while tools are important, don’t overlook the importance of personal connections—employees motivating other employees and managers modeling healthy behavior for employees to emulate.

A healthy, more productive staff is the ultimate goal of a workplace wellness program. Make sure the tools—and your people—support the program to achieve a better culture of wellness for everyone in your organization.

This post is sponsored by Staples Business Advantage.

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How to Use Tech to Reinforce Your Best Company Values

Technology offers great ways to connect and perform tasks more efficiently. Companies can also embrace technology as a way of increasing productivity among the staff and ensuring the workplace is a harmonious environment. Isn’t that the goal of every business? Here’s how working with tech can reinforce a company’s best values.

  1. Expanding Access to Data

Every skilled service person tells you there is a right tool for every job. In the workplace, the “tool” might simply be easy access to data. Some companies can get stingy with their data. Those companies that flourish will allow for a free flow of data amongst the managers and staff.

This is where cloud data storage can prove to be a valuable asset. By expanding access to the data to the workers, they won’t find themselves scrambling to come up with key data points for presentations and reports. This in turn creates a smoother day-to-day operation and bolsters the company’s profile.

  1. Allowing Work From Home

The moment kids enter into the equation, a home schedule goes from “normal” to “hectic” in no time flat. Workers often feel the tug of family commitments while on the job. That becomes a drain on productivity.

A company that promotes family values should also promote the family starting with its own workers. By allowing employees to work from home, a company creates a flexible schedule that puts family first. Thanks to high-speed internet access, there should never be an issue with slowing down access to communication between the employee and the company.

Use collaboration tools, such as Basecamp or Evernote, that allow everyone to have input on a project, no matter their location. This will show your dedication to working with your employees.

  1. Helping Support Promotion From Within

Companies welcome loyalty. This value often filters down to the customer level. It is achieved through promoting within in the company. After all, who is in a better position to know the inner workings of a company than the actual employee who has been working there?

Through its company website, Workday provides employees with profiles of coworkers along with current opportunities for advancement. It is a great way to supplement a human resources department by targeting the professionals who would be most qualified for the open positions. It could be the person you’re sitting next to at lunch.

  1. Sharing Your Company Story Through a Website

The best way for a company to reinforce its core values is through its own website. Although selling whatever product or service is important for a website, it is equally, if not more, important to share the company’s values, goals and history.

Every business has a history. Use it to tell your story so customers know where your business started and how you go where you are today.

  1. Offering Ongoing Employee Reviews

Every company can adapt software programs to help track employee progress. Typically, a company would conduct a review of a staff member on an annual basis. That’s a long time for an employee to find out if their work is appreciated. With these tracking programs, it will be easy to have regular evaluations on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. This helps keep the employee focused on improving their performance, and that in turn supports a company’s mission.

  1. Soliciting Feedback

The most efficient way to find out how a company is doing is asking the workers. This is a lesson that is often forgotten in the workplace. Managers should adopt an open forum where employees can provide feedback about the functions of their sector and the rest of the company.

The easiest way is to set up a private company bulletin board where workers can share their concerns. For larger companies, this type of technology can also help bring employees closer together. There might be entire divisions that have no clue how another division operates. Opening up those lines of communication will get the feedback flowing.

Reinforcing a company’s values through the use of technology begins at the workplace. Many tools can help get that job done with just a few clicks of the mouse.

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