When leaders we work with report the stress of having too much to do and not enough time or resources, it is obvious that their workplaces are not investing in a wellness culture. When asked about taking vacation or days off to rejuvenate and de-stress many leaders report they feel they will just have more work to do when they get back.

Think about the last time you really felt strongly that, “I need a vacation/day off!” What was your energy level just prior to that thought? How patient were you being with those around you? How creative were you in solving issues? How innovative were you in coming up with new ways of doing things?

How would your perception change if you knew that continuing to work at a frenetic pace without stopping to replenish your resources actually decreases your leadership effectiveness and can negatively impact you and your team’s productivity? Wellness and self-care programs are no longer an ‘extra perk’ or ‘nice to have’. They are an essential leadership development and employee engagement tool that brings hard bottom-line benefits to every organization.

What is the ROI on Wellness & Culture Programs?

These are just a few statistics highlighting the actual cost-benefit associated with promoting self-care and wellness:

  • Companies with a wellness program see an average of 28% reduction in sick days (Institute for Healthcare Consumerism™)
  • Companies report a $2.73 reduction in costs from employee absenteeism for every $1 spent on wellness programs
  • Companies report an average of 30% reduction in workers’ compensation claims
  • 87% of employees said they consider health and wellness offerings before choosing an employer

According to the Harvard Business Review, wellness programs don’t work unless you create a culture in which it is acceptable and encouraged to prioritize self-care. If your team does not see you focused on self-care they will not see it as acceptable for them.

Happy employees are the backbone to any successful business. Your employees need to be both physically and emotionally healthy to be happy. The highest ROI any CEO could make is investing in office wellness and a satisfied workforce, thus meaning more productivity and longer talent retention. Eliminating toxic workplace culture and prioritizing wellbeing in the office can be done with a few simple strategies.

What is Valued Within Wellness Culture?

Sick Day Policy

Promote well-being in your office culture with a generous sick day policy. Employees often come to work sick because they don’t want to lose their time off. Not only are they unproductive these days, but they’re also going to get their co-workers ill. Eliminate this toxic practice and increase the number of available sick days. You can even offer unlimited time off like some major corporations do. While there may be instances of abusing that policy, more companies are embracing it every day.

Have Healthy Break-room Options

Stock the office break-room with plenty of healthy snacks. What we eat influences our mood and energy in both positive and negative ways. Studies have shown that healthy diets help ease chronic health conditions, while processed food will sap your employees’ productivity levels and diminish their health. Heart-healthy options will not only increase output but will also keep your staff happy and healthy overall.

Clean Office Environment

An office is a breeding ground for bacteria. With a large staff spending forty hours a week together, employee wellness depends on a clean environment. Here are some ways to prevent the spread of germs in the workplace:

  • Sanitize surfaces like desks, phones, doorknobs, and keyboards daily
  • Provide employees with masks, tissues, and hand sanitizer
  • Remove clutter that can collect allergens like dust or pollen

Mindfulness Training

You should never overlook the power of a positive mindset when learning how to keep your employees healthy. Implement mindfulness training in your office, and you’ll see employee stress and burnout drop dramatically. Meditation, yoga classes, and even meetings to vent about the day can all promote employee well-being. A healthy staff means more productivity and a significant boost to your business! Both the health of your company and your employees are very much connected.

Creating a Wellness Culture – You Can Start Small

Creating a wellness culture does not have to be time consuming or expensive. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started:

  1. Make planning vacations/time off a team discussion. Encourage people to talk about what they are looking forward to and where they are going. Encourage individuals to share what they may be worried about at work while they are gone so the team can support and plan coverage.
  2. Create monthly lunch and learn events on topics like financial planning, meditation, chair yoga, brown bag nutrition. Instead of outside speakers, invite employees to lead these sessions to share their wellness knowledge and passion.
  3. Lead a lunch time walking or running group.
  4. Call an impromptu 1 minute stretch break at random times. You can even instant message this break to your virtual team!
  5. Make wellness and self-care a topic in your 1:1 connects with your team members.
  6. Lead by example! Share your own wins and challenges with self-care!

Authors Susan Steinbrecher and Dr. Joel Bennett in their book, Heart Centered Leadership, emphasize that “mindful leaders realize that self-care and authenticity have a deeply significant impact on the satisfaction and well-being of their workforce and, by extension, the bottom line.”

Recently, we celebrated the growth of our company by taking our team for a relaxing and rejuvenating spa day (big thanks to Aroma Day Spa in Hamilton Ontario!). We’d love to hear what you are doing to promote wellness in your workplace, comment below!