The 5 ‘E’s of Workplace Wellness

For every 80p spent on health promotion and intervention programmes, £4 can be saved due to reduced absenteeism, temporary staff, presenteeism and improved motivation (The European Network for Workplace Health Promotion).

Workplace wellness is the general mental and physical health of those in a workplace. Workplace wellness is improved through activities and policies that support and promote healthy workplace behaviour. Investing in workplace wellness can save businesses a large amount of money by making positive changes, but where do you begin?

Here are the 5 ‘E’s of workplace wellness:

EDUCATE employees on healthy habits – mental health and physical health go hand-in-hand. Poor physical health can make you feel sad or anxious, and poor mental health can cause muscular tension and releases hormones that weaken the immune system. Having short seminars on different subjects such as healthy eating, quitting smoking and reducing stress are a fantastic start in teaching employees how and why they should improve their mental and physical habits. Bigger changes could include subsidising gym memberships or hiring an in-house counsellor.

ENDORSE healthy eating – eating a healthy and balanced diet is vital for good physical and mental health. Not only does a healthy diet ward off more serious physical health problems such as obesity and heart conditions, it also strengthens the immune system to improve your day-to-day health. Introducing healthier options within the cafeteria, or only providing healthy buffets at functions or meetings are great ways to implement healthy eating.

ENCOURAGE exercise – exercise improves mental and physical health. Exercise keeps you fit and releases hormones that improve your mood. Some forms of exercise like yoga can also relieve mental and physical tension that can accumulate through everyday stress. Possible ways to encourage exercise are by providing secure storage for bicycles or free exercise classes for employees.

EMPHASISE mental health – poor mental health causes a major financial cost to UK businesses. Often underrated in the workplace, improving mental health reduces absenteeism and improves productivity. Investing in proper management of mental health and fostering a safe environment to discuss mental health are both hugely important to improving workplace wellness.

ENTICE employees to behave healthily – simply educating employees on healthy behaviour and providing the facilities to behave in a healthier way may not be enough for some people to make a change. Giving incentives can entice employees to make a change. Giving prizes for those who have made the biggest improvement or most consistent improvement to their overall health can increase involvement in wellness schemes.

Interested in implementing a workplace wellness programme in your organisation or building on current practices? Email me at katie@altruistuk.com for your free ‘5 Ways to Well-being Fact Sheet’ to get you started.

Katie attended the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy where she set up Altruist in 2013. Since then, Katie has won various awards including Birmingham Mail's Young Achiever of the Year 2017, New Entrepreneurs Foundation 'Future Face of Business' and Entrepreneurial Spark's 'Most Accelerated Business'. She has also been a finalist in nine other award categories and in 2014, Katie was invited to attend the prestigious 'Women of the Year Lunch' in honour of her work raising awareness and reducing the stigma attached to mental health.

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