Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life. It is a dynamic process of change and growth rather than just being free from illness, as the definition of wellness states – “a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being and not merely an absence of disease and illness.” Corporate wellness programs focus on the health of employees by preventing illnesses and maintaining good health with the help of lifestyle modifications. These corporate wellness programs help in managing the lifestyle related risks like obesity and health complications that arise with an unhealthy lifestyle. This in turn helps to increase employee productivity thus optimizing human resource investments.
WHY SHOULD AN EMPLOYER CARE ABOUT AN EMPLOYEE’S HEALTH?
Why should I care about the health of my employee? Seems a fair question from an employer’s point of view as an individual is responsible for his/her own health and well-being. However, employees spend almost one third of their day (sometimes more) working at the company. Therefore, the employer as a responsibility should look after those working for his company. Looking after the employees will have the following benefits for the company:
Advantages of the employee wellness program:
1. It will improve the physical and mental health of the staff
2. There will less absenteeism and staff sickness which will improve the productivity
3. The loyalty and engagement of the staff towards the company will be more and it will also reduce the hiring and retention costs of the new employees thereby increasing the productivity
4. It will improve the company’s reputation amongst its staff, clients and in the business market
HOW TO STRIVE TO BRING EMPLOYEE WELLNESS?
Employee wellness can be achieved through two major changes – nutrition and other lifestyle changes. As the saying goes “You are what you eat”, good nutrition provides – more energy, improves immunity, and keeps the lifestyle diseases at bay. Hence, nutrition is a very essential component of any corporate wellness program. As mentioned above, employees spend almost one third or more of their day in the company, have erratic working schedules and are under constant pressure to perform and deliver results. This makes them pay less or no attention to what they are eating, their sleep, their physical activity and in general their overall health. Hence, proper guidance on what foods to eat, how much to eat, addressing any ailments through food, etc. becomes important. This is possible when companies start considering corporate wellness programs for their employee’s benefits with nutrition being in the forefront.
Ways to encourage good nutrition and healthy eating and lifestyle changes in employees:
1. Provide healthy vending machines or stock up the pantry with healthy food choices: Generally, all vending machines store carbonated beverages, fruit juices, fried chips, etc So, when hungry, the employees have no choice but to rely on the unhealthy options to satisfy the hunger. It would be a good move to stock up the pantry with healthy and nutritious snacks like mixed nuts, dried fruits, fruits, khakra, makhanas, and healthy drinks like buttermilk, green tea, etc.
2. Make nutritious and healthy foods available at the cafeteria: Most of the companies have the facility of providing office lunch. Employees, due to time constraints are not able to carry the home cooked meals and so eat cafeteria meals. Therefore, it is very important that only healthy and nutritious meals options are made available to the employees. Cafeterias are managed by the food vendors. Many a times the food provided by them is very rich and high in calories and not nutritionally balanced. Here, the company could look into hiring a nutritionist who would look into providing healthy, nutritious and yet tasty food to the employees by keeping a close watch on the menu that has been planned by the vendor and make the necessary changes wherever possible. This will help the employees to eat better and improve their health.
3. Provide gym and other activity facilities at the workplace: Employees work for long hours, maybe sitting at desk for a long period of time. This sedentary lifestyle behavior can have many detrimental effects, including a likelihood of developing illnesses. It is the responsibility of the employer to look after the health of its employees and promote a healthy work force. A gym facility or a place in the office building providing yoga sessions, dance class, etc could be made available to the employee. This makes it easier for the employees to find time to exercise and improve their health as most of the times people working complain not having sufficient time to exercise with their hectic work schedules. Regular exercise not only helps one sleep better and stay energetic throughout the day, but also decreases the stress that one undergoes and increases the productivity of the company as healthy employees are happy employees.
4. Organize workshops or seminars by health professionals: Guidance by a health professional – specifically a nutritionist will create a sense of awareness among the employees about their health. Hence, arranging seminars or workshops by a nutritionist to address the food and health concerns of employees and providing solutions could be arranged at regular intervals. These could involve covering a wide range of topics right from the importance of exercise and lifestyle changes to the importance of breakfast to how to read food labels, etc. which will benefit the employees.
5. Make regular health check-ups and diet consultations available for the employees: Arranging for regular health check ups for the employees will make them aware of any clinical conditions or other health issues that they may be facing. One on one counselling sessions for the employees with the nutritionist will help in making changes in their dietary habits. The nutritionist can provide them with practical solutions that can help them eat well regardless of the working environment.
6. Ways to reduce alcohol and tobacco at the workplace: Corporate social gatherings or meetings are usually with alcohol and tobacco (smoking). Drinking as well as smoking come with a host of health conditions. Various policies can be developed on banning the use of alcohol during office hours and at public functions or at events organized by the company. Similarly, a written tobacco free policy at work can be created along with support for those trying to quit tobacco.
When the organization adopts a healthier lifestyle over a period of time, this becomes a norm or organization culture.Cafe Nutritionist in Mumbai will help create a happy and healthy workforce which in turn will only benefit the organization. Collaborating with experienced companies offering corporate wellness programs will ensure that all services related to nutrition and wellness of the employee are offered under one umbrella in a holistic manner.