Environmental Support for Corporate Wellness Programs
For wellness initiatives to succeed you must build environmental support for corporate wellness programs. Provide your employees with a positive work environment. See what you can do about getting some healthy foods in the cafeterias and vending machines. You could also determine whether employees are comfortable with their working environment. Some employees have ergonomic related problems with their chairs, desks, or other aspects of their working environment that may cause eye strain, back problems, or other difficulties.
Besides having a positive work environment, it is necessary to have the support of others. In order to change behavior it is important that you promote a positive image to the employees and their families that will be affected by the program. Try to find a person who will encourage others to stick with the corporate wellness program. Seek out someone in upper management to provide encouragement for your program.
The programs that you create need to be upbeat and easy for your employees to implement. Make the programs relatively easy to add to their lives. Be sure to have programs that employees could do independently or with family and friends. It is easier to change your lifestyle if somebody is by your side to cheer you on.
Positive change can occur when employees that are changing their behavior have the needed support from their organization, co-workers, and family members. A good example of support is American Heart Association’s “Adopt-A-Couch-Potato” Program. Physically active employees adopt a non-exerciser for two weeks and provide support and help as the non-exerciser begins physical activity.
Another example of support may be starting a Walking Club Program. Employees can use their break time, lunch time or before or after work to walk together for 15 to 30 minutes. Setting a time and encouraging other employees to participate is a great way to get some exercise and encouragement from others. Identify a leader who will motivate his/her fellow employees to continue to participate. Employees can be supported by:
- Having top management willing to join in the programs.
- Having management provide time for informal meetings so employees can provide support for one another.
- Having opportunities for health screening programs.
- If possible, including family members to participate in programs.
Recognize that everybody has different abilities and needs. Some employees will take longer than others to achieve their goals. It is helpful to have a staff person that can supervise all of the programs.
The designated support staff should be able to understand and communicate the results of health screening programs as well as help employees set health and behavior goals, supply the more in-depth knowledge needed to reinforce these goals, and help employees through difficult times in order to have these new behaviors become a habit.