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World Health Day - Take Action on Workplace Wellbeing

Wellness | 5-minute read

Posted on: Sunday April 07, 2024

by Zach Berwick, New Business Development Director

In the fast-paced world of today's organisations, encouraging your staff to maintain a healthy lifestyle is vital for productivity, engagement, and overall happiness. Beyond health and safety measures, what else should you be doing for employees? Why should employers take more ownership of workplace wellbeing?  And how does it fit in with your workplace priorities?  

The theme for World Health Day 2024 is ‘My health, my right’ and while it marks the day of the founding of the World Health Organisation, it champions the right of everyone, everywhere to have access to quality health services, education, and information. It is also a global day for employers to discuss with workers the right to decent working conditions and raising awareness about the importance of physical and mental wellbeing. Regardless of size, sector or location, employers must act now and be more supportive of employee health and wellbeing, where even the smallest steps can lead to a healthier and happier workforce.  

As a starting point this year, let's make a commitment to observe World Health Day in the workplace, not just as a one-day event, but as an ongoing initiative to encourage healthier bodies and minds. Wellbeing and employee engagement levels are more frequently considered as leading indicators of performance and market value.  So, if you are a business leader, a HR enthusiast or simply a dedicated employee wanting to improve the wellbeing of your workforce, the time to act is now. Check out these top tips to help you on your workplace wellbeing journey. 

  1. Wellbeing Champions 

If you go looking, there will be lots of people in your organisation who are already leading the way and focus on wellbeing. These are your wellbeing advocates – your wellbeing champions. These people will likely be passionate about physical and/or mental wellbeing and will love helping people on their journey to a healthier lifestyle too. This opens the door to introducing workplace ‘Wellbeing Champions’ who love to rally the troops when it comes to healthy initiatives. They can help design a strategy to encourage regular exercise, advocate taking regular breaks and promote healthy eating habits.  

This could come in the form of a virtual cooking class to encourage people to cook healthier meals or a monthly step challenge to get your team moving and away from screens. At Personal Group, one of our Wellbeing Champions launched the ‘February Hot Steppers Challenge’ for those who wanted to get involved. This was a fun team-building initiative to get people more active and away from their desks daily. Incredibly, with just a little rallying around, the competition was afoot, and the PG team collectively hit a total of 4,312,759 steps by the end of the month (they had a lot of fun too)! 

  1. Create a Culture of Movement 

Henrik Blunge the CEO of Björn Borg the Swedish sports fashion company has introduced a ‘Sports Hour’ into their employee’s weekly schedule as a mandatory fitness class every Friday. He says it encourages movement and employees love it. Cultivating a culture of movement in your company can start small by encouraging walking meetings once a week or a daily stretch taken by one of your wellbeing champions. The amount an employee has moved can be briefly discussed in their 1-2-1 meetings with their line manager to show that managers care about their health and wellbeing. The more people move, the more dopamine gets released in the body which gives people the energy to go and attack tasks with an extra spring in their step.  

You don’t have to be like Henrik Blunge and introduce a mandatory fitness class, however, you can ask the wellbeing champions to come up with creative ways to get the whole workforce moving more.  

  1. Investing in Employee Wellbeing  

There are many variations of how companies can support employees with their physical wellbeing, financially. It could be that your company provides access to sports retailers so employees can buy exercise equipment through a discount platform at a discounted price. Gym memberships are a way to support employees too. Your company could subsidise the full or partial payment of a gym membership to encourage employees to get more active. You could organise a quarterly wellbeing day where the entire company gets together to celebrate living a healthier lifestyle. This would be a great opportunity to improve your company's culture and morale.  

If you can successfully create an offering for wellbeing, then the possibilities are endless about how you spend this money to ensure employees feel cared for when it comes to their health.  

  1. Make Nutrition the Centre of Attention  

A healthy, balanced diet is the key to giving the body the right nutrients to ensure energy levels remain high. The truth is, knowing what to eat and when, is difficult and we don’t get it right every day. We can however be better equipped to make the right choices if we have the information readily available through our employer. Making nutrition a key theme for World Health Day will encourage your employees to eat healthier. This month, you could promote healthy snacks on posters or organise a team lunch that only includes healthy foods. Or why not invite an expert in to provide nutritional advice and tips to promote healthier eating? If you have a company messaging system, then you could encourage your employees to share their favourite recipes and then share photos of their meals after they have cooked them. Lastly, if your benefits provider has a retail discounts platform like Hapi, then you could treat every employee to lunch, so they have the choice to go and grab something healthy during their break.  

World Health Day is a chance for us to focus on our employee’s health, and the more we can collectively raise awareness about how to live a healthier lifestyle, the better their personal and professional lives will become. Observing World Health Day in the workplace isn't just about one day of recognition, it's about creating a culture of health and wellbeing that lasts throughout the year. 

This could be introducing a total wellbeing app that gives employees access to workout videos and recipes, so employees do not feel stuck when it comes to exercise and nutrition. At Personal Group we have access to Transform™ which is a complete total wellbeing solution - with hundreds of workout classes, motivational messages, mental health support, healthy recipes, tools for a better night’s sleep and stress management techniques. This is ideal, as for me, moving my body is a daily must. I can personalise my app to the routines I like and want to access regularly. I understand that every employee has their own individual wants and desires when it comes to wellbeing, so as an employer, perhaps look for new creative ways to engage your team. 

Lastly, consider providing access to an Online GP service for employees struggling to get an appointment at their local doctor’s surgery. A check-in with a doctor might be something they’ve been putting off but could be something that really is necessary for their long-term health. 

There are some great wellbeing tools out there to bolt onto your existing benefits proposition and by implementing practical actions, no matter how big or small, such as harnessing the benefits of the Hapi app, you can empower your employees to lead healthier lives, both physically and mentally. 

Let's make this World Health Day the start of a journey towards a happier, healthier workplace for all. 

Get in touch to find out more about how we can build a healthier future for your employees.  

 

 

 

 

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