In today’s fast-paced work environment, workplace wellbeing is crucial for both employee productivity and the success of the organisation. Creating a culture of wellbeing isn’t just about offering gym memberships or fruit in the break room. It’s about prioritising wellness as a core value of your organisation.
More and more businesses and organisations understand the importance of implementing practical strategies that not only improve the wellbeing of employees but also benefit the business. People spend a third of their day at work: start changing behaviours in the workplace and you will see an impact on their physical and mental health.
Where to start:
Workplace wellbeing is a vast topic, and you can find anything from subsidised eye tests and discounted gym memberships to yoga sessions, mindfulness and financial advice, social wellbeing and mental health first aiders. The list is long and covers lots of important aspects, yet is very confusing.
One of the key strategies for creating a culture of wellbeing is to encourage healthy habits. And this starts with how we eat and live! Nutrition is an essential component of your wellbeing strategy. I see it every day in the organisations I work with: A reduction in absenteeism, better mental and physical health, as well as an increase in productivity are almost always directly linked to the way we live our lives.
Most importantly – your organisation will save money, time and resources by placing a greater emphasis on prevention of health issues rather than dealing with them once they occur. Help your people eat well and live well and see the impact it has on all aspects of wellbeing, amongst them increased stress resilience and energy levels.
When the team is on fire, the success of the organisation is in safe hands!
Easy-to-implement ideas to enhance wellbeing
Let’s have a look at some easy-to-implement ideas you can adopt for your business to enhance wellbeing amongst your people and how these strategies can lead to improved organisational outcomes.
For many of the businesses I support, introducing wellness challenges in the workplace is an effective way to engage their teams and help them make healthier choices. Based on my research and experience, I will discuss four creative and engaging challenges that can be introduced at your workplace to encourage healthy habits among your people.
The Great Workplace Recipe Book Challenge
Food is an essential component of wellbeing, and a fun way to promote healthy eating is by organising a recipe book challenge. Encourage employees to submit their favourite nutritious recipes to be compiled on the company intranet or SharePoint. This promotes a sense of camaraderie and friendly competition, as everyone shares their culinary creations, and everybody will benefit from a range of recipes they can always access.
Organisations can incentivise participation by offering a prize or recognition for the winner. By featuring the winning recipe in the staff restaurant, for example, organisations can also show their commitment to promoting healthy eating habits and creating a sense of community among employees.
Also, if you have a staff restaurant, you can offer healthy options alongside classic favourites on an ongoing basis and promote them accordingly: find creative names for meals that include their benefits: Brain-Energy-Bowl, Wellbeing Balls etc. Providing interesting food options in the workplace can go a long way in promoting sustained healthy eating habits among employees. The result? A healthier, more engaged workforce that appreciates the company’s commitment to their wellbeing.
This can be taken further to the “vegetable of the week” challenge! Choose one seasonal vegetable and encourage your teams to send in their favourite recipes. If you have a staff kitchen, maybe somebody will volunteer to create their dish for everybody to enjoy?
The Ultimate Step Counter Challenge
Physical activity is crucial for overall health and wellbeing. Investing in step counters (or a smartphone app) can be a low-cost way to encourage employees to take more steps and move around during their workday. This small investment can lead to a big change in activity levels amongst the teams!
People will get inventive and find ways to walk more: they leave their phone and see their colleague on the third floor to discuss a problem, or use the printer in the basement and use the stairs to get there. Many of my clients have now all their one2one meetings scheduled as walking meetings! The step counter challenge can be particularly effective for organisations where employees spend a lot of time sitting at desks.
Organise a team-based step counter competition, where employees track their steps and report their progress weekly. The team with the most steps at the end of the week wins a prize – it could be a small gift, a team lunch, or an extra break during the day. This not only fosters a sense of teamwork but also promotes physical activity in a fun and engaging manner.
Let’s drink more water!
The third challenge is a “drink more water” challenge. Drinking enough water is crucial for maintaining body functions, it also helps against energy dips, maintains focus, supports brain productivity and heart health. Unfortunately, many employees tend to forget to drink water regularly, especially during busy workdays. The Drink More Water Challenge is a simple yet effective way to remind everyone to stay hydrated.
You can offer filtered water stations and provide a leaflet with the benefits, as well as a tick list for the number of glasses of water everybody had per day. Create a friendly competition where employees log their daily water intake, aiming to reach a set target, such as 8 glasses per day. Offer small incentives for those who consistently meet their goals, such as branded water bottles or reusable cups. By keeping hydration top-of-mind, employees will feel more energised and focused throughout the day.
Instead of offering alcoholic drinks on a Friday to welcome the weekend, why not change your people’s perception and create ‘Healthy Fridays’? Bring everybody together and make it a fun event: encourage an impromptu plank challenge, a press-up or sit-up challenge and offer a range of alcohol-free beers, wines and spirits to manifest that fun doesn’t need to involve alcohol!
This event can also be a great way to announce and celebrate the week’s winners of the other challenges!
Implementing one or more of these challenges is just the first step in creating a culture of wellness. It can seem daunting at the beginning, but the benefits are clear: By promoting workplace wellbeing, organisations can reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, and improve employee engagement. Take one step at a time, get your leadership team on board and include the ideas your team will bring to the table and drive engagement.
It’s not only your people who will benefit from with higher energy levels, better brain performance and mental clarity, your organisation will benefit, too: The data I have gathered over the years shows higher productivity and performance amongst the team, but also reduced staff turnover. Your business will have a better reputation which helps to attract top talent.
Workplace wellbeing is crucial for success
In conclusion, creating a culture of wellbeing in the workplace is a crucial aspect of any organisation’s success. By implementing practical strategies that promote healthy eating habits, physical activity, and creating a supportive work environment, everybody will succeed. Challenges are a fun and engaging way to introduce wellness to employees and can be a powerful starting point to promote healthy habits.
If you would like to take a step further towards sustained success for your team and your business, invest in a tailored programme that takes your specific requirements into account and offers team workshops, but also an ongoing check-in service for everybody to access: Q&A sessions, personalised one2one consultations and email support.
Creating a culture of wellbeing helps nurture an organisations most valuable asset: its people.
Carola Becker is a forward-thinking nutritionist and wellbeing expert with a focus on brain health and performance. Carola runs a workplace wellbeing consultancy creating strategic programmes that benefit both employee wellbeing and business ROI. As a speaker, she has been delivering cutting-edge, inspirational and engaging sessions on how to enhance stress resilience and productivity for leading organisations in the UK and worldwide. Amongst her clients are Siemens, The European Athletics Coaching Association, New York Chamber of Commerce. She is currently writing her book ‘Eat. Live. Perform – a new approach to workplace wellbeing’.