Where to Begin with Wellness in the Workplace

Published: Mar 01 | 2018
Modified: Aug 22 | 2018

Photo courtesy of Kaboom

Health and wellness is definitely a hot topic in organizations these days. It’s also an overarching theme within our culture at Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc., but it hasn’t always been that way. What started as a few health-concerned employees has blossomed into a full scale health and wellness program. As BBD’s HR Generalist and Healthy Workplace Champion, Christina Thorne, points out – our program is a work in progress.

Christina Thorne, shares three considerations from BBD’s own experience building a health and wellness program:

Consideration #1: Know Your Why

As an employer, the very first thing to know is your “why.” Consider the following questions:

  • Why do you want to incorporate health and wellness at your organization? Knowing the answer to this question (and reinforcing it) ensures that your program will succeed.
  • What do I want to see my organization do for my health and who do I talk to to make it happen? Be aware of what employees need from a workplace wellness program and identify a person or team that employees can turn to with ideas for a healthy workplace.

There are many reasons “why” organizations build a health and wellness program – but knowing yours is the first step.

Consideration #2: Gain Interest

Now that you know your reason “why”, the next step is to know who to go to with this great idea! But you don’t have to do it alone. As Christina Thorne points out:

Engage like-minded colleagues and start a Health and Wellness Committee. Chances are that within your organization, you have a few people who enjoy living a healthy lifestyle and would be interested…in discussing this subject with their colleagues.

BBD’s current committee has roughly 17 members, who meet monthly to brainstorm ideas, events, and campaigns for employees.

Consideration #3: Audit Current Health and Wellness Initiatives

Now that you have a team of people to support health and wellness in the workplace, the next step is to audit what you are currently doing. Whether the current state of your program is non-existent, or it needs to be updated to match current workforce needs – find out what is working, what’s not working and what’s missing from your program. The easiest way to gain this kind of feedback is to ask your employees what they need from this program. Employees appreciate the opportunity to voice their opinions and this gives them a platform to do that.

Learn where to begin with health and wellness in the workplace.
Watch the full webinar.

A brief history of health and wellness at BBD

Like many organizations, BBD recognizes the importance of supporting our employees health in the workplace. We offer alternative desk options, fitness challenges, and fresh produce in our kitchens. Our Port Coquitlam office even kicks it up a notch, offering lunchtime bootcamp classes – encouraging employees to move throughout the day.

But, BBD could be doing more.

In 2016, BBD participated in the Morneau Shepell and the Globe and Mail Healthy Workplaces survey and received feedback from employees about areas to improve upon. Right off the hop, physical health was an area identified as strongly supported but there were other opportunities for improvement. Working with our health and wellness committee, Christina took this feedback and put it into action. Rather than focusing solely on physical health, our new program takes a more holistic approach.

What happens in one area of an employee’s life can impact many others. By adding a bit of structure, and refocusing BBD’s health and wellness program to include: social, financial, mental and physical health, it means a years worth of programming for our workplace.

See what the year has in store!
Download the 2018 Workplace Wellness Calendar.