Dave Pflieger Wellness in the WorkplaceThe stress Americans feel every day can be largely attributed to the pressures and demands of the workplace. Every company should ask itself if it doesnt enough for its employees to assure a positive work atmosphere. Labor itself, along with limited body movement (being sedentary for long periods of time), and a strenuous work environment are all factors that contribute to feelings of tension and general negativity. Of course, over time, stressors begin to take a toll on employee happiness and productivity. It is a company’s responsibility to provide a satisfying work environment for those who work for its success. So, doesn’t it make sense for a company to supply its employees with its own form of stress-reducing exercises and wellness plans?

Roughly one in ten companies, only, has spent time designing a comprehensive wellness program for its employees, offering employees methods for stress reduction including yoga classes, meditative techniques and exercise. Beyond this, companies can introduce educational seminars and more long-term programs to advocate healthy practices. A few companies offer weight-loss and cholesterol management programs, healthy meals in vending machines and cafeterias, and even classes to help quit smoking. This is an intelligent way of addressing the many facets of a single issue: many workers smoke and overeat directly because of the stress they feel. Lowering stress helps twofold. Many of these programs raise feelings of positivity, well-being, and belonging, and inspire group activities, which means group progress. Members of a group do well to inspire each other to work for and maintain good habits. Aspects of a program can be as simple as reiterating good sleep and hygiene patterns. Often, it takes only a reminder and some repetition to instill values pertinent to good health, and one advocate often contagiously affects others around him with good habits.

Healthier workers simply feel better about what they do, and are more likely to come to work with a smile on their face than workers who feel they must sacrifice their priority on health for the sake of their employer. One company, Draper Inc. exceeded any expectations by organizing a team-based weight-loss program and awarding the winning team a prize for its success. What’s more is Draper honors employees monthly who display and encourage healthy lifestyles. It’s no surprise, Drape saw increased worker satisfaction and productivity. Other examples of going beyond the base level would be offering classes that help workers develop new skill, for example, cooking, music appreciation, or learning new computer applications. These give employees a chance to communicate and share experiences with each other in a different light. Positive feelings between co-workers engenders a free and transparent workplace, which helps all to feel more comfortable, appreciated, and motivated to work.

A company’s care for its employees is evident in all aspects of its conduct. Companies must understand their own culture to know how employees feel belonging to them. Jason Lang of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention expresses that a company’s concern for its employees’ wellness should be evident in everything the company does. Wellness is, ultimately, a question of lifestyle choices not of occasional beneficial activity. A company truly succeeds if it can make its impact last outside of the workplace.