‘National Employee Health & Fitness Day’ is formally celebrated on the third Wednesday in May but in 2011 the observance has been extended to an entire month-long initiative to encourage sustainable, healthy lifestyles. That means Employee Health and Fitness Month (May) is right around the corner! It was created to promote the benefits of physical activity and to establish and maintain healthy habits at work.
Why should employers initiate wellness and fitness programs within their organization?
Employees spend a half of their active time (or more) at work. Many employees are in sedentary roles where little to no physical exertion is necessary. By instituting wellness programs in your company, even through one-day-only celebrations such as National Employee Health and Fitness Day, a positive impact can be made. There are many benefits to both employers and employees through corporate sponsored health and wellness initiatives. It is a true win-win!
Worksite wellness programs have been shown to benefit the employer through:
- Enhanced employee productivity
- Improved health care costs
- Reduced employee absenteeism
- Increased team morale and well-being among employees
- Decreased rates of illness and injuries
These programs benefit employees by:
- Lowering stress levels
- Increasing well-being, self-image, andself-esteem
- Improving physical fitness
- Increasing stamina
- Increasing job satisfaction
- Potentially reducing weight
How Can My Company Promote This Program?
The goal is to offer something for everyone, make itappealing and very accessible. Of course, you can’t please everyone but by offering a variety of small components, you can encourage wide participation.
- Sponsor a healthy breakfast or lunch
- Leave a piece of fruit at every employee’s workstation
- Host a “fitness walk” during lunch breaks – getthe CEO to lead the walk!
- Encourage employees to hand deliver messages rather than using e-mail or voicemail when possible
- Provide complimentary onsite health screenings (healthrisk assessments, basic fitness screens, physical exams, etc.)
- Invite a fitness instructor to offer before orafter work demonstrations
- Speak with your benefits provider to see ifthere are any discounts or reimbursements that can be used with a gymmembership, personal trainer, or nutritionist consultation
- Encourage a smoking cessation initiative