A well-funded well-being program is a luxury in many organizations, meaning that in lean times, it may well end up on the budgetary chopping block. But creating a culture of well-being doesn’t have to cost much — if anything at all.
There is no doubt about it, companies are again asking people to do more with less. Budgets have been constrained for some time, and often it seems like there is no relief in sight. So what to do in an environment where funds are constrained? Get creative. Remember: Well-being is first and foremost about building a culture of wellness.
When you incorporate wellness strategies and culture change ideas into the workplace, they can amplify and improve outcomes. You can be part of the key to improving employee health, increasing resilience and reducing healthcare costs. Think about how you can contribute to better outcomes for the people in your workplace.
Here are some wellness strategies anyone can suggest in the workplace:
Start a recipe exchange
With a significant portion of well-being attributed to eating healthy, there is a great incentive to encourage sharing of tips and tricks to make meals more nutritious. Connecting over food is something all cultures have done for centuries and “breaking bread” even virtually with teammates can lead to closer relationships as individuals grow and learn from each other.
Encourage walking meetings
While corporate meetings are traditionally conducted in offices, conference rooms or boardrooms where all attendees are sitting down, this doesn’t need to be the case. New studies have shown that taking walks while conducting important business meetings can supercharge the creative thought process for all parties. This is why ancient philosophers used to have walking discussions.
Start by getting buy-in for small groups and make sure all attendees agree to this type of meeting ahead of time. You can speak to the benefits that such walking meetings provide, such as mental clarity, enhancing creative thinking and a reduction in stress or nervousness.
Develop movement accountability groups
Find people who want to be well-being champions or just share their health journey. Whether it is an ultramarathoner who happens to be on your team or someone who has decided to get their health practices ready for the next phase of their life, create space and a place to make movement part of your workplace. This initiative can be part of your philanthropic efforts, whether it is a company-supported race to cure diabetes or part of your community outreach through building houses or packing care packages, movement can be celebrated in the workplace — and it also supports a healthier team.
For in-person locations, create a list of healthy restaurants within a reasonable radius
People often commute outside of their local area into the office and some hybrid and remote positions may only rarely travel to the headquarters. This means they won’t always be familiar with nearby restaurants and dining options, so they may choose the first place they see without regard for its menu choices. Start a list of restaurants that are a short drive or, ideally, within walking distance of the office.
Healthy eating is easier where there are good options presented first. Unsure where to start? Use a food-review app like Yelp or do an internet search for healthy eating options in your city.
Encourage the use of accrued leave — and make sure there is backup!
There is rarely a perfect time to take leave, but for everyone’s health it is critical to have moments of rest. When you go through a sprint for work, make sure that the first reminder after the stressful period has subsided is to take some time off.
Research has found that the optimal holiday period is eight days, but even if you can’t take eight consecutive days off, taking a day or two to truly disconnect can be helpful. Work stress can become overwhelming, especially if it is the normal mode of operation. And when stress is the norm, it is hard even to recognize that a break would be beneficial. Work to create a culture where taking breaks is encouraged, and make sure that you or other members of the team can provide backup during time off so team members can truly unplug.
Using these five tips, you can help promote well-being in the workplace even without budgetary resources. Studies have shown that well employees make better, more ethical decisions, so you will also be helping the compliance and ethics programs create better outcomes for the organization as a whole.