How to: Implement a workplace wellness scheme

Honeydew Health has created a How To guide for implementing your own workplace wellness scheme in 7 easy steps.

Workplace wellness schemes have become one of the top ways to motivate and engage your staff. As employees free time is being taken up more and more by work, it makes sense for the workplace to ensure they can continue to be fit and healthy.

Step 1: Agreement

Firstly, you must ensure that all appropriate members of your company are on board with the idea. This should include a financial supporter, senior level support and anyone in charge of company benefits. A signed agreement is the best way to ensure official support and can be used for later reference.

To ensure all members will be on board, use facts and case studies to prove the business case and to keep them involved make sure you track your results. Wellness is inextricably linked to attendance, so using the lost time rate is a good way of measuring your scheme’s success. Here is how you calculate lost time:

Total absence (hours or days) / Total available working time (hours or days) X 100 = Lost time rate (percentage).   

Keeping track of lost time regularly can be used to demonstrate the impact of your wellness initiative – but remember that you need accurate absence records to be able to reliably measure the change!

Step 2: Champions

Once the company agrees with the Wellness scheme, Champions should be introduced. These are internal volunteers who wish to put their face to the scheme, helping to motivate and encourage their colleagues. It’s best to have champions at both senior and employee level – senior level support is important to properly embed the scheme, it validates your goals, gives the scheme credibility and sets a good example. A peer champion will help to voice opinions of the employees and motivate them to keep going. By achieving the health benefits, the peer champion can set a good example by proving that the goals are achievable alongside usual workloads and the immediate obvious health benefits will encourage others to participate.

Step 3: Focus

It’s now time for your champions to gauge what types of wellness intervention will work best for your employees. Surveys and meetings can help to decide which type of scheme excites the employees most and which kinds of incentives they feel will be most beneficial.

Wellness Schemes can include a mixture of the following;

  • Smoking cessation
  • Nutritional advice/ classes
  • Concessionary gym memberships.
  • Cycle to work/ bicycle discount schemes
  • Healthier canteens or food provisions at work
  • ‘Chill out’ or relaxation space for quiet working
  • Health screenings and MOT’s.
  • Lunchtime exercise classes.
  • Stress remediation
  • Online services for health plans, exercise timetables, goal setting and news/ achievements updates.
  • Financial or physical incentives: Some use company charity donation as an incentive or even charity work as a fitness event – waste collection for example.
  • Training events for those wishing to champion or introduce a fitness scheme.
  • Inter-work place or local competitive challenges.
  • Flexible lunch time or working hours to accommodate exercise.
  • Absence management & occupational health

It is important to note that many of these work especially well when provided in conjunction. For example, if your company’s goal is to help employees quit smoking the following chain of provision would be useful –

Smoking cessation + stress remediation + health screening and MOT’s + interwork place competition for money saved per person (example) + lunch time exercise classes for gentle cardio workouts.

Lastly, be careful not to run before you can walk. If your employees are sceptical about beginning exercise or of an older age group, be sure to implement gentle exercise at first using a more holistic approach instead of arranging fun runs and high impact exercise classes.

Step 4: Make connections

Now you know what your employees want and what you can provide, it’s time to start making connections with providers that can deliver those services. Get in touch with local health facilities to discuss partnerships and membership deals. You may need exercise equipment for in-house exercise classes or Occupational Health professionals to give talks on nutrition and health. Be sure to include members of your own staff – if they possess the necessary skills, talents or even connections they could be useful and often keen to get involved.

Forging connections between the employees is always useful and can boost morale. For example, arranging for employees to travel to classes together can improve attendance and help those who are nervous about attending.

Step 5: Risk assessment

If you are looking to provide any in-house exercise provisions, make sure everything you implement complies with risk assessment codes and, importantly, your company insurance policies.

Step 6: Promotion

Once your scheme is up and running, promotion is the key to its success. To ensure all employees recognise its benefits and utilise the scheme, the following have proven effective:

  • Leaflets – Placed at eye level around the work place. Make sure they are eye catching and have a company logo to highlight the ‘employee community’ involvement. Include pictures of champions and highlight any benefits such as financial bonuses or goals that should be reached.
  • Workplace talks – Ensure management and champions explain everything clearly and hand out anything that may help. For example, pedometers, logo emblazoned water bottles and relevant timetables. Face-to-face communication is essential if the employees have any questions to make sure they’re answered with no miscommunication or misunderstandings.
  • Weekly goal/ achievement updates – These should come in the form of newsletters, printed or online. If an online system can be set up, incorporate the progress metrics onto the homepage. Employee encouragement and NOTICING is the key to keeping up attendance.
  • Online systems – for employees to log and track their progress and chat about issues or events.
  • Data – to be used to signal any positive or negative changes caused by the scheme. For example, the percentage of profit increase by department or the total weight lost.
  • Fun – although competitions and goals can boost the morale of most, for a few this competition may be daunting and off putting. Ensure that the schemes are fun and not too personal.

Step 7: Monitor, praise & re-evaluate.

It’s important for both the business case and for the sake of your employees to monitor the success of the scheme. As mentioned in step 1, quantifiable statistical data can be calculated to prove the benefits as well as keeping up with financial costs of the scheme. However, it is also important to provide time for your employees to criticise the scheme. Maybe a certain class is felt to be less useful than originally thought or employees are unhappy with their gym membership schemes. Polls, votes and surveys are best for gaining the opinion of employees without drawn out meetings. Allowing for improvements are essential in proving that as a company, you care about your employees and that the scheme is for their benefit and enjoyment. To assess how healthy your wellness scheme really is, the London Healthy Workplace Charter has a downloadable self assessment tool to help you keep track of your progress.

Honeydew can help your company to set up, manage and measure a wellness scheme. Honeydew attendance management service helps by:

  • Illustrating attendance patterns for individual employees or by department/organisation
  • Highlighting hot spots or areas of concern to be used as the focus of a targeted wellbeing campaign
  • Bringing you the relevant advisors, instructors and experts to deliver great events, talks, classes etc during your campaign
  • Making sure that no employee falls under the radar
  • Quantifying the results in comprehensive attendance statistics

Good Luck,

The Honeydew Health Team.

Honeydew Health Ltd