Quick Summary: The workplace represents an ideal setting for the delivery of health and wellness programs, and building and sustaining a corporate culture of health is a critical component in implementing an effective program, according to The Vitality Group, a provider of incentive-based wellness solutions.
“The business community is what’s driving all the change because they have to. They’re the only ones in this country that benefit from people being healthy. Everyone else benefits from people being sick,” says Dee Edington, PhD, director of the Health Enhancement Research Center at the University of Michigan.
The workplace offers the ideal environment to promote health change, and these 3 components of infrastructure needed to do the job are spelled out in more detail in The Vitality Group’s white paper, Creating a Next-Generation Health and Wellness Program. Here is a summary of the main points:
• Use your existing communication networks such as newsletters, intranet, signage, and memos to get your wellness message across in a clear, forthright manner, the white paper suggests.
• Introduce program policies, procedures, and wellness campaigns frequently so employees understand what they can do for their own health.
• Viral marketing allows employees to interact with coworkers to create a support system for behavioral change.
• Use the work space to support healthy behavior change for employees.
• Promote activity with walking paths. Use signs to point to stairways.
• Offer healthier choices in vending machines, the breakroom, and cafeteria.
• Recognize that behavior change is difficult.
• Offer reasons for employees to choose healthier habits. Incentives in the form of tangible goods (cash, gift cards, apparel) and rewards such as days off may be the tipping point to change for good (or at least better).
• Use incentives to engage employees and maintain participation levels in wellness programs.
• Review your current communication avenues and add those that might reach more employees, such as adding an intranet, Facebook page, or Twitter account.
•Examine your work environment and look for ways to support healthy behavior change.
•Build incentives into your wellness budget (if possible). Work with the benefits planners to coordinate your efforts.
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