Monday, 24 August 2015

Fitness in the Workplace : Wellness Incentives

The health and well-being of employees is something that companies are investing in more and more. It's no secret that when people are happy, healthy and feel valued, they are more productive and have improved job satisfaction. There are a multitude of ways in which companies can look after their employees, and it's worth thinking about these when you're considering joining a new company.

If I were looking for a new job, in particular with a larger company, these are the sorts of questions I would be asking and the kinds of offerings I would be looking for. It could sway my decision about accepting a job offer.

Food and Drink

Let's start with some basics. Does the vending machine offer some healthier options over crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks? Is there a fridge, kettle or microwave available so that you could take your own lunch? Is there an on-site canteen with a variety of healthy pre-packed and fresh options?

The last big company I worked for had a Free Fruit Friday once a month, providing a variety of fruit to colleagues for free. Always popular!
Is there somewhere you can go to sit and eat, or is there a culture of working through your lunch break? Time away from your desk or immediate site of work makes a big difference to levels of fatigue.

Keeping Active

Many larger companies these days either have gyms on site or offer hefty discounts on memberships at local facilities. That's great but check whether they're supportive of you taking time during the day to work out. Will you be frowned upon if you get in a little later or take an extended lunch break because you've been on the treadmill, even if you make up the hours later?

Cycle schemes are also popular these days, enabling employees to buy a bike tax free or at a subsidised cost. But even if the company isn't large enough to afford this, are there perhaps running or cycling routes to the office? Are there cycle racks nearby? Are there showers or lockers on site?

Are there any active social groups e.g. lunchtime walking groups or after-work bootcamps?
I lead a weekly walking group on a Monday lunchtime in my local area.

General Well-being

Other incentives that I've come across in my working life are free work station assessments and provision of things like foot rests and specialist chairs, free eye tests, health check ups and facilities for booking massages on site. Soft seating areas and a "library" of books you can borrow to read in a tea break are easy to provide and their value shouldn't be over looked. Having time to relax, removing excuses for getting regular check ups and ensuring your workstation doesn't cause you discomfort are all small but important details in your working life.

A final incentive that I've always found inspiring is fund matching for charity. As so many charity challenges are activity based, this could be an incentive for you to tackle a bike ride, dance-athon, race or climb that you may otherwise not have considered!

What health and well-being incentives does your company offer? Is there anything that you would like to see?

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