Once upon a time in the workplace, things were… let’s just say a little less healthy than they are today. If we look way-way back through the haze of the smoke break, we see an employee “lounge” stocked with sticky sweets, old school chips, and quarter-full carafes of antique coffee. Your only options were quick pick-me-ups that, rather than helping you feel refreshed and refueled, left you with the sugar-crash blues.
Just thinking about it is enough to make you want to go lie down.
As it turns out, when you give people options to support a healthy lifestyle in the workplace, they really appreciate it. It shows them you care and genuinely want them to enjoy where they work, thus increasing retention. Sounds like a win-win right? So, be your team’s wellness champion and consider this:
Project Manager (and nutrition-enthusiast) Leigh-Anne Wooten, MS, RDN/LDN, FAND, LSS BB, cites a workplace survey conducted by industry staffing leader, the Robert Half company:
Options are everything
Probably not much of a surprise, but can you guess what people say is the absolute biggest hacker of health and wellness goals? The food at office celebrations and homemade goodies brought in by colleagues.
Here’s another fact that you might be able to relate to… Nearly half of the participants (44%) said they eat healthier when they work from home, which makes a lot of sense, don’t you think? There’s less temptation at home, as long as your grocery shopping is well-planned.
“Whether ‘healthy’ food is defined as including clean ingredients, lower calories, lower sodium or what have you,” adds Leigh-Anne, “it’s clear that companies need to provide workers with a range of options.”
Build a culture of wellness
An authentic culture of wellness goes beyond talking points and brochures; it’s something that associates must see embodied in the way leadership and co-workers engage day-to-day. A true culture of wellness will send a message to the whole team that they are valued for who they are, and not only for what they do.
So how do you establish a culture like that? Providing nutritious food options, like healthy vending machine snacks at work is a great place to start to:
- Show workers you understand their priorities and care about their wellbeing
- Reinforce associates’ efforts to improve their health outside of the workplace
- Give them time back in their day––no one has to go far to find what they want
- Provide a range of options that support dietary needs
Other ways to get creative about offering healthy choices at work may include:
- Onsite healthcare
- Wellness group challenges, such as on the Get Fit app
- Onsite gyms and proximity to walking trails
- Incentive programs to reward healthy choices
Keep the crowd pleased with healthy vending snacks
Now, no one’s saying that the cupcakes someone brings in for a co-worker’s birthday should be kept behind shatter-proof glass. If a candy bar is what’s needed to get through the afternoon slump, then a candy bar it shall be! But if the grandparent adage “everything in moderation” is right, we should strive to make sure there are plenty of healthy options at arm’s length, too.
These days, healthy choices are plentiful, especially when it comes to vending snacks. And the prospect of having to pick and choose what to include in your space may seem overwhelming.
Well, here’s a tip: try to pick crowd-pleasers that are as delicious as they are nutritious like fruit and nut energy bars and fun-flavored popcorn. But, if you need a little guidance, working with a trusted partner (like us) can help ensure you’re choosing something for everyone.
Now that you have the facts about wellness initiatives and the happiness of your team, we’ll leave you with one more piece of advice. Before you embark on building your culture of wellness, keep this well-known saying in mind – “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. This is a big (but well worth it) undertaking, and as you make even little additions to your workplace health program, associates will most certainly thank you for it.
Check the Facts
You don’t have to take our word for it (but feel free!). Study after study shows a connection between workplace wellness and worker retention:
In a study conducted by Kronos and Future Workplace®, Dan Schawbel, best-selling author, partner and research director at Future Workplace, predicted that the "biggest priority and concern for business leaders in 2017" would be "retaining employees in an even more competitive talent marketplace." He added: "As the economy … improve[s] and employees have more job options, companies will have to provide more compensation, expand benefits and improve their employee experience" if they want “to prevent employee burnout that leads to turnover."
Researchers at Harvard Business School explored findings from a study by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health that revealed "organizations with highly effective wellness programs report significantly lower voluntary attrition than do those whose programs have low effectiveness (9% vs. 15%)." HBS authors went further and applied existing research to their own survey of select companies across a range of industries. The bottom line on worker retention? Wellness programs contribute to "higher morale":
- "The inherent nature of workplace wellness—a partnership between employee and employer—requires trust. Because personal health is such an intimate issue, investment in wellness can, when executed appropriately, create deep bonds."
A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Globoforce shows HR professionals reporting that "recognition programs have a positive impact on retention and recruitment. … While employee recognition (cited by 80 percent of respondents) was the most common type of workplace program, organizations offered a variety of programs to influence workplace culture. Others were health and wellness (70 percent) and learning and development (68 percent) …."