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Wellness for Work!

Most of us tend to take our health for granted and succumb to the daily grind, forgoing the needs of our bodies and minds. The most commonly cited reasons for not looking after ourselves include tiredness, fatigue or lack of time. Considering the average adult spends over 40 hours a week at work, this is no surprise!

However, studies show that in recent years, the general population has taken a heightened interest in health and have started being more proactive in maintaining their overall wellbeing. Not to be left behind, a record number of companies have come up with mandatory workplace wellness programmes in a bid to encourage a better-rounded lifestyle amongst their staff. These programmes are an attempt to offset the negative effects that such a sedentary lifestyle can bring.

If you don’t already know the perks of having a workplace wellness programme, here are just some to help you get with the game.

So long sedentary sicknesses!

Employees are liable to suffer from work place induced injuries even if the nature of the job is mostly desk bound. Ailments ranging from general muscle strains or aches to specific deskbound related injuries such as carpal tunnel to even more serious issues that could arise in the long run like obesity and heart diseases, can be avoided by factoring in simple lifestyle changes that are more health and wellness oriented.

Don’t worry, be healthy

While this isn’t exactly ground breaking news, most forget that work is an extension of a person’s mental function which directly affects brain health. Physical fitness has been shown to be fundamental in facilitating and optimizing brain function. With higher personal satisfaction that comes with better health, higher rates of productivity are shown. Healthy and fit employees also tend to have a more positive outlook on life and be happier overall.

Healthy = happy team

The aim of workplace wellness programmes is essentially to encourage and facilitate healthier lifestyle choices but besides reaping the obvious health related benefits, these programmes can also be an outlet for staff to bond and foster better working relations. The impression that everyone is working towards the same goal, especially one that is outside the context of work, breeds a sense of belonging, familiarity and camaraderie.

Cumulatively, all these would in turn reduce employee absenteeism and maintain a higher rate of employee retention which is undoubtedly valuable in the long run. Companies that have implemented workplace wellness programmes also see a reduction in their healthcare expenditure. For example, after implementation, Coca-Cola was able to save $500 on medical expenses per employee every year!

What encompasses a workplace wellness programme depends entirely on the company itself. Start off with conducting a simple survey on the needs and wants of everyone in the workplace. From there, it should be easier to deduce how extensive or simple the workplace wellness programme should be, and whether it should be mandatory or optional – though obviously the main goal is to get as many, if not all, people as actively involved as possible.

Baby steps

Encourage simple exercises or stretches that will kick-start the metabolism, aid in joint mobilization and muscle relaxation which can be done at the desk. Even though many health publications recommend about 30 minutes of physical activity per day, those who sit for prolonged periods will have to exercise quite a bit more. So don’t underestimate these seemingly insignificant movements – you actually need them more than you think!

Getting into the groove

It can be something as simple as jogging in a group around the office’s neighbourhood several times a week (an increasingly common sight around here!) or you could even hire an instructor for a class, be it for yoga or dance or aerobics, amongst yourselves. It would also be fun to have the occasional competition or tournament, like bowling or soccer matches – because there is nothing quite like competition to motivate people.

Beyond the physical

Besides planning exercise sessions, easy steps such as replacing unhealthy snacks in the office pantry with fruits or energy bars can ease a company into adopting a healthier lifestyle. Routine checkups and health screenings can also be encouraged, if not organized or sponsored, by the company.

The possibilities of how a company can establish a workplace wellness programme are truly infinite. The entire process of planning a workplace wellness programme can be done internally but now, there are external services and consultants that can tailor one specific for a company. Inconvenience is no longer an excuse to jumpstart an evidently beneficial programme that doesn’t necessarily require much in terms of time or money!

Don’t wait until you or your colleague’s stressed or sick to start considering adapting a healthier lifestyle – Why not try it out now while everyone is still buzzing in the afterglow of the recent spate of international sporting events?

By Yasmin Md Basir, PR Associate @ Corporate Media Services

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