Friday April 13th 2018 is Ireland's fourth National Workplace Wellbeing Day and is now firmly established as the biggest celebration of workplace wellbeing in the Irish calendar. I’ve written previously about workplace wellness promotion and about how both employers and employees can play their part in supporting a positive work environment so I’m delighted to help spread the word about this event as ultimately this day represents everything that Office Worker Health is about:
“Promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace”
Over the last four years hundreds of companies around Ireland, large and small across every sector, have been participating in the National Workplace Wellbeing Day. Last year alone over 500 companies signed up to take part. The goal of the day is to help improve employee health through promoting better nutrition and physical activity in the workplace. More and more organisations are getting on board each year. Is your workplace taking part?
Food Drink Ireland (FDI) are organising National Workplace Wellbeing Day. Dermot Doherty, Project Manager at FDI, is asking “employers of all sizes and from across the private and public sectors to dedicate time on National Workplace Wellbeing Day, Friday 13th April for healthy and fun activities for employees. Companies that sign up will be publicly listed as an organisation that puts employee wellbeing first”.
There are some pretty interesting findings related to employee wellbeing in Ireland. Here’s a few that jumped out at me:
- Only one in every three employees takes the recommended level of exercise for a healthy lifestyle each week
- Just 15% of employees said they had healthy food choices at work
- Two out of three employees are more likely to stay long-term with an employer who is interested in their wellbeing
Benefits for Employers and Employees
It’s time for employers and employees to give health and wellbeing the focus it deserves at the workplace. Even small changes can have a powerful impact on worker wellbeing over time. There is a general consensus now that a healthier workforce benefits both employers AND employees.
- Healthy employees tend to be happier and more productive employees
- Lowered company expenses due to better performing workers, lower absenteeism and reduced health care costs
- Improved wellbeing and job satisfaction equals better retention rates
- Employees more able to complete job responsibilities and more energy and vigor to give to family and friends (improved morale and motivation)
- Camaraderie amongst co-workers increases (team spirit)
Fun Wellbeing Ideas
On April 13th, employers are being asked to put a special focus on wellbeing through promoting existing and new initiatives available in their workplace as well as hosting special events for staff, such as the Lunchtime Mile. The Lunchtime Mile is a one mile cycle, jog, run, walk or swim for employees that employers are being encouraged to facilitate in the vicinity of their workplace. The mile is only one initiative, there are plenty more that the creative mind can devise but if you are struggling for healthy ideas to promote at work then fear not, I’ve put together a few suggestions:
- Wellness Talks: nutrition, physical wellbeing, workplace wellness
- Classes on site: bodyweight interval training, yoga, mindfulness
- Lunchtime group exercise: walk, run, 5 a side football
- Heart healthy cookery demonstration
- Healthy food choices in the canteen and in vending machines
- Organised nature walk
- Free fresh fruit for staff
What activities can you organise?
One off events are great and the wellbeing day is fantastic for pushing companies into action on one day in April, maybe even for the entire week. What’s really needed for a business to fully embrace wellness as part of their strategy and culture, for them to really see the benefits outlined above, is to make wellness activities part of business as usual. The best way to achieve this is with a documented wellness operating plan. This is a document that plots a schedule for the wellness initiatives for the coming months and years. One step at a time of course, but something to consider as you take part in Workplace Wellbeing Day 2018.
Leading by Example
We’re ahead of the curve in Ireland having a national day dedicated to the promotion of wellness in the workplace. Not everywhere can say the same. I was chatting recently with contacts of mine working in the wellness industry in the United States. Workplace wellbeing and corporate health programmes are more widespread in the U.S than they are in Ireland. Many organisations employ full time wellness professionals to manage their programmes and the Chief Wellbeing Officer role is appearing in more and more organisations.
Do they have a National Workplace Wellbeing Day though?
No. No they do not, so hats off to the FDI and Ibec for taking the initiative. All of my contacts across the water were in agreement that the U.S would need to “follow Ireland’s lead” on this one.
So what are you waiting for? If you have the authority to sign your business up then get to it straight away and start preparing for the day. If you’re an employee and you’re wondering why your organisation isn’t taking part then start asking the senior management team WHY NOT? You can SIGN UP in a matter of minutes.
There is no better way for employers and employees to interact, get healthy and have fun. Spread the word, take part and enjoy!
Yours in health,
P.S I love talking about wellness so feel free to drop me a line to discuss any of the above. I can also support your business with activities for Workplace Wellbeing Day 2018.
Contact me directly with any questions you may have: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Low Down
Brian Crooke is a wellness consultant and speaker specialising in the design, improvement and auditing of wellness initiatives for Irish businesses. He is the founder of Office Worker Health, a platform dedicated to promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace.
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