Whilst making our annual trip to the Goa Office this February, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Danzil Fernandes, a QA Analyst for SJInnovation, who also works as a wellness coordinator. We discussed the implementation of a wellness programme for employees and how beneficial it can be to companies of all sizes. As he points out, our younger years are full of activity, but often as adults, we find ourselves sitting in sedentary jobs accompanied by busy lives, passively watching our health slowly decline. Six months ago, Danzil Fernandes decided to take his health into his own hands and join an office cricket team. Upon initially joining the team he weighed 90 kilograms however by making healthier lifestyle choices and engaging with fitness regularly, he has lost 5 kilograms thus far.
Benefits of Promoting Wellness for Employees
The experience of personal transformation opened his eyes to the benefits of promoting wellness programs on a wider scale e.g. at work. Even though some colleagues were initially hesitant of his movement towards a healthier lifestyle, believing it to be a passing trend, he persevered by exercising regularly and continuing to make sustainable choices. Soon the changes were apparent as he and those around him began to notice a significant improvement in his energy levels. He no longer felt lethargic throughout the workday and even found an increase in his focus levels. Exercising in the morning causes chemical releases in the brain that are scientifically proven to:
- Increase focus on work and other tasks
- Make healthier food choices throughout the day
- Increase alertness in meetings
- Improve mood and ability to solve problems
- Control appetite and blood glucose
- Better overall health
- Improve sleep for better productivity
Even though wellness programmes are still somewhat taboo in the eyes of many companies and their employees, Danzil Fernandes is working hard to change that perception. He devised a way to promote the badminton team to the office by using banners and posters and watched the team quickly grow from two to seven players. By encouraging employees to play as part of a team, they quickly realised that fitness is enjoyable and accessible to all. Personal wellness was no longer an imagined concept but an experienced reality as the benefits were firsthand.
Employees experiencing these health benefits, will consequently benefit your company in the long run. Not only will healthier employees lead to increased productivity, but they will also miss less time due to health issues thus saving the company money on insurance costs.
Small Changes Lead to Big Rewards
Danzil Fernandes explains, by changing misconceptions around company wellness programmes there will be wider acceptance of implementing small changes. When discussing ideas even in the smallest context, you have planted a seed in that person’s mind. The idea may be rejected at first but with time, like a tree, it can grow into something big. By spacing out the wellness meetings to every couple of days, Danzil Fernandes is exerting small influences that are slowly but surely growing.
It is simple to find large step-by-step guides to implement changes for large corporations. But there are many ways a company can make smaller changes as an incentive for employees to pay better attention to their health. To find the best programs for your team, consider trying the following:
- Send out an employee survey asking them for their input on their needs, goals, and what they would like to see in a wellness program.
- Study workplace culture. For instance, if you see many people on your team eating junk for lunch, offering a healthy snack bar in the employee lounge will help curb those junk food cravings. If there are a lot of smokers on your team, think of ways to motivate them to quit.
- Offer wellness challenges with rewards for the highest achievers. For instance, a special gift for the individual with the highest step count weekly/monthly.
- Have a little fun by offering wellness adventures. This could include everyone on the team going for a walk in the middle of the day or taking part in a game of tag at lunch.
- If you have the space available, create a wellness room where groups or individuals can go to do yoga, use fitness equipment, or just stretch out and relax for a few minutes throughout the day.
- Implement a community outreach program where your team volunteers at a local clinic, garden, school, or any physical activity that gives back.
These are just a few of the ideas out there to boost your employees’ focus on wellness. Ultimately, the program your business implements will be based on what your employees want, what the company can afford, and how creative your team can be to implement the program.
One more important factor in any company wellness and exercise plan is to ensure employees feel comfortable and not judged. Encourage them to think less about what they cannot do and instead, think more about boosting their confidence by focusing on the things they can do. Congratulating their willingness to try is key to keeping participants motivated to do more. Finding ways to increase joy and laughter for all the team members is also a vital component to making these healthy lifestyle changes sustainable.
At SJ Innovation, we are committed to connecting you with the resources you need to help your business thrive. We strive to provide a holistic approach to find the right solutions for your needs. Whether you are looking for quality assurance, mobile and web applications, or graphic design, we are confident we can find the best package to fit your needs and your budget. Contact us today to get started!