Why Does a Wellness Program Matter?

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why-does-a-wellness-program-matterPeople are happier and more productive when they are healthy. Being healthy doesn’t happen by accident. Eating right, exercising, spending time with family and friends, having good hygiene, and seeing your doctor/dentist once a year are all things that contribute to your health.

A Culture of Wellness

We spend 40 or more hours a week at work. Doesn’t it make sense that part of our contribution to health comes from our employer? Every employer should have some type of wellness program, whether it’s a company-paid membership to a local gym, providing fresh fruit and healthy snacks, or friendly contests in the office that encourage everyone to be healthy. You’ve heard the phrase “Happy wife, happy life?” Well, the same goes for the office: “Happy employees, happy company.”

No one likes to miss work because of being sick. None of your coworkers wants you to come to work if you are sick, because then everyone is exposed to your illness. Flu season is dreaded by everyone. If everyone in the office is healthy and practicing a healthy lifestyle, their immune systems will be stronger and better able to ward off the nasty bugs during the winter season. The office can be a breeding ground for germs and illness.

Cleanliness is Essential

A “wellness culture” doesn’t stop with individual employees practicing a healthy lifestyle; cleanliness plays a factor as well. If everyone works together to keep the company’s kitchen and the bathroom clean, this cuts down on the amount of germs being spread throughout the office. Instituting a strict hand washing policy is another great way to cut down on germs being spread. You might think a hand washing policy is just for food service employees or young children, but you would be shocked and amazed to know how many adults don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom. How many people also cough and sneeze into their hands, then don’t wash their hands…not to mention those who don’t cover their mouths at all. With so many people touching the same surfaces all day, wouldn’t you want to wash your hands often? A test was conducted in which a harmless virus was placed on one or two surfaces in an office building, hotel rooms, and a health care facility. Within four hours, 40-60 percent of sampled surfaces in the buildings (light switches, tabletops, coffee pot handles, doorknobs, etc.) were contaminated with the virus.

There are 400 times more bacteria on our desks than in the bathroom. Your phone, keyboard, mouse, copy machine, elevator buttons, coffee pot handle, and microwave buttons all are likely festering with germs and bacteria.

Taking vitamins during cold and flu season is a great way to help boost your immune system. Keeping plenty of Vitamin C-rich fruits in the kitchen or employee lounge will help encourage healthier choices as well. Strategically placing hand sanitizer throughout your office is a great way to kill the germs that may have already spread. Employees have reported that company-funded flu shots are appreciated, and they are more likely to get a flu shot if the company has a nurse come to the office, so they can avoid making a trip to a doctor or pharmacy.

Whether your business is large or small, a company culture of wellness is important, to both the employees and the business.

Contact the author directly at nicole.lyde@staffone.com.