There’s a growing focus on the health of office workers, and it’s becoming common knowledge that investing in your employees’ mental, physical, and emotional wellness can actually save you money in the long run. But establishing a wellness program in your office isn’t simply about money. It’s also about creating an environment in which your staff can thrive and creating real outcomes that improve both their professional and personal lives.

The Benefits of Wellness Programs

For years, researchers have told us of the dangers of sitting for extended periods of time — specifically of how poor posture and staring at computer screens is hard on our bodies. IT workers, who spend the majority of their time at work using computers, this can be particularly hazardous. Your staff may experience headaches, back pain, weight gain, wrist injury, and other nasty side effects of office work. Fortunately, you can help mitigate some of this risk to their bodies.

A wellness program uses incentives to challenge workers to improve their health. Whether that’s joining a gym or taking a walk after every half hour on the clock, you can encourage your staff to take steps to establish and meet their health goals.

These programs benefit your company as well, of course. Not only is morale and performance improved if the workforce is healthier, but you’ll reduce sick time and the cost of healthcare for your employees. These preemptive health measures are not only helpful to IT workers, but to the company’s wellbeing as well.

The Implementation Process

Incentives can take a variety of forms. You can reward them based on the outcome of their efforts (x number of pounds lost, for instance), or even simply reward them when they take certain actions, such as walking a mile or spending 30 minutes doing certain exercises.

In order to decide which course you’d like your wellness program to take, you should organize a wellness committee. You can allow staff members to volunteer for the committee, or you can create a list of those you think would be best suited for it, and ask them if they’d like to take part. Committee members should be willing to take the initiative, have high energy, and truly believe in the core purpose of the program. You can always hold mock interviews to find the right fit, or send out an online questionnaire to get a feel for each employee’s position on the subject.

Once your committee is in place and you’ve decided how you’ll reward staff members participating in the wellness program, it’s time to decide how you’ll incentivize them. You can reduce their health insurance premiums or offer other financial incentives throughout the year. Other incentives include gift cards, paid time off, or small branded gifts like gym bags and water bottles.

Incentivized wellness programs save money for both employees and their company, and can dramatically improve the health and happiness of individual staff members. If your IT staff are experiencing the negative side effects of prolonged sitting and computer use, it may be time to introduce a healthy, cost-effective wellness program.

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