Health and Wellness in the Workplace

Staying healthy can be a good way to prevent substance abuse as well as a helpful tool for those in recovery from addiction. In a 2012 article from Forbes, Judy Martin claimed that stress in the workplace is a 300 billion dollar problem for employee's nationally, according to the World Health Organization. Aside from preventing addiction, a health and wellness plan could also create a happier and more productive work environment. So, what can workplaces do to keep their employees healthy, both physically and mentally?

Exercise

Exercise is a natural and healthy way to release stress,  which is a major cause of addiction. Workplace stress can make people feel anxiety, stress, depression and even anger. It is a healthy outlet for dealing with these emotions. Exercise is not only physically beneficial but mentally helpful as well.  To encourage their employees to exercise, workplaces can

  • Build a gym or provide exercise equipment at their workplaces
  • Offer employees information on exercise tips
  • Help pay for their employees’ gym memberships
  • Hire fitness instructors to lead classes at the workplace
  • Organize a group to attend fitness classes after work or on weekends
  • Create walking clubs that allow the employees to walk during meal times and breaks

 

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Diet and Nutrition

Eating right and maintaining a proper weight may also prevent disease and strengthen bodies. Healthy eating is physically beneficial and could also produce feelings of happiness. Mental wellness and healthy eating go hand in hand. To promote good nutrition, workplaces can

  • Offer healthy food choices in their cafeterias, break rooms, and vending machines
  • Help pay for employee memberships at weight loss centers
  • Host meetings of weight loss programs at their workplaces
  • Offer incentives to employees who lose weight, quit smoking, or exercise regularly

Holistic Practices

What are holistic practices? They are practices that aim to balance the body, mind, and spirit. Holistic practices such as yoga, meditation, massage and acupuncture can all be effective ways to combat addiction and promote health and wellness. Workplaces can incorporate holistic practices by

  • Reimbursing employees for holistic treatments such as acupuncture
  • Hiring a yoga instructor to lead sessions at their workplaces
  • Hiring a massage therapist to visit your office
  • Mental wellness exercises
  • Playing soothing music in work spaces
  • Setting aside a room where people can meditate or reflect
  • Offering resources and instructions for holistic practices

Education

Teaching your employees about health and wellness and learning about their health concerns can create a healthier workplace. This could also create comfort and trust between employees and HR. When your employees are willing to open about health issues, they may be more inclined to open up about their addictions.  Education on health and wellness encourages positive self-development.

To educate workers, employers can

  • Hold health and wellness workshops for employees
  • Hold addiction education workshops for employees
  • Distribute health and wellness information along with health insurance information
  • Provide health and wellness resources in print and electronic formats
  • Create open-door policies that allow employees to discuss health and wellness topics

Why is good health so important?

The implementation of even some of these strategies could help your employees learn about the benefits of health and wellness practices. Healthiness promotes happiness. Employees are less likely to be stressed, turn to drugs or alcohol and not as likely to miss work when they are healthy and not abusing substances. Healthy employees are also more productive.  If your employees see the value of mental and physical health, they may be more inclined to incorporate these practices into their everyday lives.