August is National Wellness Month—and with summer in full swing, there’s no better time to prioritize leading a healthy lifestyle.
Whether it’s focusing on self-care and stress management or building healthy habits for physical wellness, this special month encourages everyone to take a step back and focus on nurturing all aspects of holistic well-being.
But how can employers empower their workforces to embrace National Wellness Month, and why is it important in the first place?
Why Celebrate National Wellness Month at Work?
In today’s fast-paced and demanding work environment, it’s too easy for the lines between personal and professional lives to blur, leading to burnout and decreased productivity.
Gallup estimates that employee burnout results in $322 billion in lost productivity and turnover. Not only is this work-life imbalance bad for business, but it can also have a negative impact on employee health and well-being.
On the other hand, when employers prioritize the wellness of their employees, both parties can experience a number of benefits, including:
- Improved mental and physical health: Establishing a wellness routine and healthy habits are crucial in improving overall well-being as it allows employees to focus on their own unique needs.
- Enhanced company culture: When employees come to work happy and healthy, it improves collaboration and fosters a more positive company culture that helps everyone thrive.
- Increased engagement and productivity: Incorporating a mindfulness practice like yoga at work can boost engagement while simultaneously improving productivity.
- Increased retention and recruitment: Employers who prioritize overall health and well-being are highly attractive to top candidates, and their current employees are more likely to stay for at least two years.
August is also the perfect time for a renewed focus on wellness. As the days get shorter and the cold weather months approach, this transitionary period can lead to changes in daily routine that impact the mind and body—from daylight savings causing shifting sleep habits to back-to-school stress and flu immunizations.
Fortunately, there are a few ways employers can help alleviate this seasonal stress and develop a year-round wellness journey.
6 Workplace Health and Wellness Initiatives to Prioritize This Month
Here are the top 6 ways employers can promote healthy habits during National Wellness Month:
1. Champion Preventive Care
In addition to National Wellness Month, August is also home or close to a number of different health observances, including National Immunization Awareness Month. To spread awareness and encourage participation, employers can provide relevant incentives (i.e. gift cards, extra PTO days) for completing various preventive care tasks, like receiving flu shots or eye exams.
2. Promote Physical Activity
Exercise is widely known to be an effective stress management technique—but when employees spend eight hours at work each day, it can be difficult to find the time for physical activity. Setting aside time for short periods of exercise during the workday can be incredibly beneficial for employees’ physical and mental well-being.
3. Encourage Self-Care
Self-care can take a wide variety of forms, from deep breathing exercises to entire days dedicated to personal well-being. It’s important to encourage employees to take the time they need for themselves, especially when they exhibit signs of burnout.
To help, employers can consider offering mental health days so employees can get their healthy routines back on track.
4. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
From emotional regulation and mental health benefits to reductions in chronic pain, mindfulness meditation offers a host of positive benefits. Incorporating this wellness practice into daily workflows can be an excellent way to help employees manage and even overcome a wide range of mental health challenges as they surface.
5. Host a Work Social or Team Event
Social well-being is an often overlooked aspect of holistic wellness that employers can easily leverage in the workplace. Whether it’s a virtual coffee chat or in-person team-building events, hosting these social activities offers employees an essential sense of connection and community, especially during the warm summer months.
6. Spearhead a Seasonal Wellness Challenge
Wellness challenges are the perfect way to combine all of these aspects into a single activity. By setting goals and designing activities around healthy habits and behaviors, employers can boost engagement and foster a healthy sense of competition.
This is perfect for empowering the overall mental and physical well-being of workers while improving collaboration across the organization.
Help Your Employees Thrive During National Wellness Month
While workplace wellness initiatives can help improve targeted results, such as providing good nutrition and promoting healthy eating, it’s also important for employers to encourage well-being in other positive ways. For instance, recognizing hard work or strides in performance can go a long way in helping employees feel valued and respected.
Leaders can also encourage employees to take short walks during the day for some light exercise and physical activity. These small acts can create a culture that supports employee well-being inside and outside the workplace.
But mental health and wellness extend beyond the employee. To learn more about how the workplace can impact families, discover insights on how family mental health can impact workplace performance in our new guide, “The Ultimate Guide to Well-Being: Top Findings from 3 Industry-Leading Reports.”