By Josh Lambert
As November strikes us with a bang, the reality of a sprint-to-the-finish-line conclusion to the year begins.
For many of our wellness partners, this not only signals the need to start measuring the effectiveness of their wellness programme for the current calendar year or previous financial year – but also the need to start preparing to engage and inspire employees to be healthy and well for 2018, and beyond. And all whilst going to Spring Carnival events, Christmas parties and more….
Therefore, this is an opportune time to share some expert insights that we have gained from planning and delivering wellness calendars for the many organisations and buildings that we consult. More to the point, insights into how to actually make these programmes exciting, motivating and effective to ensure your staff or tenants want to participate and improve the wellness culture in your workplace.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
One of the most sought-after and rewarding health initiatives that we deliver are skin cancer checks for employees and tenants in a range of settings – and the upsides to detecting a serious melanoma or skin lesion are literally life-changing for the people involved. However, engagement of participants in skin cancer checks can vary significantly for a range of reasons, and a seemingly-obvious variable to get right is delivering skin checks at a time of the year when employees actually see the sun. The same goes for any part of a wellness calendar – matching your wellness initiative with the appropriate time of the year will increase participation, as it is relevant and in context.
Wellness Calendars will often involve a mix of staple health initiatives such as flu vaccinations and health checks, and some more stimulating and educational items such as wellness seminars, exercise or meditation classes and expos. Throwing in some fun and innovative ideas is crucial in getting the attention of your staff or tenants to consider participating in the first place. Consider balancing or prefixing the “standard fixtures” of your programme with some ideas from left field – such as pedal-powered smoothie makers, foyer Zumba classes, health skill tester challenges, employee manicures, table tennis competitions and anything you can think of that gets people involved.
Along the same lines as the above – is there anyone these days that doesn’t like to know how many steps they have taken, kilometres they have cycled, hours they have slept, calories they have consumed, etc etc? Probably – but increasingly so, the average employee’s thirst for knowledge these days is a big motivator for them to engage in healthy activities in the first place. Technology can be used for “wow” factor in health initiatives, and also appeal to the data analyst in all of us – we have engaged innovations such as Heath ATMs (health score and key metrics in a few minutes), online platforms and apps that generate curiosity and interest from a wide population. Even the wellness calendar itself can be accessed by an interactive app with notifications that entice employees.
ACTIVATE WORK SPACES
Nothing shows a company or building’s commitment to encouraging a healthy and well culture, like physically living and breathing wellness in full view of the workplace. Foyer pilates classes, seated massage, meditation meeting rooms, roaming healthy snack suppliers – there are so many ways to deliver aspects of your health programme that showcase various parts of your building (from break-out areas to end-of-trip facilities). Activating these spaces is essentially marketing for your wellness programme and building layout, but also showing the workplace that you expect a positive attitude towards being healthy.
LINK WITH NATIONAL OR INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVES
Finally – it’s a good idea to mirror at least a few of your wellness calendar initiatives with the corresponding “Health Week” or relate your workplace focus areas to those of the broader Australian or global population. Examples of these can be Heart Health Checks in Heart Health Month, Mental Health Initiatives in Mental Health Week, and fun events such as National Ride2Work Day that already have large reach, marketing material and awareness campaigns that can help promote and engage.