As the true benefits of corporate wellness programmes become even clearer, companies all over Singapore are trying to implement their own versions to boost wellness among their employees. Wellness programmes benefit businesses in a multitude of ways, from achieving higher employee productivity and morale, to reducing healthcare costs and sick days across the company.
But while some companies have enormous budgets to dedicate to wellness and employee benefits, other businesses must look for innovative new ways to implement wellness schemes that won’t break the bank. These smaller companies must find cost-effective methods of enhancing productivity, reducing injuries and illnesses among staff and increasing morale and loyalty across the workforce.
Luckily, there are plenty of pioneering ways in which businesses with smaller budgets can develop corporate wellness programmes that have a positive impact. Here are just a few of the ways you can bring wellness into your workplace efficiently.
Cheap or free healthy snacks for employees
Many companies spend large amounts on vending machines offering their employees a whole range of sugary or salty snacks for when their energy levels dip in the afternoon. But constantly snacking on these unhealthy foods can lead to crashes in blood sugar, which leaves staff feeling low and unproductive. Why not take out the vending machines and replace them with a host of healthy snacks and treats? These could be offered completely free, or at a significantly reduced cost. Buying these healthy alternatives in bulk can be much more cost-effective than the constant restocking and maintenance required with vending machines – and your employees will thank you for it.
Lunchtime walking programmes
Choose a member of staff each day to lead a brisk lunchtime walk around the local area. It doesn’t have to be the same staff member each day – there could be a rota system where everyone takes turns in planning out a route and leading the walk. The culture of eating lunch at your desk is huge in Singapore, but it pays to take a break to get some fresh air and light exercise. When staff return for the afternoon, they’ll be energised and refreshed, rather than feeling sluggish and tired.
Create certain zones in your workplace where employees can go to relax and get away from the potential stress of their job. Make sure no phones, laptops or tablets are brought into this area – it should be tech-free to avoid people taking work calls or checking emails. Staff should be free to do as they please here: they could do some simple yoga stretches, have fun office games, spend fifteen minutes reading a book, chat with colleagues or meditate quietly on their own for a short while.
Water coolers or free bottled water
We all know that water is essential in keeping us healthy and productive. By positioning more water coolers around your workplace, you can encourage your staff to stay hydrated as much as possible throughout the day. You could also offer a free bottle of water each day for staff when they enter the office, allowing them to refill it regularly at the aforementioned water coolers.
Be flexible with ergonomics
Offer all of your staff members the opportunity to use ergonomic desks, chairs and computer equipment. If your staff are using poorly-designed equipment every day, they could be straining their backs or necks, as well as risking injuries to their wrists while typing and clicking. You should also offer employees the chance to switch to standing desks if they choose. Sedentary lifestyles are one of the biggest threats to productivity in Singapore. Standing up while working for just one hour per day can raise the heartrate, burn calories and improve posture.
Greenery in the workplace
The recycled air in air-conditioned offices can make many employees feel sluggish and lethargic. Introducing plenty of plants into the office space will not only provide an oxygen boost, it could also boost productivity. Staff working in an environment with lots of plants are more productive and less stressed than those who worked in an office without any greenery.
If you have a corporate reward or incentive scheme, choose some health-based rewards for your staff. If they hit a certain target, they could be rewarded with a cloud9 massage, a gym membership, a high-tech fitness tracker or discount on their healthcare perks. You should also look to praise and reward the personal successes of your employees. If a staff member loses weight, runs their first 5k, breaks a bad habit or successfully avoid unhealthy foods for a certain amount of time, they should be rewarded with some sort of incentive.
Pets in the workplace
It doesn’t cost anything to allow your staff to bring in their pets. Being around animals has been proven to reduce stress dramatically. Have a ‘bring your pet to work’ day quarterly or monthly, and consider introducing fish tanks and small aquariums around the office. Encourage staff to feed the fish (on a rotation schedule, of course, or they’ll become overfed) and allow the soothing sound of water to help your employees relax.
Offer flexible working
Flexible working is one of the biggest trends in the world of business right now, with millions of employees taking up the opportunity to work from home if necessary. This is an especially important wellness perk for parents, who may need more flexibility in their schedules than the regular 9am – 6pm workday. Flexible working has been proven to boost productivity – employees who are given control of their own schedule have shown that they can produce the same amount of work in less time, and often to a higher quality. Flexible working doesn’t cost much to implement – consider a small trial of selected employees before you roll it out to the entire workforce.