It’s time! January 29th, 2014, by Ken Buckley

This time of year is the perfect time for launching workplace health and wellness activities. All the ideal conditions are present: motivation, perceived need and availability.

Motivation: your employees are pumped and primed for a health boost. Their New Years resolutions are still fresh and their intentions are strong.

Perceived need: many are feeling the effects of a more relaxed approach to diet and exercise over the holidays, and are ready to clean up their act a bit and get back in shape.

Availability: this week, everyone’s back at work, now that school has finally gone back. It’s heads-down, sure but without the intense end-of-year deadlines.

So, with these ripe conditions, what do most health and wellness managers do at the end of January?

They plan. They strategise. They hold workshops. They fill in Excel worksheets, mapping out goals and strategies and tactics.

All with the right intentions, of course. All important stuff — every successful health and wellness program needs a strategic plan.

But as a result, the momentum is lost. The prime conditions fade, resolutions lose their resolve and employees slowly fall back into their old habits.

This year, see if you start the action a little earlier. Leverage off this fresh new energy of the fresh new year to create a real buzz and energy around your program.

It doesn’t have to be big or sophisticated action — just some high energy, high visibility changes can make a difference.
Here are some ideas to start you off:

1. Go straight into a health campaign.

  •  Campaigns can be individual challenges or team-based challenges, around a central theme. At Healthworks, we offer campaigns around nutrition, exercise, stress management and sleep.

2. If you’re not ready for a campaign right now, create your own low-cost activity.

  • Organise a team shared lunch (called potluck in the US): every Friday (for example), everyone brings in a healthy dish to share. Alternatively, if you have several teams in the one site, each week a different team makes and brings in shared lunch for everyone.
  • Organise walking groups or running groups to encourage people to exercise at lunch or before/ after work.

3. Get some eBooks or booklets on their desk.

You can order health eBooks and get them to your employees in a very short space of time. Or, if you want more “cut-through”, choose some printed booklets.

4. Put up inspiring posters.

  • You could use one of our posters for a more targeted approach, or just print up some inspirational quotes from the internet on A3.
  • Make sure you brand it with your health and wellness program, so people know what it’s all about.

4. Re-energise your wellness champions (see the Three Cs of creating employee support).

  • These are employees from all levels who are personally interested in health and wellness. They help spread the word and encourage their peers to get involved (among other important jobs).
  • Get them together (in real life or online) and get their ideas while giving them some fresh ideas and encouragement.

5. Ask employees what they want.

  • What would inspire them this year? Give them a list of activities/ events/ benefits you could feasibly do and ask them which they like the most. While your program should be based around the results from your Personal Health Assessment  and other analyses, asking for opinions (and then delivering!) is a great way to boost engagement.

6. Celebrate success.

  •  It’s not too late to recognise achievements from 2013 (or even from January!). Consider awarding a team who was the most engaged last year, or perhaps a team leader who inspired their team.

 

“We have a strategic plan. It’s called ‘doing things.’ – Herb Kelleher, CEO Southwest Airlines

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