What you need to know about promoting health & wellbeing in the workplace

What you need to know about promoting health & wellbeing in the workplace

“You’re in the Health and Wellbeing industry? Interesting, so how do you find clients? Do you just look for workplaces with fat staff?”

This question followed a tap on my shoulder from a new acquaintance at a business event recently. This being an interesting way to make an introduction, I thought.

Weight is an easy target to see and has been the darling of media attention for years now, so this question did not surprise me but confirmed the need to ramp up and clarify what health & wellbeing, and the promotion of it, encompasses; and it has little to do with isolating an individual’s weight.

So I took a deep breath and a quick glance over my new acquaintance – let’s call him Max, – and made a few assumptions of my own as I replied with “well, health & wellbeing is different for everybody. Some people like yourself who are slim could be unhealthy because they get no exercise. Or, they could have decided that smoking is no longer acceptable to them. Maybe their continually messy house is driving them nuts, with them wanting order and neatness. Not having a decent dinner each evening could be getting them down, or perhaps their bursts of anger are causing remorse. The ‘what’ you will find is different for everyone, but once that something is no longer acceptable to an individual, applied effort to change their current behaviour is needed. So, no, I don’t target workplaces with a particular type of staff, I work with organisations that understand an individual’s health and wellbeing is uniquely personal and are willing to offer support on that journey.”

Contemplative silence followed…

“Well, you hit about four nails on the head for me” responded ‘Max’, “Can I take your card to give to my boss? – There’s a few in my office I think could do with that kind of help from you.”

Now it is unlikely ‘Max’ will address whatever his four nails are today but going forward with a new understanding of what is health and wellbeing (and knowing he is responsible for addressing it himself), ‘Max’ may for the first time notice a poster about the damages of smoking.

Or he may see people are walking with intent and a smile at lunch.

Smells from the breakroom might pique an interest to google a recipe or a local cooking class; ‘Max’ will have received a message that hits one of his proverbial nails a little harder on the head than last time – this is health and wellbeing promotion in action.

Moreover, the key to successful health and wellbeing promotion in the workplace is the relevancy and understanding your staff obtain from the information and resources promoted or displayed. This is what will encourage your employees to engage in their health & wellbeing.

That conversation with ‘Max’ may very well of triggered a jump from pre-contemplation to contemplation when you look at the transtheoretical model of change; the foundation model of change behind the various Healthy Happy Staff programs.

So this is where you, the astute business manager/HR Advisor/Wellbeing Consultant or caring workplace peer can be a covert player in linking individual change with your workplace health & wellbeing program. Health promotion activities such as newsletters, posters, and flyers, holding live demonstrations with enthusiastic presenters (such as myself…), workshopping health & wellbeing policies and the likes, can encourage your staff to move from pre-contemplative, “I can’t” or “I don’t“, to “I may” or “I will” statements.

Your staff and colleagues will move into the action stages of change without them even realising it has happened, but as they suddenly become enthused, change their vocabulary and make collaborative plans for team health and wellbeing activities, you will notice the difference. Most importantly, because the message ‘Max’ received wasn’t manipulative or forceful, but rather ‘his’ idea, the message will resonate longer and louder, gaining more traction than if you suddenly mandated a food policy that excluded chips and chocolates from the workplace.

FYI -that is instant revolt material!

So you see, it can all start with your health and wellbeing promotion efforts – think of yourself as the silent subconscious stalker – the welcomed kind of stalker, that is…

So then what?

What happens after your health and wellbeing promotion efforts have worked and your staff have identified a particular nail to address?

Often workplace wellbeing programs target a specific area, be it nutrition, physical activity, stress management or quit smoking programs. That is fine if your staffing teams are made up of the same type of people facing the same health and wellbeing issues. However, a program that allows the individual to tailor and personalise their health & wellbeing journey is more likely to result in more of your employees undertaking their desired behaviour change, together.

Once the journey towards becoming Healthy Happy Staff commences, you will see some changes in your our co-workers. They will face their roles and responsibilities, play a lead role in constructive conversations, nourish themselves with quality over quantity, take every opportunity to move and find themselves smiling – a lot.

This change will also concurrently increase your organisation’s bottom line. The Healthy & Happy Me program is designed to give your staff the knowledge, skills, and experience to create an intentional life for themselves, disrupting the water cooler ‘woe is me’ discussions and increasing productivity!

Healthy Happy Staff - promotional poster collection

To support you, support your organisation’s health and wellbeing promotion efforts we a great little video we would love to share and a colourful range of promotional posters for your workplace – no obligation either, just send us an email with your postal address.

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