Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Play at Work

On top of health insurance benefits packages, as has become a standard in the workplace now, there is a growing trend among employers and business managers to take their interest in their employees' health even further. Doing what you can to secure the well being of your employees is a win win situation: it's beneficial to employees because it ensures that their health is upheld, and that in turn is beneficial to employers because a healthy, satisfied, and fulfilled employee is likely to be far more productive than one who is laden with ailments and resentment towards a supervisor who is pushing them beyond their physical limits.
The creativity of workplaces in meeting their goal of catering to the health of their staff is impressive. It is common now for companies and organizations (such as hospitals and schools) to use professional days, or time allotted to professional development, to that end. Where that time used to be filled with presentations and activities directly linked to workplace productivity, some of that time has been reassigned to staff wellness. If you are interested in organizing something like this in your workplace, one format that works well for a large staff is to have various sessions that cover a range of interests set up, that staff can sign up for as they please. You may, for example, have stations set up for sports and hobbies, so that people can spend the afternoon engaging in an activity that excites them, that they may not get to engage in often. You could also have stations devoted to activities like yoga, exercise, or even presentations on nutrition and mental health. You could even have a tea room, or a healthy cooking class. There is no limit to the number of themes and ideas you could introduce; if your employees will enjoy it and come away from it refreshed, then it counts towards wellness.
If you have a smaller staff, stations may be harder to coordinate. In this case, deciding on a “wellness-promoting” activity together may be the way to go. But there's also a really cool piece of software you could introduce to the workplace intended to promote workplace health, and it would work well with any number of people. It's called Keas. The way it works is that staff form teams and engage in competition with each other for points, which are earned through various activities: taking quizzes related to nutrition, taking work breaks to combat stress, and setting (and meeting) goals each week for healthier eating (especially including more fruits and vegetables). The cost for the software is $12 per year per user, which comes out to a dollar a month. It's economical, novel, and fun. It may be worth considering if you're in a workplace health rut.


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