More and more corporations and companies around the world are beginning to realize the benefits of creating a work environment which encourages health, wellness, and optimum fitness for their employees.
Around the world, more and more companies and corporations are adding fitness centers, healthier option vending machines, and other healthy lifestyle choices into the workplace to help their employees enjoy healthier lives and to boost productivity in the office place as well.
Here's some new health trends we're seeing in worksite wellness.
1. Fitness challenges and contests
Office marathons, obstacle course competitions, and other fitness contests are one big trend in the workplace today. These competitions are great ways to get employees to rally together, bond, and to encourage them to get more excited about exercise as well. Most offices offer a monetary reward for the winners and runners up in order to really get everyone to participate.
2. Flu shot and vaccination programs
More and more workplaces are bringing in on-site flu, measles, pneumonia, and shingles vaccination "mini-clinics" into the workplace to encourage patients to get inoculated in risky seasons. Such programs ensure productivity and help employees stay healthy at no additional cost to them. These programs have proven really effective at improving rates of employee absenteeism because of illness.
3. Nutrition/weight management education programs
More and more companies are offering education to address their employee's health issues such as high BMI, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Nutrition education classes and presentations are one way we're seeing workplaces encourage healthy eating as key to preventing all kinds of diseases and disorders from diabetes, to metabolic syndrome, to cardiovascular problems of all kind.
Such programs educate employees on how to eat lower carb, lower sugar, lower sodium, how to prepare healthy meals, and encourage prevention of protein and mineral deficiency by teaching them how to make blends, pure whey protein powder shakes, and juices made of a variety of vegetables.
4. Work out while you work: New "healthy desk" options
Standing desk and sit-stand desk options are a huge workplace trend. Sitting all day, as everyone is learning, is disastrous for health. So more and more workplaces are offering their employees these kinds of healthier desk options for their office or work station.
Huge conglomerates like Facebook and Twitter use standing desks because they know they can help them succeed in the marketplace. Such desks improve mental performance, morale, attitude, enjoyment of work, and productivity more than just about any new workplace trend that has been implemented.
There's research to back that up. A recent study conducted by the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at Texas A&M School of Public Health tested the effects of high schoolers using standing desks and the neurocognitive benefits were obvious, with test scores improving from 7 to 14%.
The study also revealed that using standing desk enhances neurogenesis and brain activity in the prefrontal cortex, where executive function is controlled. Such enhanced cognitive skills are a goldmine for workplaces seeking to gain a competitive edge.
Many offices are also offering one or more treadmill desk options for employees wanting to get a little exercise and a lift in energy, without missing workplace updates or important emails. These standing desks are fitted with laptops that allows employees to work out while working.
5. Health coaching and therapy
Another big trend proven to enhance mental performance is on site, face-to-face wellness coaching and therapy. The benefits of these programs are myriad with employees breaking down health and psychological barriers preventing them from being their most productive and happy selves.
As said Fiona Gathright, Maryland-based president and CEO of Wellness Corporate Solutions L.L.C. notes, "The focus is on participants' goals and desires for changes," she said. "Empowering employees to change their behaviors and lower their health risk is where the focus is" with these kinds of coaching programs.
Experts note that for most companies that begin a coaching venture to lower their bottom line, the ultimate benefit gained is that they retain a healthier, happier workforce.
Companies are finding that investing in wellness programs like these is helping them to save money and reap rewards in the marketplace, boosting company performance overall. Indeed, by implementing more wellness-enhancing support options for employees, companies are reaping financial benefits beyond measure because these programs reduce insurance premiums, medical costs, short-term disability costs, workers comp claims, and improve mental performance, productivity, loyalty, and employee satisfaction levels.
About the Author
Gerry Morton is the CEO of EnergyFirst, holds an MS in Nutrition and is an experienced athlete who has competed in 30+ marathons and 4 Ironman triathlons. Gerry is an excellent source of information on nutrition, supplementation and exercise.
He is known for offering the world's best tasting, highest quality, all natural, premium nutrition products such as pure whey protein powder, energy bar, green drinks etc. Read his blog at http://blog.energyfirst.com. Twitter: @EnergyFirst