Introducing wellness into the workplace

Wellness in employees is recognizing that they have a responsibility to take care of themselves emotionally, psychologically, and physically. Exercising, maintaining healthy relationships, and eliminating unhealthy behaviours all contribute to well-being.

There are many factors, both in and out of the workplace, that can negatively affect an employee’s well-being. Within the workplace those factors include:

  • Job insecurity
  • Excessive pressure
  • Work-life imbalance
  • Lack of appreciation
  • Hostile workplace conditions
  • Unsatisfactory job or workload
  • Unpleasant relationships with colleagues or managers

It’s important for employers and employees alike to be able to recognize these factors and work together to eliminate any barriers to an employee maintaining a state of well-being.

But how do you let employees know that their well-being is important to you?

The simplest way is to introduce the concept at a team meeting. Define what wellness is – how it isn’t just about physical health or mental health, but about being aware and mindful of your health as a whole. It’s about making choices every day toward leading a healthy, happy life.

Encourage your employees to come to you at any time with concerns, acknowledging that not all employees will feel comfortable opening up about their struggles. It is also important to take cultural mores into consideration and find an approach that reflects the diversity in your workplace.

Talk to your employees about how you manage your own wellness. You don’t have to reveal personal information, but employees will feel more comfortable talking about their situation if they know the person they are talking to understands. Share the tools and resources you use to keep yourself well, such as meditation, exercise, or meeting with a counsellor.

Let employees know about any programs your business offers that can help with wellness, such as an Employee Assistance Program, or access to mental wellness professionals, dieticians, counsellors etc. Use our printables and display them within the workplace to help demonstrate your commitment to improving workplace wellness.

Give employees the opportunity to share their concerns in a safe, confidential environment. If you already hold one-on-one meetings, they are the perfect opportunity to ask an employee how they are doing. Just asking about an employee’s state of wellbeing can make them feel cared for and valued. It’s important not to underestimate the power of simply asking someone how they are.

Put a Workplace Wellness Policy in place, breaking down all the ways you are working to help employees improve their wellness. You can also lay out the responsibilities of supervisors and employees in ensuring that wellness is a priority in the workplace.

A Respectful Workplace Statement can help to reinforce that your workplace values diversity, inclusion, fairness, equality, kindness, and thoughtfulness. Feeling respected and valued are central to an employee’s sense of wellness when they are at work. You can use our respectful workplace poster as a visual reminder to employees of how you wish them to behave.

Wellness in the workplace can only be achieved if everyone concerned is actively involved in ensuring a safe and healthy work environment. Getting buy-in from managers, supervisors, and staff may be difficult at times, but the pay-off, in terms of having happy, healthy, productive employees will be more than worth it.

Brought to you by CFIB's Wellness Hub - a wealth of help, information, and resources