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Why All Companies Should Support Employee Health and Wellness

By Kelly Ryan

 

There are always excuses as to why health and wellness goes on the back burner:


  • My company is too small.

  • My company is too large.

  • I’ve tried before and it doesn’t work.

  • My staff don’t appreciate it.

  • I don’t have time.

  • Plus a gazillion other reasons. . . 


But employee health and wellness is of the utmost importance, no matter the size and culture of your company


Current situation


In Newfoundland and Labrador, we have an obesity epidemic, and with it come many physical and mental health issues and a decrease in energy and performance.

According to Statistics Canada,

  • Obesity increased from 43.3 percent to 48.6 percent between 2016 and 2021.

  • Fruit and vegetable consumption (at or more than five times per day) decreased from 18.3 percent to 11.9 percent between 2016 and 2021.

  • Perceived fair or poor health increased from 11.8 percent to 13.7 percent between 2017 and 2021.

  • Perceived fair or poor mental health increased from 5.4 percent to 12.1 percent between 2016 and 2021.


People are not taking care of themselves, obesity is on the rise, and physical and mental health are suffering.


I’m not saying it is a company’s responsibility to ensure that their employees are healthy; however, we spend many of our waking hours at work, and it is good business sense for a company to support the health and wellness of their employees. In fact, the value on the investment (whether time or money) comes back to the company in spades.


The link between health and energy, creativity, productivity


Supporting your employees’ (and your) health and wellness can make a huge difference to their energy, creativity, focus, and productivity that will in turn affect your bottom line.

Did you know that our brains are made up of about 70 to 75 percent water? Just by drinking water we can help our mood, creativity, and productivity! But sleep, exercise, stress, mindset, and [KR3] nutrients can make an impact too.


For instance, your levels of Vitamin B and D can impact your mood and mental health, and these aren’t the only factors. Exercise not only moves these nutrients around your body, but gets oxygen and water to your brain and increases your serotonin and dopamine, which are feel-good hormones that help you sleep. So it’s all one big circle.


Culture


“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” –Peter Drucker


Your company culture can be a strategic asset. Creating a culture of health and wellness will attract like-minded people to your company. The ones who want to be healthy, fun, creative, and involved will want to work there.


You get this culture by living your message as a leader, encouraging and inspiring, humanizing the health and wellness culture, having wellness champions or buddies, posting regular reminders, and generally making healthy living a part of the work environment.

This culture is the foundation, but it’s okay if you are not there yet. It’s important to just start.

Solopreneurs and small business owners


As a solopreneur or small business owner, you can start by taking care of yourself, which will help your company and make you an inspiration for others.


As a small business owner, you can start building health and wellness into your culture as you grow. The easiest way is to document changes as you make them.


Large enterprises


The good news is that, as a larger enterprise, you can have a team to help you, but change will take longer (a full paradigm shift generally takes five years).

Again, you can start with yourself. While you are helping yourself feel great, you will be an inspiration to others. Then use a single department to start a pilot project.


How do I start to make changes?


Honestly, just start somewhere, especially if it’s just you as a solopreneur. As you grow, you can survey employees to see what they are interested in and what they feel helps the most.


Here are some easy ways to start:

  • Live a healthy lifestyle yourself.

  • Put up posters and share information.


Encourage health and wellness by making events healthy:

o   walking meetings / coffee

o   healthy lunches instead of pizza lunches or beers after work

o   fun healthy activities (anywhere from having a good old-fashioned sports day to a paint night)

o   fun healthy challenges, live talks, cooking demos, and workshops


Pair people up as wellness buddies (if they want) for accountability purposes.

As you create changes, visions, and goals, document them.


The bottom line


Creating a health and wellness culture will help your company by attracting like-minded people and supporting them to be at their best at work as well as at home.



Kelly Ryan is on a mission to help employees level up their energy and wellness through health and wellness program audit and design, fun cooking demos, and health and wellness talks, so that they feel productive at work and have energy for fun at home.

She is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert, and Certified Virtual Coach helping tech companies level up their health and wellness through a fun and practical approach.

Kelly graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute, owned her own restaurant in her hometown of St. John’s, Newfoundland, and has a background in policy and auditing.

When Kelly is not hosting live talks and cooking classes or helping with corporate wellness plans, she is spending time hiking, camping, or playing video games with her husband and two awesome kiddos.


Contact Kelly Ryan at Nerd Mom Nutrition, 709-764-4383, Kelly@NerdMomNutrition.com


 

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