5 Nutrition Based Corporate Wellness Programs
Employee wellness programs are an organized set of activities designed for employee wellbeing to make and / or maintain a voluntary behavior change that helps in reducing their health risks and / or enhance their ability to function better.
Is there a need for a corporate wellness programs to be initiated by the companies? Do these employee wellness plans really prove to be beneficial?
Well, when employees spend one third of their day almost 5 to 6 days a week at work, such programs need to be initiated by the companies. These high corporate jobs come with responsibilities and stress associated with it. This stress can be due to high expectations at work, job promotions, loss or changes. In the beginning the stress may not affect the employees’ health to a great extent but over a period of time it may have a great impact on the health and well-being of the employees thereby affecting the productivity of the organization. In response to the stress, the body reacts automatically by increasing the blood pressure, heart rate, metabolism, mood related or emotional eating which leads to unwanted weight gain and obesity, deranged blood sugar and lipid levels to name a few.
The above mentioned health related problems developed due to stress can still be prevented or controlled if proper measures are taken by the companies for their employees benefit. This can only be done if employee health and wellness programs are initiated by the companies as a part of their companies’ employee health benefit scheme.
COMPANY’S ROLE IN EMPLOYEE HEALTH
The physical and mental health and wellbeing of the employees is very important for the progress of the company. Work related stress is inevitable but, companies can take small measures that help employees reduce their stress and improve their health. Employers today are recognizing the link between employee health and their productivity and hence are looking out for wellness corporate solutions. Good health starts with good nutrition. Hence, corporate wellness nutrition programs help the employees be at their best. Listed below are a few areas in which these wellness nutrition programs work:
1. Cafeteria Management: Stress related eating or emotional eating can lead to many health complications. Emotional eating often involves eating foods that provide comfort which could be anything from fried foods to sweets to foods that are high in salt, which over a period of time can lead to weight gain and other health complications like diabetes, high blood pressure and increased lipid levels. Companies or organizations can hire the services of corporate wellness providers who with the help of their nutritionists can help design tasty and nutritious lunch menus for the employees. The nutritionist with her expertise can also help stock the office canteen with healthy food options for the employees as mid time snacks.
2. Health Care Seminars: Health promotion seminars that teach and encourage the development of a healthy lifestyle are arranged for the employees through the corporate wellness providers. These seminars can be organized on a regular basis covering various health topics which help create an awareness amongst the employees about the various lifestyle changes that one needs to bring about in themselves for well-being. Corporate wellness programs designed by companies offering wellness corporate solutions take into account the overall working pattern, timings, job profile and the eating habits of the employees to design seminars that provide realistic approaches towards lifestyle modification and thus prevent the complications that arise from work related stress.
3. Demonstrations: Food demonstrations can be organized to teach the employees how to prepare simple and healthy foods which are not time consuming and can fit into their busy schedule. Similarly, demonstrations can be organized to teach the employees on how to make food choices at the super markets after reading the food labels. These demonstrations can be stand alone or can be put together as a series covering different health themes like foods for weight loss, heart healthy, etc.
4. Newsletters: Companies providing employee health and wellness programs can also provide articles for newsletters on various topics on a monthly basis for the company internal website. These could include healthy recipes, fact sheets, or tips on health as well as fitness for the benefit of the employees.
5. Nutrition Counselling Sessions: Nutrition counselling is a major component of a well-designed corporate wellness program. Individual interaction with the nutritionist will provide greater insight into the eating and other lifestyle habits. Each employee receives a detailed nutrition assessment and evidence based recommendations on the basis of their medical history, dietary pattern, financial history and their nutrition needs. Regular nutrition counselling sessions will ensure that the employees stay motivated and get maximum health benefits from the program.
It is the responsibility of the employers to provide a safe and hazard-free workplace, to promote individual health and foster a healthy work environment. Before the company hires a corporate wellness service provider, check with the employees to gauge their level of interest. Creating a customized program for them will ensure their complete participation and thus success of the program.