How to Bring Free Health and Wellness into Your Workplace

Christine Ramage, CHRPHR Writer

Christine Ramage, CHRP
HR Writer

There are numerous studies and facts available about the linkage between health and productivity in the workplace. Moreover, employees who partake in a workplace wellness program will usually feel more connected to their jobs, companies and coworkers. Health and Wellness programs are relatively easy to start up, and there are an abundance of resources available to help give you ideas, framework and themes as many 3rd party organizations have a vested interest in healthy workers, and people in general.

Most Employee and Family Assistance Programs (EFAP) have components of wellness and go beyond just their company, but will gladly connect you with provincial programs, such as smoking cessation, to help connect you to additional, and often free, resources.

A great way to kick off a wellness program in your office is to ask around to see if anyone else has an interest in championing it with you – assistance is great, and another perspective can be helpful in tuning into your company’s needs. Once you have a partner to help out, or if not, have bounced some ideas off a coworker, its time to spread the word!

You can either start by communicating current benefits and offerings of you company, that are perhaps underused or not well advertised. Or, your can start by hosting your own initiative. If you can tie your initiative to the season, or another anchor, that is helpful to keep it relevant.

Here are some examples:

December: On-site flu shots from a local nurses unit

January: Smoking Cessation. A common New Years resolutions

February: Heart and Stroke Month, a healthy hearts seem to pair with Valentines

March: Have a local Financial Planner in to talk about Tax Season

April: A lunch and learn around proper workstation ergonomics

May: Start a walking group for lunch time

All the information relevant to the monthly theme of your choice can be obtained through EFAP, the Ministry of Health under Organizational Wellness, of even from businesses in your community. Many businesses will come in and present a free information session on whatever service they specialize in. For example, many sports clubs offer a discounted membership if you can get a group to sign up, or financial group will come in and present about RRSP, Tax, Retirement and Savings planning. Remember, health and wellness is affected by a spectrum of influences!

Another free place to look for expertise on your workplace health and wellness can be internally; perhaps you have an employee who can lead a yoga or meditation class, or teach healthy meal planning or even help coordinate a carpool/ cycle to work program. If you’re ever in doubt, or without inspiration, a quick Google search will always turn up some great ideas.

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