The Five Ws of Workplace Wellness

Answer these five questions for success in your workplace wellness program:

Who? Who are you? Each company and workplace has a personality, a way that things are done. Understanding your workplace culture is the first step to making change and identifying who your best advocates are.

What? Now that you know what your workplace culture is, it's easy to jump to asking, "What specifically do I want to accomplish?" This requires understanding of a more basic question, "What is wellness?" A workplace that cares about wellness should address mental health and emotional well-being as well as physical health. Yogi Berra said, "Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical." Yogi could easily have been talking about wellness. Stresses beyond the workplace sphere, be they family or financial, effect our workplace productivity. A good wellness initiative is holistic, addresses the whole person and provides tools which are helpful beyond the workplace.

Where? You've looked at where stress comes from outside of work, now let's focus on where you work. Each industry has its own health and safety concerns, as does each workstation. MEMIC policyholders can quickly and easily email a few photos of their workstations for an ergonomic evaluation from one of MEMIC's safety experts. Click here for ergonomic clues any desk jockey can use to improve their workstation.

When? The big question everyone wants answered is, "When will I see results?" Even the best programs can't deliver an overnight fix. It takes long-term commitment to change workplace culture and individual behavior. An easier question to answer is, "When is the right time to start?" With healthcare costs continuing to rise, workplaces becoming more sedentary, an aging workforce and adult obesity rates that have doubled in the past 20 years, the time is now.

Why? The first four Ws should answer this question, but if that's not enough, consider this: according to a Harvard wellness program study, medical costs fall by about $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs and absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73. A healthy bottom line for businesses means healthy employees. Click here for more workplace wellness program resources.