More than ever before, companies are committing to helping their employees with wellness initiatives. For companies, having healthier employees brings multiple benefits: healthier people are more productive and more likely to stay for the long term, along with fewer sick days needed. Healthier people generally have higher morale and a more positive outlook, creating a more pleasant work environment for all. And of course, a healthier workforce generally means lower health insurance premiums, enabling many companies to offer good benefits to their employees more sustainably over time.
While larger companies like Google and its Silicon Valley counterparts are known for having multiple wellness initiatives and perks, many companies of all sizes are embracing policies and programs to help their employees to feel better. For example, many companies offer in-house fitness equipment, while even smaller companies offer gym membership reimbursement.
Many companies are ordering fresh fruit, water, and juices for their break rooms, to place healthy alternatives in front of the traditional junk food and beverage-laden vending machines. Also on the food front, you see many companies bringing in chefs to cook fresh food for lunch on a specific day of the week or month, as a special healthy treat for employees.
The modern worker’s health and wellness is under attack from a host of sources—our eyes from our computer and handheld device screens, as well as certain types of office lighting, as well as our backs, necks, wrists, and other joints from long hours spent at traditional desks. Companies are getting creative in both short-term, instantaneous ways, as well as through long-term measures, to keep their workforces from getting prematurely old from traditional work habits.
In the short term, they are encouraging meetings in different venues, where people might stand or sit in a café-style setting, in different positions different to their normal desk chairs. Some offices are known for seeing massage therapists in their midst from time to time, offering workers free sessions as added compensation from the employer.
Longer-term solutions for bone, joint, and muscle health include using balance balls as chairs and replacing standard desks with adjustable-height desks. While these aren’t universal solutions, and certainly not for severe pain, many workers are achieving a much higher quality of life because their companies are investing in non-traditional desk components. While many of the sit-to-stand desks have required a crank for adjustments, there are now multiple manufacturers of motorized desks that change in an instant.
And we will continue to see creative lighting solutions and technology peripherals to ease the burden on our eyes in the workplace. The beautiful thing about technology in the workplace is that its evolution never rests.