Health and wellness can seem like a long and impossible journey. In some ways, that can be true. It does take a lot of work to develop a healthy lifestyle—and it’s a journey that doesn’t stop when you’ve reached your destination.
In other ways, however, that’s simply a false statement. There are some healthy behaviors that show results sooner than others. Making the right changes at the right time can appeal to those who want some “instant gratification.”
When it comes to a workplace wellness program, those changes can be the best ones to make because leadership teams want to see results. They want some hint that their effort and investments are paying off—even if they recognize the bigger pay-offs take some time.
In my experience, talking about wellness in the workplace usually brings about some results before others show their faces. If you know a general timeline of what changes to expect—and what behaviors to focus on—you’ll be able to determine whether or not you’re on the right track with your wellness program.
In the first few weeks…
In the first few weeks of your wellness program, you’ll notice people testing the waters of a healthy lifestyle. You might notice some small, simple changes, as well as the beginnings of some larger changes.
Less Smoke Smell
You might notice that the smell of smoke outside your office has gone away. Smoking has been associated with so many health conditions—and it’s a completely preventable risk factor. As you start to talk about health in the workplace, you might get the attention of some of your employees who smoke. Even the smallest of triggers can encourage big healthy lifestyle changes.
More Lunch Boxes
You’ll probably notice a few more lunch boxes in the shared fridge in the break-room. That’s because packing a lunch is an easy step toward eating more nutritiously. It also comes with the added benefit of saving money by skipping regular trips to the drive-thru.
Treats in the break-room can be a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, free food is always nice. On the other hand, that free food is almost never nutritious. Starting the conversation about wellness gets people thinking about the foods they eat and the foods they want to share with their coworkers.
Honestly, you might actually start to see your employees more. One of the most unhealthy behaviors in the workplace is living a sedentary lifestyle—being stuck at a desk all day long. One of the most basic healthy behaviors to encourage is physical activity. Help your employees see the importance of getting up and moving throughout the day, and watch as they take your advice!
In the first few months…
As people test out new healthy behaviors, they’ll learn what habits they do and don’t enjoy. So as the months roll on, you’ll start to see more commitment to those healthy behaviors.
Healthy people are happier people. That’s because positivity is a huge part of any health journey. Not only that, but healthy behaviors physically bring about hormone balances that drive good moods.
Happier people work better with others. As your employees work towards their healthy lifestyles, they’ll start to not only become happier, but become easier to work with and have better relationships with their coworkers.
A healthy lifestyle is a process. It takes time for employees to learn what healthy behaviors fit into their lifestyles. After they’ve had that time, you’ll see employees participating in more activities. You might even see them inviting their coworkers to take part too.
Stress is directly related to health. Making healthy choices can help employees manage their stress levels. Managing stress can help employees become even healthier. It’s an awesome cycle designed to help an employee get to their healthiest point both physically and mentally.
In the first few years…
These are the results your wellness benefactors are most interested in. Unfortunately, they’re a bit more long term. It’s important to point out the shorter term benefits to your management teams to help them understand wellness results occur on different levels and at different times.
Wellness programs have been shown to bring about an average ROI of 3:1. Management teams can expect to see a favorable ROI associated with their program—but it might take a little bit of time and patience.
Healthy employees can function more efficiently than unhealthy employees. As your employees develop healthy lifestyles, they’ll be able to do more work—and better work. That productivity boost coincides, however, with the time it takes to create a healthy lifestyle.
Decreased Health Risk
You should be doing some type of health screening as part of your wellness program. Not only does a screening help employees to understand their health statuses, but it can help you understand the health status of your workforce as a whole. As you work on your wellness program, you’ll notice your employees reporting lower risk for chronic health conditions like heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Ultimately, health and wellness can be a life-long process. That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t results to notice as soon as you start the conversation about health in your workplace. As you begin your wellness program, take note of what’s going on in your workforce and see how it aligns with the timeline I’ve noticed for our clients.
This article was written by Alan Kohll from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.