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Promoting general wellness in your workplace is about more than protecting your employees against workplace diseases. Use these eight steps to do it effectively

by , 04 December 2014
Promoting general wellness is about encouraging and supporting your employees so they can live healthier lives over all.

You may wonder why you should even bother with this, but the answer is simple: Sickly and unhealthy employees aren't very productive.

If you help your employees stay healthy, you'll get more out of them and that means one thing: More money.

So use these eight steps to implement a general wellness programme in your company...

*********** Hot off the press  ************
Do you have more than 20 employees?
Don't ignore this health and safety obligation or else!
The DoL will slap you with a R50 000 fine or 1 year in jail if you don't have a health and safety representative. 

Keep your employees healthy and more productive by following these eight steps

Step 1: Find ways to prevent illnesses
A great example of this is bringing in vaccinations for the flu and other contagious diseases. This stops employees making each other sick and missing days of work. 
If you don't want to bring vaccinations into your workplace, create a reward or reimbursement system for employees who pay for their own vaccines.
Step 2: Encourage your employees to get off their work chairs and get some exercise
You may not have a gym in your offices or be able to pay for employee gym contracts, but there are other ways to encourage your employees to exercise. 
For example, offer secure bike parking to encourage employees to cycle to work. Or provide showers and change rooms for employees who want to exercise during lunch.
Even half an hour of exercise every day could improve your employees' health. This will help them stay alert and focused at work. That means they'll get more work done.
Step 3: Try to educate your employees on healthy eating habits
Have lunch time talks that focus on healthy eating. Try to organise staff discounts at local restaurants on select healthy food options.
Step 4: Make doctor visits part of the work day
Schedule one day a week where you ask a doctor to come into your workplace. This way, employees can go for their all important check ups without taking time off work. 
According to inc.com, this is the most innovate way to promote general wellness in your company. The site also says these onsite doctor visits increase productivity, reduce medical costs and enhance a company's reputation as being a desirable place to work.
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You think that implementing health and safety in your company is going to cost too much money. What if I told you that it could SAVE you thousands of Rands, maybe even millions.
Step 5: Reward your employees for healthy behaviour
Creating incentive schemes will encourage employees to focus on their health more. This will be a small cost in comparison to the boost in productivity your company with get.
Step 6: Provide healthy snack options
If you have snack machines and cold drink dispensers, consider replacing them with healthier options. Offer water, fruit juice and even milk instead of fizzy drinks. And replace the chips and chocolates in the vending machine with nuts and dried fruit options.
Step 7: Promote mental and emotional health too
Stress has massive health implications and can lead to large scale absenteeism and lost productivity. If you help your employees manage their stress, through counselling, you can help improve their mental and emotional health.
Step 8: Take steps to help your employees live healthier lives outside the workplace too
For some employees, you may need to take drastic action to help them achieve a healthier lifestyle. To do this, get him in contact with a health care professional that can give him all the information he needs to change his life for the better.
A general wellness programme like this will improve the health of all your employees. That means they'll be absent less, as well as more productive, alert and focused. The result? You'll get more work out of them and your company will prosper.
So implement a general wellness programme in your company today and watch it grow your bottom line. But general wellness isn't just a health and safety issue. It's a human resources issue too. For can find out more about it in the Practical Gudie to Human Resources for Management. 

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