Camaraderie in the workplace leads to happier and healthier employees. While it might not seem to be an obvious connection, when you know how to build community around health programs, you support employee engagement, social wellbeing, and physical health at the same time.  

Gallup reports that women who have a best friend at work are twice as likely to be engaged at work, and business outcomes improve as well. This discovery highlights the importance of connection between employees. Friendships in the workplace, especially among women, can be the make or break reason someone stays or leaves the organization.

If you’re looking to build a strong wellbeing culture in your workplace, learning how to build community around health programs is an important step. 

Shift the culture

Effective health programs should be more than just an employee benefit. Organizations that show commitment to health from the top down are more likely to build community around health programs they promote. Make healthy snacks and beverages the norm. Provide quiet spaces to decompress and workout spaces to enjoy onsite. If employees are remote, support them with healthy food baskets, complimentary counseling support, and mental health days. Making this cultural shift may take time but will build community over time. 

Friendly competitions

Your organization is already broken into smaller subsets of teams who work together. Build friendly competitions between departments around your health program. Create a step challenge or fitness challenge. Have a healthy food cook-off. Offer yoga and meditation and accumulate points for participation. When considering the competitions, make them inclusive for all abilities and less focused on weight loss than on other health efforts for broader participation and longer term change.

Make it social

Statistics on the effectiveness of health programs indicates that those who are already motivated to participate do and those who need it most often do not. Host all-company events that promote broader participation by employees. Cater healthy meals for an all-company lunch on Friday or host an out of the office scavenger hunt or other low-key, but active outing. When you’re learning how to build community around health programs, the skies the limit for exploration. 

Create a wellness committee

When wellness initiatives are rolled out from the top, engagement may not be as strong as initiatives that are driven by peers. Building a cross-sectional group of employees who represent the various parts of your organization will provide a voice for all. With more ideas sparked through brainstorming and collaboration, the committee itself will feel more connected, but the organization as a whole may benefit from the uptick in the community around health programs that’s been built. 

As you discover new ways to build community around health programs, you will benefit from increased productivity, better engagement, and healthier and happier employees. Let us know what you’ve tried and how you’ve successfully adopted health programs into your culture. 

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” (African Proverb)