Chronic conditions are preventable! Employee wellness is a smart investment and research has shown that there is a strong link between employee health behaviours, productivity and absenteeism. Employers want to help their staff flourish, therefore investing in the health and well-being of staff is one of the most sustainable decisions municipalities can make, and the Municipal Wellness Program wants to celebrate the municipality's tremendous efforts.
The Municipal Wellness Program has provided a list of suggested activities, tools and resources to help municipalities create a successful Municipal Wellness Day.
Here are Some Ideas you can Implement on Municipal Wellness Day
To combat afternoon slumps in productivity and focus, host a noon hour walk or organize a friendly walking challenge between municipal departments. A gentle lunchtime stroll can immediately boost employee's mood and ability to handle stress at work.
How to Get Started:
- Schedule a lunch time walk in your calendar. Think of it as an important appointment.
- Recruit some co-workers to join you. This will help to keep each other on track.
- Bring your lunch or pick a route where you can grab a quick healthy meal at the end of your walk.
Other Ideas to Promote Physical Activity:
- Offer onsite Yoga Classes to relieve stress: Invite a yoga instructor into the office to guide the team through a yoga class.
- Find a 5km run in your community and offer to cover the entry fee for anyone who chooses to participate.
- Host an employee field day: Head to a local park in the afternoon for a game of tennis, catch, socce, frisbee or whatever else people feel like doing. Afterwards there could be a planned meal at the park or back at the office.
- Post a note near the elevator reminding people to take the stairs instead.
- Offer discounts to a local gym: Many gyms will offer a discount if enough employees sign up. The Municipal Wellness program offers municipal employees a corporate discount to GoodLife facilities. For more inforamtion on the corporate rate click here.
Provide the opportunity for employees to share some healthy recipes with each other. The healthiest foods to use in cooking are foods that come in their most natural form with limited processing.
Specific Foods Include:
- Whole fruits and vegetables.
- Whole grains like whole wheat flour, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal.
- Nuts, dried fruit, seeds or popcorn.
- Low fat or fat free milk, unsweetened nonfat yogurt, eggs and low fat cheese
plain or fruit flavored water, coffee, tea.
- Unhealthy foods that should be discouraged include any refined grains like white rice or flour, heavy creams, margarine with trans fats, many desserts and baked goods, such as cakes, cookies, donuts, pastries, and croissants, deep fried foods or fast foods, or any item that comes out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than 5 ingredients.
How to Host a Potluck:
- Select a date, time and location for the potluck.
- Use the potluck sign-up sheet template to promote the potluck.
- Share links to a variety of recipe sites including the Nova Scotia farmers’ market and the Canada’s food guide.
- On the day of the potluck, have employees bring in the dish as well as copies of the recipe they used to share with other employees.
Other Ideas to Promote Healthy Eating:
Organize a wellness day lunch and learn on a variety of wellness topics presented by a community member, a co-worker, or with a local professional such as:
- The stop smoking process/smoking cessation.
- How to read nutrition labels.
- Cooking health meals.
- Employee and Family Assistant program offerings.
- Physical activity options in the community i.e., yoga, bowling, soccer etc.
- Mental Fitness & Resilience, Work-Life Balance, etc.
How to Get Started:
- Choose a day of the week or month to gather for a municipal-wide lunch and learn.
- Allow employees to present on a topic they're interested in (whether it's work related or not) and use this time to discuss important municipal updates.
- Host a brown bag lunch every Monday where the municipality/departments meet to discuss goals and accomplishments.
- Link to webinars.
Celebrating success is about acknowledging the hard work and accomplishments of the employees and teams within your municipality. Take time to notice what employees have done to make the workplace a more positive place to work.
Ideas to Recognize Employee Accomplishments:
- Give a shout out on social media. Include the hash tag #NSmunicialwellness.
- Make employee recognition a part of the municipal lingo: A simple 'thank-you' is all it takes.
- Host random fun activities.
- Recognize holistic achievements: recognizing employees when they reach their own fitness or nutrition goals.
- Host social events: Get together and cheer each other on.
- Schedule half an hour on Friday afternoon for departments to gather together to acknowledge their accomplishments.
Organizing a wellness photo contest will give employees the opportunity to take pictures of physical activity, healthy eating or mental fitness.
How to Set up a Photo Contest:
- Create a planning committee of employees or use your wellness committee to create categories of photos to be taken and ensure all employees have an opportunity to be a judge.
- Categories of photos could consist of individuals, co-workers, family and friends.
- Photos could be posted on bulletin boards, intranet, social media sites, or circulated through email.
- The top three photos in each category could be posted and the winners could receive recognition from the employer.
- Use the official municipal wellness hashtag (#NSmunicipalwellness) to post on social media.
Turn meetings into walking meetings. We sit most of the day at work, so why not make a meeting a walking meeting instead? Research has suggested that walking makes people more creative.
Benefits of a Walking Meeting:
- Enhance relationship building and team spirit.
- Help people stay fit and active.
- Break up the workday.
- Different environments will inspire new ideas.
- Stimulates oxygen flow in the body and brain.
- Increases creativity and problem solving ability.
- Facilitates better office communication.
- Breaks down walls between management and employees.
- Meetings outdoors can facilitate happier, more energized and alert employees.
Other Ideas to Promote Productivity:
- Create a space where people can meet and collaborate on projects.
- Get a whiteboard where people can write their non-work related wellness goals.
- Schedule a morning huddle with all department team members to recognize employees and verbalize everyone's main goals for the day.
- Offer a remote working day to give employees the option to work outside the office building.
- Create flexible work hours that allows employees to structure their day to their lifestyle.
- Example: Increase employees levels of physical activity in the workplace by allocating extended lunch period (30 minutes added) to allow for adequate time for physical activity.
Wellness initiatives enable employees to improve or maintain healthy behaviours. Starting a wellness initiative will help employees to make the healthy choice the easy choice at work.How to Start a Wellness Initiative:
- Establish a wellness committee including employees and management representatives from all levels of your municipality.
- Invite employee participation in discussions and decisions about health and wellness issues.
- Conduct a survey to find out what wellness topics employees are interested in learning more about.
- Set up a wellness area where information about a variety of wellness topics can be shared with employees.
Use wellness day to kick start an employee wellness challenge. Offering health and wellness challange is a fun way to help employees stay motivated. Offer a variety of different challanges ranging from physical activity to healthy eating and staying hydrated.