How To Start A Wellness Team At Your Organization

Want to see your organization make healthy changes? Help start a wellness team! Learn some how tos below.

7871c81e12f967bb12e69d4fa07fd403-huge-grWhen an organization has a wellness plan in place, employees report feeling better and more satisfied, and it may even reduce health insurance costs for the employer. If your organization doesn’t have a workplace wellness plan, don’t despair.
You and your colleagues may be able to band together to start one – with your employer’s support, of course. 
Use these steps from other hospital’s successful programs to get you there:
Get buy-in from management
A wellness team is just what it sounds like: a group of coworkers from various departments who work together to support healthy behavior in the workplace. Team members may need to take a limited amount of time away from their traditional work to support this initiative, so it’s important that all managers support their participation.
Recruit members to the wellness team
Ask for volunteers at company-wide staff meetings, send an email, or start a group chat. Strive to include team members from different departments and at different levels so all parts of the organization’s needs are represented. Once your team is assembled, identify two to three co-chairs to share leadership and responsibility and draw up a budget. Aim to meet once or twice per month to touch base and plan events. 
Evaluate the organization’s needs with a survey
The team’s goal will be to support the individual and collective health and wellness of the mind, body, and spirit. Consider sending out a survey or conducting a health risk appraisal to learn what your coworkers need and would benefit from the most. Use the answers to inform what your first actions will be. Keep your goals as measurable as possible. 
Reach out for sponsorship opportunities
Most organizations have tight budgets, so being able to throw tons of money to wellness activities is unlikely. If you’re able to get sponsorships from wellness vendors (think massage parlors, yoga studios, and gyms), you can defray some of those costs, or they may offer to run an on-site program for you for free. 
And don’t forget to reach out to your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or Employee Benefits Department to take advantage of what’s already available. You can also look for partners within your organization, such as Human Resources (HR) or the Occupational Health Department. You may already have a fitness reimbursement available to employees that you can advertise, or you can talk to your HR department to see if starting one is an option. 
Make it manageable
Be aware that organizing events takes work. If you can’t pull together an in-person event right away, consider creating a group on your organization's intranet or here in our community, HNHN Connect, and then creating a virtual event or challenge. You may even want to form a private Facebook group for people at your organization who are committed to getting healthy.
Plan in-person events if you can
If you have enough support and funds to plan events for your organization, create a calendar of events you’d like to accomplish your first year. 
In person ideas may include:
  • Cooking demos
  • Wellness fairs
  • Group exercise classes
  • Meditation sessions
  • Chair massages
  • Stress-relief activities
Our own wellness team here at ANA noticed that the events that had the most participation tended to be less than an hour, occur during the work day (specifically lunch time), offer incentives like raffles or prizes, and involve healthy food. 
Get feedback to keep improving
As your team continues to conduct events, you’ll start to notice what resonates most at your workplace and you can keep improving from there. Continue to build on what works, but don’t be afraid to occasionally try something new, too. And take heart in the fact that you and your fellow team members are making your organization – and the people that work there – happier and healthier. 

Does your organization have a workplace wellness program? If not, are you inspired to start one now? Tell us in
our discussion or in our private Facebook group.

Find this helpful? Read our Part 2 and share this post on social media by clicking the icons to the left. Don't forget to tag us with #HealthyNurse.

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Kessler, S. (n.d.).
How to build a wellness program. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
Taylor, T. (n.d.).
Time to start a corporate wellness program. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
Posted by Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation (HNHN) on Mar 30, 2018 8:57 AM America/Chicago

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