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|By Stephen Conchie - Senior vice president and managing director, Herbalife Nutrition Asia-Pacific|
At the same time, changing workforce dynamics are driving the growing emphasis on the need for corporate wellness. The Millennials at Work study conducted by Herbalife Nutrition in the Asia-Pacific found that seven in 10 millennials would be motivated to stay active if wellness initiatives were part of their company’s culture. With millennials poised to form the majority of the global workforce by 2020, and 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025, this generation – known for their pursuit of healthy lifestyles – will have an increasing influence on workforce dynamics and employee policies.
As we cast our sights on the future of work during this year’s Global Employee Health & Fitness Month in May, it is also timely for business leaders to review the health and wellness policies at the workplace against a backdrop of major changes brought about by technology and demographics. With technology increasingly blurring the lines between work and personal life, the growing influence of millennials and a rapidly ageing workforce, this presents a critical need for organisations to rethink health and wellness programmes for the future, and for everyone within the organisation to play a greater role in shaping a positive working environment from the inside out.
For us at Herbalife Nutrition, we see three areas that are key in helping companies foster a healthier and more productive workplace for the future. These include promoting healthy and active lifestyles, healthy eating, and mental wellness – involving business leaders and employees throughout the entire organisation.
Promoting healthy, active lifestyles within and without the workplace
In today’s technology-connected world, striking a healthy work-life balance seems nearly impossible. With endless streams of demands being placed upon employees via a constant influx of emails and text messages, pulling all-nighters and desktop dining are familiar scenes in today’s corporate environments.
To promote healthy, active living in today’s time-strapped working environments, organisations can make it easier for employees to adopt healthy eating habits and encourage physical activity by making these programmes more accessible for them. Simple initiatives that companies can start with include organising exercise sessions during lunchtime or in the evening at the workplace or encouraging organisation-wide participation in mass sporting events.
To push the envelope further, business leaders and managers should also be encouraged to lead their teams in healthy, active lifestyle initiatives. For instance, Herbalife organised a Healthy Active Lifestyle Challenge as a fun and interactive company-wide competition for leaders and managers to rally their teams to take part in physical activities and healthy eating challenges. Through this initiative, not only did the participation in corporate wellness activities increase, we also saw a significant boost in employee morale and close-knit relationships formed between the management and their team members, resulting in a positive effect throughout our entire organisation.
Encouraging healthy diets
Being confined to the work desk for long periods, it can be tempting for employees to reach for unhealthy snacks as quick and convenient means to fuel their brain and body. In view of this trend, organisations can encourage employees to be more conscious about their food intake, and work on organisation-wide initiatives to get employees to take a greater interest in healthy eating.
For example, companies may organise healthy eating days where healthier food options are catered for employees or install vending machines within the office to provide healthy snack options. At Herbalife Nutrition, we invest in providing complimentary nutrition products for our employees to promote healthy eating through the organisation. With the belief that good nutrition will help to foster healthier employees and a healthier workplace, we also involve our resident nutrition experts to share healthy eating tips with our employees regularly to build healthy eating habits across our offices in Asia.
Prioritising mental and emotional wellness for all
With more employees finding it challenging to strike a good balance between their work and personal life, employees can often end up neglecting their personal mental and emotional well-being. To provide mental and emotional health support for their employees, organisations can play an active role to incorporate mental wellness as part of corporate health and wellness programmes. This can be as simple as organising stress-relief activities such as art jamming classes and stress buster massages, like what we do at Herbalife Nutrition Hong Kong every quarter, to help our employees release stress at work for a healthier and happier life.
At the end of the day, building a healthy and more productive workplace begins from the inside out. With collective efforts made by the business leaders in shaping company-wide policies, the human resources teams and managers in rallying employees in organisation-wide activities, and the employees themselves in fostering a healthy environment for their colleagues, this can have a multiplier effect in helping organisations shape healthier and happier workplaces for the future.