Even though most people know what they “should” do to improve their health, it’s often easier said than done. But the reality is that health is a performance driver, both at home and at work, and employers have begun to realize that they play an important role in their employee’s health. By investing in their most important asset—their people—employers are winning with wellness programs by driving healthcare costs down and improving overall health and performance across the board.
One way in which companies are doing this is by investing in preventative measures, such as encouraging healthy eating at work. According the U.S. Chamber of Commerce report Winning with Wellness, the U.S. is on the threshold of transforming healthcare from a reactionary, sick care system to a more proactive wellness system. In other words, “true health care” based on prevention.
Studies show that wellness programs work best when they’re implemented well in the first place. The most effective wellness programs:
• Create a company-wide culture of health
• Address common preventative health concerns, such as smoking, stress, obesity and diabetes
• Include education and awareness programs about healthy eating and fitness
• Are flexible and engaging
• Are regularly evaluated for effectiveness
Supporting your company’s health and wellness culture can be as complex or as simple as you make it. HealthyYOU Vending operators Teri Matz and Pete Ambrosino, owners of SnackyMatz, have placed healthy vending machines at Crayola’s corporate headquarters and manufacturing plants in Pennsylvania. “Research has shown that if people eat better, they feel better, and if they feel better, they can work better and enjoy more activities,” Ambrosino said. The healthy vending machines are part of Crayola’s efforts to enhance employee work-life balance.
“The health and well-being of our employees is a priority for Crayola. We strive to provide opportunities which help our employees make healthy lifestyle choices,” said Adrienne Nagy, a registered dietician and Wellness Specialist at Crayola. “The Snacky Matz Healthy Vending machines align perfectly with our culture our wellness.” Nagy reports that Crayola’s second and third shift manufacturing employees rely heavily on the healthy vending machines for snacks and meals which “provide healthier options which these employees would not have otherwise.”
Creating a culture of wellness that fits in with your company and employee ideals will encourage workers to participate. That means walking the fine line between telling your employees what to eat and encouraging them to eat healthier. A survey about healthy eating choices at work, commissioned by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), found that employees prefer a wide variety of food options at work, and that even informal initiatives that support health and wellness has been shown to have a positive impact on employees.