Wellness days boost health perks

Workplace wellness days can boost employee engagement with health and wellbeing benefits


Wellness days in the workplace can be used to communicate and highlight health and wellbeing benefits offered as part of a formal employer-paid package or as flexible or voluntary benefits.

Justin Crossland, senior consultant at Towers Watson, says: “These events make employees more aware of health benefi ts and promote a preventative approach to healthcare.”

Jay Harris, managing director at Workplace Healthcare, adds: “Employers can mix and match services to create a day that is general in content or targets key health messages.”

It is hard to put a cost on a wellness day: it will depend on the employer’s arrangements with providers and suppliers. What is included will also depend on the employer’s HR objectives. Oliver Gray, managing director at EnergiseYou, says: “It should be part of an ongoing health and wellbeing strategy, and should measure return on investment as well.”

Employee Benefits has compiled the following list of ingredients for a wellness day.


One-hour sessions can cover health issues such as emotional resilience, work-life balance, sleep and cancer prevention. Leanne Rigby, director at Feel Good, says: “Smaller interactive workshop sessions are popular and effective.” Sessions are often linked with national health awareness days. Philip Gibbs, head of wellbeing at Roodlane Medical, says: “For World Heart Day, we worked with a number of employers to educate staff about heart care.”

Health assessments or biometric measurements can be offered to highlight other health benefits. “Consultants can be on hand to provide tests on blood pressure, cholesterol, lung function, urine screening, body mass index (BMI), height and weight,” says Harris. But Gray has found health screening is not as popular as it once was and believes checks such as BMI are best carried out by a doctor.

Options can include yoga, pilates, Zumba, tai chi and kick-boxing. The classes can also be less formal, such as an organised lunchtime walk. John Durrant, managing director of The Pamper Company, says: “Instead of meeting in a stuffy room, have a walk-and-talk outside.”

Access to a physiotherapist, sports massage or ergonomic chair massage are ways to address musculoskeletal issues during a wellness day. Rigby says: “Offering dedicated physiotherapy sessions for those with ongoing back problems at work have had good results.”

Whether done through a workshop, a live tasting demonstration or by providing staff with free fruit drops, learning about nutrition is a key part of wellness days. Feel Good offers tasting workshops, for example. “We provide a framework of advice for energy foods, as well as a tasting table for healthy foods,” says Rigby.

Health and wellbeing zones can be set up to showcase health benefits providers and flag up their offerings to staff . “Ensure providers supply engaging communication for the wellness
day,” says Gray.


Barclays raises interest in wellbeing

Barclays Investment Bank hosted its third health and wellness day in May 2012 to communicate its health benefi ts to its 24,000 staff.

The event is part of the bank’s wellness programme, Living Your Potential.

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Raewyn Bates, wellness programme co-ordinator at Barclays, says: “We place great importance on the health and wellbeing of employees. A healthy workforce is crucial to the success of our business.”

The day included free blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose level checks, a dietician demonstrating healthy meals, and wellness providers promoting Barclays’ smoking-cessation programme, employee assistance programme (EAP) and on-site exercise classes.