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Online Corporate Wellness Programs Print

How Companies are Providing Virtual Wellness Support and Initiatives

 

woman with dark hair wearing a white dress shirt sitting at her desk and stretching her arms above her head Since March, online corporate wellness programs have become increasingly important for businesses to support their employees’ mental and physical health. With people working from home, the well-being of employees’ families is also a significant concern because when families are suffering, the employee will suffer also. Employers are focusing on helping their employees stay healthy, cope with the additional stresses brought on by the pandemic and promoting mental well-being. 

 

In business, the bottom line matters. Businesses must consider more than ever that healthy, focused employees are more productive – while stressed, unhealthy and individuals are less productive and more prone to miss work. Post-pandemic, it’s likely that many employees will continue to work remotely at least part-time, and virtual wellness initiatives will remain important to companies and their employees. 

 

Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month (CHWM) each October is an opportunity to raise awareness around the importance of workplace health. The 2020 theme is, “Great employers create thriving workplaces”. Whether an employee’s workplace is at their home, in a co-working space or at their business location, employers who provide online corporate wellness programs and virtual corporate wellness initiatives are creating a healthier workplace and employees. 

 

Nutrition For Mental Health


Research shows that diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health. What someone eats impacts their overall mental health, mood and how they feel each day. The food-mood connection can be positive or negative. Your food choices can uplift mood, energy and overall mental health. Unfortunately what and how we eat can also negatively lower mood, productivity and your ability to concentrate. It can also increase the risk of anxiety and depression. Employee mental health is a vital consideration for building healthy workplaces. 

Desk with a mason jar boconccini salad of cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls and a green apple on teh side

Virtual Workplace Nutrition Counseling

 

Health Stand Nutrition dieticians have offered virtual nutrition and wellness consultation services to companies and individuals for several years. Online nutrition counseling is cost-effective, practical and in some cases can cause less anxiety compared to face-to-face counseling. When the world turned upside down in 2020, we were quickly able to transition our on-site workplace nutrition and wellness programs and individual counseling to virtual services. 

 

People’s lives have changed, and people have become more accustomed to online services, programs and communications. Many companies have launched new virtual wellness initiatives to promote the health and well-being of their employees. Employees’ needs have changed, and the resources and tools they need to help cope with the many changes due to the pandemic have to change also. A recent New York Times article spoke about the silent breakfast wellness practice, a mindfulness technique to help prepare for the day ahead. 

 

Over the past 6 months, I’ve been excited by the virtual workplace wellness and nutrition initiatives I’ve seen companies launch to support the physical and mental health of their employees and employees’ families. 

woman wearing a jean jacket sitting at her desk. her laptop and the wall behind her are covered in post-it notes

 

Here are a few ideas for online corporate wellness programs and initiatives that companies I’ve worked with have launched for their staff: 

 

  1. Quiet Fridays: No Zoom or other virtual meetings to allow people to catch up on their work and to beat Zoom fatigue.
  2. No lunch meetings: No meetings over lunch so people can step away to take a break, refuel with good nutrition or attend to family commitments.
  3. Flex time: New flex-time policies and a philosophy of it is not about WHEN you work but about getting work done.
  4. More personal days: 10 personal emergency days.
  5. Mandatory mental health training for leaders.
  6. Surprise wellness days and surprise days off.
  7. Management taking a salary cut to fund wellness support and initiatives.
  8. Live well committee: The committee has brought in virtual speakers, online fitness programs and is sharing mental health stories from staff members who are willing to talk about their own issues in mental health and be a little vulnerable to provide support to those that might feel alone. 
  9. Project thank you: Gift certificates for meals for family time. 
  10. 6 weeks of wellness: A 1 ½  month-long campaign with external experts, a Q and A with a physician, mindfulness sessions and insurance provider webinars. 
  11. Wellness wednesday initiatives: Internal company communications such as encouraging random coffee dates with someone they don’t know. 
  12. Encouraging sharing of personal stories of how you’ve overcome a mental health struggle to help others feel less alone in their struggle.
  13. Adding a wellness session, healthy eating session or cooking demo to the conference or company meetings either on a webinar platform or more small group casual Zoom meetings encouraging more engagment and interaction.

 

Wellness Starts At The Top

 

Whether your corporate wellness program is virtual or onsite, wellness starts at the top. Corporate wellness works better when leaders walk the talk. Company leaders can inspire employees to adopt healthier lifestyles and take control of their personal health but setting an example, and sharing their successes – and failures. Leading by example is a powerful strategy to encourage employees to want a healthier lifestyle. 

Woman sitting on a blue yoga ball working at her laptop in front of a large window

10 Practical Tips for Leadership Teams to Help Walk the Talk When it Comes to Wellness:

 

  1. Lead by example at home and work.
  2. Encourage walking meetings if possible.
  3. Remove pop from your workplace and funnel that budget for ‘Wellness Wednesday’ food or online classes or vouchers for healthy food.
  4. Percolate productivity during long online and in-person meetings with Food + Fluids + Fitness (this strategy to ‘move it to lose it’ can be especially helpful for online meeting fatigue). 
  5. Look for wellness champions and start team meetings with a story, tip or shout out.
  6. Make a mandatory work policy for lunch-free meetings.
  7. Invite spouses to attend wellness initiatives.
  8. Ensure Registered Dietitians are covered under your company benefits.
  9. At home generate JOY when it comes to cooking (sight, smell and sound influence cognitive load and enjoyment).
  10. At home hold the dinner hour 100% sacred. Mandatory home policy for “no technology at the table” have your kids hold you accountable. 

 

How To Shift to Online Corporate Wellness Programs

 

Loneliness and isolation are detrimental to workplace health and productivity. Working from home can be isolating for people used to social interactions at work and conversations with their peers throughout the day. Months of self-quarantine can negatively impact remote worker’s mental health. Fear about their health and the economy can hurt morale. Weeks of isolation can be detrimental to their eating and exercising habits.

 

The first step to managing employee wellness is to recognize that  Employers who offer online wellness programs can help employees cope during the pandemic and post-pandemic. Many virtual wellness programs fit the needs of employees who are working from home for flexibility and convenience. On-demand webinars, workout sessions and other forms of remote instruction and information allow people to participate when it’s convenient – versus when it’s convenient for the employer.  

 

To help your company shift to online corporate wellness programs and virtual wellness initiatives, encourage your leadership to: 

 

  • Offer online workout program memberships, links to free exercise resources and encourage employees to take movement breaks throughout the day.
  • Encourage virtual “water cooler” conversations with co-workers.
  • Host biometric health screenings .
  • Provide gift cards for delivery of at-home healthy food options.
  • Invite wellness and productivity experts such as Registered Dietitians, Psychologists and Physicians to speak to your employees.
  • Create internal posting and newsletters with healthy messaging, recipes and fitness tips. 
  • Announce the priority of your wellness program on social media and challenge your community to join in.
  • Showcase employees who have made a positive change in their wellness journey during the pandemic.

 

Try Our Employee Wellness Newsletter

woman with dark hair wearing a white dress shirt sitting at her desk and stretching her arms above her head

Our NEW quarterly co-branded online nutrition newsletter license is for your company’s intranet, email blasts, newsletter, wellness portal and your physical locations. Ask me how we can bring wellness news and tips to your employees! 

 

As a Registered Dietitian and workplace wellness expert I specialize in helping elevate health, mental health and productivity through healthy eating.  Find out more about my virtual professional speaking engagements and other workplace nutrition initiatives here:  WORKPLACE NUTRITION



Find out more about the Virtual Dietitian services provided by my team of Online Nutritionists specializing in meal planning, weight concerns, emotional eating, eating disorders, digestive health, heart health, diabetes, sports nutrition and more here:  Dietitian Nutrition Counseling Programs. 

 

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Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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