Employee health and well-being are essential ingredients to productivity. Social intranets can play a part in supporting your formal health and well-being program, as well as helping employees to lead a healthy lifestyle. It’s no surprise that supporting the health and wellness of employees is now an agenda item for organizations. Here’s why:
- Cultivating a positive culture can help impact your profits for the better
- Promoting staff health and well-being is a natural focus for HR professionals
- Promoting a healthy lifestyle among employees can help to reduce the number of days lost to sickness and increase productivity, therefore impacting the bottom line
- There is a growing awareness of mental health issues caused by workplace stress
- Organizations have a duty of care to protect their employees so they are safe at work
- There is outside pressure from insurance companies and other third parties to make sure companies do what they can do to promote employee health
Create a health and well-being site
A common theme in organizations is that there is already an active health and well-being program for employees, but at the same time, employees’ are all too often unaware that it actually exists! The intranet is the natural channel to let employees know what the programs entails.
The health and well-being program could be part of your HR section or even a standalone site. Wherever it is, try to make it easily findable by:
- Including clear links in your navigation or on the homepage
- Labelling the section so it’s clearly about health and wellness
- Using the tagging option for the content to make it more searchable, if applicable
Within the section, make sure you present information clearly. Topics to cover could include:
- Information on health and safety in the workplace, and for working at home
- Ergonomic tips, such as how to sit at your desk properly and the importance of taking breaks from computer work
- Any services offered by your organization, such as assistance with quitting smoking, a gym membership offering or an advice line
- General health, well-being and lifestyle tips (some organizations use third party content)
- Details on whom to contact with questions
Promote the site
Once you have a site for health and wellness, don’t keep quiet about it! Regularly feature news and updates on the intranet home page, or within different departmental or community sites. Don’t forget to include a link back to the main well-being site.
Regularly include promotions on the intranet homepage. Use your intranet metrics package to see if you are succeeding in getting more visitors, and to determine what kinds of items are most successful in promoting the site.
Get employees involved
While having some content about employee health is useful, it’s really only half the story. You’ll also want to encourage employees to get involved in different healthy activities. This may be part of the formal wellbeing program, or not.
Because social intranets support communities, they can provide an excellent place to encourage healthy activities. For example, you could encourage a community site on the intranet that’s dedicated to running, cycling, swimming, baseball or other sports.
A community site allows members to organize themselves, make connections and publicize their activities. It may be that there’s already an informal group or separate groups across different locations; having a site will encourage others to get involved.
You could also have a dedicated health site where individuals can swap tips, healthy recipes and personal success stories, which can help to inform as well as inspire fellow employees.
Intranets are also the place to support events and competitions that promote health and wellness. This could be anything from weekly Zumba classes to an annual organization-wide sports day. Use an events calendar to keep the date in people’s minds and use intranet news for pre-event publicity, and to report on it afterwards.
Support new ways of working
Social intranets also make a wider and often unrecognized contribution to employee well-being. Workforce stress can be anything from mildly debilitating to the cause of
serious disorders. Social intranets can help to facilitate connections between employees and support communities of individuals with common interests, which can go a long way to help to reduce stress.
If the social intranet is accessible from outside your network, it can also help facilitate flexible working, from any location, by providing access to content and communities that help employees get their work done. Giving employees a choice over where they work is not only good for employee engagement, but can provide important work-life balance for employees who have young children or care for family members.
On a larger scale, social intranets can help to increase employee engagement. It’s widely acknowledged that a happier workforce is more healthy and productive!
Are you using your intranet for health and well-being?
Intranets are a great resource, and can make a meaningful contribution to your organization. If you’re not using your intranet to promote health and wellness, you should be! This can also be a good way to illustrate the value of your intranet to stakeholders, and satisfying for the intranet team too. To get started, speak to the right folks in HR and take the first step to increasing your intranet’s value and your employees’ health and well-being.