Stephanie Dailey & Tricia Burke, Assistant Professors in the Department of Communication Studies
Today, most employers offer wellness programs to their employees. For example, here at Texas State, faculty and staff have the opportunity to participate in WellCats, which offers fitness and nutrition classes, health behavior change coaching, and more. The benefits of having healthy employees is obvious from an organizational standpoint, but our research shows that there are direct benefits to employees as well: they feel supported, less stressed, and make new friends in wellness. So, how can you enhance the benefits of wellness at work through communication?
As humans, one of our most central needs includes feeling valued by others. People who participate in workplace wellness programs feel that their employer cares about their personal well-being. When employees are socialized within an organization that values the health of their employees, they also communicate support to encourage their co-workers to be healthy. Some examples of supportive communication include:
- complementing co-workers on healthy diet or exercise choices
- inviting a co-worker to a fitness class or a lunch ‘n learn session
- reminding co-workers about avoiding unhealthy foods
Among the many benefits of wellness is reducing stress. Group fitness participants report less stress, better mental energy, and greater energy and productivity throughout their work day. Encouraging activity among co-workers affords and important mental break, and also allows for the opportunity to establish social connections at work.
It’s more fun to work out and eat healthy with friends. Thankfully, participating in wellness activities helps employees create friendships within the program and bond over subjects besides work. One of the best predictors of job satisfaction are the relationships we establish at work, so don’t be afraid to communicate about health with colleagues. After all, friends who sweat together stay together!