Flexible hours and wellness programs keep millennials happy and healthy

Flexible hours for improved productivity

Oct. 26, 2011

Oct. 26, 2011

The youngest people working at companies today are called Millennials—people between the ages of 20 and 29. Like the generations before them, they want different things than older generations.

Knowing what they want is important in the workplace. They have different needs. They have different goals. But like everyone else, they want to be happy where they work. And, a happy worker is a healthy worker.

Flexible workers are happier workers.

Mom Corps did a survey on what Millennials want most. The survey said that Millennials value flexibility. Here are some of the results:

  • 81 percent said they would stay with a company longer if it offered flexible work options.
  • 68 percent said flexibility is one of the most important factors. This is most important when they're looking for a new job.
  • 37 percent said they would take a pay cut for more flexibility at work.

As an employer, you can keep both Millennials and everyone else happy. Workplace flexibility can take on many forms. To help make flexibility a success, companies should test programs first. But you should let everyone in your company know about the test. That way, you can avoid problems if something goes wrong.

Here are some ideas for starting flexible work options:

  • Ask employees what they want. Learn what works best for them. That will help them reach their work goals.
  • Before you start a flexible work program, get suggestions from your workers.
  • Talk to your workers. Let them know what you expect from them. You still want them to complete their work on time. You still need them to work as a team. And you still want them to have a good balance of work and life.
  • Set regular hours for both in the office and working away from the office. If someone is working away from the office, let others know how to contact them. This can be done by phone or e-mail.
  • Use online calendars to schedule meetings.

Most important, don't just offer the program to employees, encourage it. Senior leaders in your company need to take part. By setting a good example, all your workers will more likely be happier.

Healthier workers are more productive workers.

Another important thing for Milleninals is being healthy. And the healthier your workers are, the more work they get done. Many businesses are starting wellness programs to help workers stay healthy.

Workers spend an average of 47 hours per week doing their jobs. And the number of hours employees work keeps going up. The more time an employee spends working, the less time they have to stay healthy.

That means workers could get sick more often. As a result, sick workers can't do their jobs. So unhealthy workers are bad for both the employee and the employer.

Benefits of wellness programs at work.

Not only do wellness programs help Millennials, they help everyone else, too. There are many benefits that go along with wellness programs at work. Wellnessproposals.com says that some of the more popular ones include:

  • Increased job performance
  • Lower healthcare costs
  • Fewer people getting hurt
  • Fewer people leaving their jobs
  • More people staying loyal to your company

Wellness programs at work are becoming more and more common. Maybe we can thank the Millennial Generation for that.

Healthier workers mean greater profits.

Wellness programs pay big benefits. Here's an example. A company invests $100 to $150 for each employee to join a wellness program. Each year, that wellness program can save a company $300 to $450 for each worker. That fact comes from Ron Goetzel, director at Cornell University Institute for Health and Productivity Studies. The savings can take a few years to add up, says Goetzel. But companies will see those savings in lower healthcare costs.

The Wellness Councils of America has more good news. The organization says businesses can get a $24 return for every $1 spent on wellness.

A good workplace wellness program starts with company leaders. Business leaders should lead by example. They should take part in their company's corporate fitness program. They should also work closely with a wellness coach.

Company leaders should make sure that all workers know about their wellness efforts. Companies could hang signs with weight loss results. Or they can list workers who have quit smoking. All this positive news can be listed on company e-mails or bulletin boards. That way, everyone gets to see the results.

Employee health and wellness programs that really work.

Tell workers to start their own wellness programs by visiting their doctor. A complete physical should be completed. This should include information about their general health. Here are some other parts of a good wellness program:

  • Focus on specific health-related problems in a corporate fitness program.
  • Give tips on how to fight being overweight, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and drug abuse.
  • Hire a wellness coach to teach employees how to lead a healthy lifestyle.
  • Reward workers for taking part in company wellness plans.
  • Let workers earn health and wellness points that they can redeem for prizes.
  • Make the prizes healthy. Offer a free massage or a private training session with the company's wellness coach.
  • Praise workers in company newsletters or on bulletin boards.

By building a good wellness program, you can help keep Millennial workers happy. And you can help your bottom line, too. Plus, other workers will see how happy, healthy and productive the Millennials are. Then they may work to become happier, healthier, and more productive, too.