Your health and wellness should be a year round consideration. But August is National Wellness Month, so why not put your health and wellness (and your employees') front and center this month.
There are so many aspects to wellness. When I think of construction, one of the things that comes to mind are the companies that have incorporated morning wellness meetings and stretching into their daily routines. It's a great way to keep employees healthy and build team camaraderie. Some employees may feel silly stretching before work in a big group setting, but it's important to remind them that you care about their health and wellness.
Some construction jobs, particularly equipment operation, require workers to sit for long periods during the day. Research has shown that sitting for long stretches is not good for us. Morning stretching, and even mid-day stretching, is a great way to help those workers who have more sedentary jobs stay healthy. Many construction jobs require heavy lifting. A good, proper stretch before the start of the day could minimize heavy lifting injury risks. Plus, it can add a little fun to the job. And laughter is definitely good for wellness.
Another aspect of wellness is making sure you are visiting a doctor regularly, even if you're in good health. Back in 2017 ForConstructionPros.com featured an article on a construction company that offered workplace health services, which brought health services to the workers. This can be a great opportunity to make sure your workers are getting regular checkups and the services they need since many don't have the opportunity to visit the doctor during the workday.
Emotional and mental health wellness cannot be overlooked. A 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed construction and extraction industries had the second highest rate of suicide per 100,000 people. That is a serious issue.
Emotional and mental health issues can be hard for outsiders to see, or we may deny that there is a problem with a friend or coworker because we just don't want to admit it. It is important to make sure your construction company includes mental health services in benefits and health plans.
Make sure workers are communicating. Emotional and mental health should not be a stigma, it should be something your employees can feel they can talk about without being judged or ignored. Make sure you set the company culture tone about acceptance and communication when it comes to mental and emotional health.
Improving wellness shouldn't be a chore. Find ways to make it fun. And then continue these efforts well after this month and throughout the whole year.
What other ways does your company focus on improving and maintaining employee wellness?
Just for fun
Here are a few of the other special observances and holidays celebrated throughout August. Do you have any favorites?
- Aug. 2 - National Ice Cream Sandwich Day
- Aug. 8 - Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day (why?)
- Aug. 10 - National Duran Duran Appreciation Day
- Aug. 13 - Lefthander's Day
- Aug. 16 - National Tell a Joke Day
- Aug. 26 - National Toilet Paper Day
- Aug. 30 - Frankenstein Day
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