Looking for ways to jumpstart your wellness program this summer? Virgin Pulse has launched a free toolkit with resources to help encourage healthy employee habits, a kick-off to June as employee well-being month.

The kit contains a variety of tools, including a page of suggested activities such as mapping walking routes to work and placing fruit out in office spaces, while a provided calendar maps out specific dates for health-related events such as Monday lunchtime walks and group fitness classes.

The kit also includes three posters encouraging walking and bringing lunch from home to hang around the office as reminders.

“There are a lot of organizations, and some have more advanced wellness programs than others,” says Wendy Werve, chief marketing officer at Virgin Pulse. “We wanted to make this non-intimidating and accessible without requiring a huge budget or amount of time, which are the two things people are most constrained by.”

For employers, these ready-made ideas aligned with concrete dates can help simplify planning a healthy June workplace while being general enough to allow for customization based on individual offices’ cultures. Healthier workplaces often have a more engaged and productive staff, increased camaraderie and retention rates and decreased healthcare costs, according to Virgin Pulse.

A recent Virgin Pulse report showed that more than half of human resources professionals want to improve employee engagement, productivity and organizational culture through well-being, but struggle to determine the best strategies to do so, says Werve.

[Image Credit: Bloomberg]
[Image Credit: Bloomberg]

This is the first time that employee well-being month’s sponsors, which include Virgin Pulse as well as the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent Obesity Alliance, the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease and WorldatWork, have provided a public, formal toolkit since it began eight years ago. In previous years such toolkits were restricted to paying customers, with free information scattered and hard to find.

It has been downloaded by almost 500 people since its release last week, which Werve says “just goes to show how important this really is.”

Employee well-being month’s sponsors have also created a new online feature that allows employees to share their success stories, with posts about how work-related wellness programs have led them to reach weight goals or decrease stress. There is also a new social-wall for those currently participating in the month to interact with each other and send updates.

Companies that do prioritize employee well-being are eligible to win the annual Game Changer Award. This year’s winner, Montgomery County, Maryland, has enrolled more than 43% of its eligible population in workplace well-being programs. As a result, they’ve seen improvements in blood pressure, body mass index and activity level, according to a statement from Shawn Stokes, Montgomery County’s director of the office of human resources.

Werve says she hopes that this June’s push to highlight the importance of employee well-being carries through the rest of the year.

“Well-being month is something we invented,” Werve says, “but it can be a real starting point for organizations to make a sustainable change in their workplace’s culture.”

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