Why It’s Beneficial to Include Families in Wellness Programs 

Corporate wellness programs offer plenty of benefits for those who work in the organization – higher morale, improved mental and physical health, and more – but when those programs are expanded to include employee families, everyone wins. Including other family members in new wellness initiatives can improve an individual’s efforts because they can play a more active role than simply supporting from the sidelines. Including the entire family also shows that the organization cares about more than the employee alone. 

While there’s an extra expense to include more people, the long-term benefits certainly can outweigh that cost. Read on for more reasons why it’s beneficial to include families in workplace wellness programs, and how your organization can get started. 

The Effect of Family on Health & Wellness 

Getting families involved in health and wellness activities is a smart way to increase employee participation (and help them achieve personal goals). Studies show that when a person implements a healthier behavior, their spouse is more likely to make a similar behavior change. So if an employee enrolls in a healthy-eating challenge in the office, chances are they’ll be making changes to the regular grocery list. Maybe the spouse is the one buying those groceries, and naturally decides to join in to eat better foods. Imagine if they both start packing more lunches instead of ordering out, or implementing healthy snacks instead of processed grab-and-go items. The extra accountability and engagement at home improves the chance of success for the employee. The same goes for a walking or fitness challenge. One spouse invites the other to walk with them after hours to get those steps in. It’s a kind of engagement that leads to activity which can lead to positive outcomes – both personally and professionally.

3 Ways to Engage Family in Wellness Programs 

Businesses report a 40-percent increase in productivity after implementing workplace wellness programs. And, these stats for happier, harder-working teams only get better when their families also participate. Here are a few suggestions for how to engage employee families in your programs.

Celebrate Together

Show the team that you mean business with wellness, too. Invite the entire family to social events, a corporate picnic or other outings to convey the importance of healthy living at home and at work. Whether your event kicks off a wellness campaign and gets people excited to participate, or caps off the hard work people have put in with personal goals for several months, these kinds of events bring teams – and families – closer. Events at the office give employees a chance to show their family where they spend their days, too. Use these events to unite but also spend time informing people about the initiatives they can take advantage of by offering educational literature, hosting exercise and/or nutrition demonstrations, and showing families how they can participate while also supporting the employee. 

Encourage Family Time

Keep the family engaged by encouraging them to add healthy behaviors at home – and they don’t all have to be nutrition related. Maybe they choose to plan family game nights that bring quality time, strategic thinking and good plain fun into the mix. It’s a great way for the entire family to take a break from screens and it stimulates the mind differently than the average work day. Other ideas include trying a new recreational activity together or planning a backyard picnic – anything that brings the gang together and promotes well-being. Families that recognize the organization encourages these behaviors will feel more valued. 

Stay in Touch

Without clear and consistent communication, families won’t know what all is available to them. Keep people in the loop to keep them engaged and also aware of the benefits of participating. Start with a program calendar showing all the important event dates, challenge timelines, educational sessions and other items they should know about. Reinforce the calendar with social media campaigns that further engage families and build community outside the office walls. 

Some organizations offer cash or popular products as prizes for employees/families who win wellness challenges. For example, maybe there’s a family pack of tickets to a nearby theme park, or a pair of the latest iphones for the family or couple who counts the most steps in a month. Make sure everyone knows about these prizes by creating a communication plan to announce the challenge and invite participation. Prize announcements often boost engagement, so don’t rely on the employee to remember to relay the message when they get home.  

The DHS Wellness 360 Platform makes corporate wellness programs more accessible than ever. The app delivers more personalized wellness, helping individuals track their wellness journey and offering resources to support ongoing mental health. It also serves employers by showing how wellness program engagement affects an employee’s attendance and productivity. 

Things to Consider When Including Families in Corporate Wellness programs

Once you see the benefit to including families in corporate wellness programs, think through these key considerations before implementing programs company-wide. These factors will ensure the programming serves the right audience(s), in a respectful way and assesses the initiative for extra insights. 

  • Minimum age requirements – should young kids be prohibited from certain exercises, challenges, or events?
  • Parent/guardian permission – will you need waivers before kids can enroll in wellness programming? 
  • Communication mediums – what is the best way to reach family members who aren’t in the office, and how will you obtain their contact information? 
  • Participant feedback – how often should you survey participants to find out if they’re satisfied, and if your communication efforts are reaching them? 
  • Personal values – how might dietary and exercise choices vary for employees with different cultures and religious beliefs?
  • Measurements – what data can you track to measure program and family outcomes? 

Extend Your DHS Corporate Wellness Programs to the Entire Family 

Including spouses and family members may be more expensive as an up-front cost, but it has immense potential to offer long-term benefits like lower health costs (for both individual families and the company), increased happiness and higher job satisfaction, among others. Talk to DHS today to learn more about the benefits and importance of including family members in corporate wellness programs