School employee wellness means support for the physical, emotional and professional well-being of all school employees, from teachers and administrators to food service and maintenance staff. Supporting the well-being of school employees will foster a culture of health among all staff in which healthy behaviors are supported and encouraged both at school and at home.
Support for employees at your school can range from wellness programs and activities to creating school-wide policies and environmental changes. Successful approaches often incorporate both.
A healthy workplace leads to employees who are more satisfied with their jobs and able to be higher performing. They are absent fewer days and more likely to stay in their positions. Healthy employees provide the continuity and stability so essential for educational success.
Wellness programs support a culture of health at work
All employees can benefit from workplace wellness programs. By making the healthy choice the easy choice, wellness programs can create a culture of health and stand to deliver a wide range of benefits to employees:
- a safer, more supportive work environment
- improved health, increased well-being, self-image, and self-esteem
- managing stress or other factors affecting health
- reduced out-of-pocket expenses for physician office visits, medications, procedures, or hospitalizations related to acute or chronic illness
- improved job satisfaction
Research shows that by creating a culture of health and increasing healthy behaviors — from being more physically active to eating healthier foods — wellness programs can also increase employees’ ability to focus, reduce absenteeism, improve employee morale, and combat chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Beyond the health benefits of more exercise and healthier foods, workforce wellness programs can help combat stress. School districts that have successfully implemented workforce programs focusing on exercise, stress management and nutrition report seeing increases in employee morale, improved employee health behaviors and higher levels of general well-being among employees.
Wellness programs reduce organizational costs
The adoption of healthy behaviors has been shown to reduce the risks of developing disabling or life threatening diseases and their associated costs. Moreover, by reducing rates of workplace injuries, wellness programs also reduce worker’s compensation claims. Wellness programs have been shown to reduce employee medical costs which can allow for sustainable health care coverage.
As part of employee compensation and the benefits package, supportive health and wellness programs can provide support and help with recruitment and retention in schools.