“Wellness” may seem like just a trendy buzzword these days, but when it comes to creating a successful, thriving workplace, supporting employees’ mental and physical well-being is more than just good for morale—it’s good for business.

Becoming truly wellness-focused, however, requires more than just offering extra sick leave or an occasional seminar. Consider the following techniques for integrating wellness at every level.


Open Communication Channels

Few employees feel comfortable discussing personal problems, like feeling overly stressed, with their managers at work, even when work situations may be contributing to that stress. One way to help them open up about the things that matter is to encourage communication at all times. Schedule regular check-ins with staff— meetings that aren’t related to their performance, at which they can bring up any ideas, goals, or issues they may have. This gives employees space to raise concerns without needing to seek out their supervisor, and without feeling like their jobs are on the line.


Put Supportive Policies in Place

Having policies designed to support employees going through difficulties can help alleviate some of their burdens. In fact, making it easy for employees to take some time off when they need it can lessen overall absenteeism. Make sure to carefully document expectations for making up missed time, changing pay rates, and handing off responsibilities during absences, and make that documentation easily accessible so employees know what’s available to them. Keep in mind that many conditions, both mental and physical, remain chronic despite treatment; continuing to support those employees over time can help them thrive in their roles, and make investing in their well-being a sound financial decision.


Make a Clear Commitment to Wellness

While it is critically important to keep individual employees’ personal needs and issues private, a company’s overall commitment to its employees’ health should never be a secret. Ensure that employees are aware of and understand the all policies in place to help them, and support efforts—especially employee-driven efforts—to create a company-wide culture of wellness. These efforts don’t need to be extravagant. From cooking classes to yoga breaks to walking clubs, there are lots of simple programs that boost morale, improve health, and demonstrate a company’s commitment to wellness goes beyond just the employee handbook.