5 Wellness Initiatives for Manufacturing Workers
Join the trend! 5 Wellness Initiatives for Manufacturing Workers:
Easy Wellness Initiatives for Manufacturing Workers
Let’s keep the spirit of Manufacturing Month alive!
Once more this is an opportunity to entice a new generation to fill the 2.4 million manufacturing positions projected to be unfilled until 2028.
And this next generation of manufacturers have plenty of things to look forward to. The industry, according to WMC President & CEO Kurt R. Bauer, is “high-tech, high-skill and high-pay”.
But as you await the entry of more Millenials and young blood into your organisation, it is vital that you take care of those already part of it.
In doing so you ensure your employees’ well-being, in turn ensuring sustained good performance and productivity.
Sweden is a top performer on well-being. It ranks highly on metrics like civic engagement, personal security, and education. But also in work-related dimensions such as income, employment, and work-life balance.
So this means your organization has something to build on as you prepare your workplace wellness program.
So here are 5 wellness initiatives at work tips that’ll ensure the well-being of your manufacturing workers and keep them happy and satisfied at the same time.
1. Get everyone on-board the Wellness Initiatives train
Getting everyone to buy in to your wellness initiative won’t be easy.
That’s none truer than in blue-collar environments and the traditionally male manufacturing industry, where the “macho” mentality is often prevalent. Euronews outline the challenges men face, with men likelier to be aggressive and daring, and often unwilling to admit weakness or seek help.
These ‘ideals’, though, are being challenged during this pandemic, with men feeling more vulnerable than ever.
So, take full advantage and assure everyone that the organisation has their back. Start an open-door policy that’ll encourage all employees to approach management about their concerns, then incentivise everyone to care and get help when needed.
Use a language that your workers can relate to. I.e. talk about ‘breathing better’ instead of yoga breathing techniques.
Get line managers to do the convincing, backed up by employee’s who are interested in promoting this.
Remember, it takes time to convince people. And the best way to do is by show and tell, by using storytelling from other employees who have seen benefits. Could be in their private lives, or experiences from other workplaces. “I lost 8 pounds when I started walking to work instead of driving”.
Don’t give up, start small if needed and take it from there. Use positive reinforcements, give open praise to those participating.
Still struggling? Send surprise grocery deliveries to the 3 employees who have participated the most.
The word will quickly spread.
2. Implement a stretching program
Despite advances in technology, there’s still a great deal of manual labour in the industry. This can take a physical toll on your employees.
You can minimise it by getting everyone to stretch. Whether at the start of every shift or at different times throughout the day, it can be short and effective.
This stretching program doesn’t have to be anything too complicated.
Pain Free Working lists simple stretches specifically targeting neck pain, including the neck tilt, where you use your fingertips to gently push your head to either side.
There is also the chin lift, where you make a fist with one hand, cover it with the other, and use them to gently lift your head up.
Another easy stretch, this time for the whole body, is the torso stretch. Stand straight, intertwine your fingers, and gently raise your arms up as high as you can.
These simple wellness initiatives at work can prevent and reduce the incidence of injury, and ensure a fully functioning workforce.
If you have someone on your team who has improved their wellbeing using stretches, get him or her to do the initial introduction to all team managers and then their teams.
3. Institutionalise annual medicals
Given the demands of manual labour, it’s vital that your employees stay on top of their health.
This is why scheduling routine annual physical exams are so popular, and effective. These are important to ensure both physical and mental wellbeing.
3 out of 5 workers in Europe have work-related musculoskeletal disorders according to EU-OSHA: that means back pains, tennis elbows, etc.
These exams are particularly useful in diagnosing early underlying medical conditions. Think high blood pressure. Diabetes. Or even heart diseases. These can potentially worsen and adversely impact an employee’s overall health.
To get everyone on board and assuage any hesitation, emphasise how detecting problems early on increases the likelihood that they’ll be remedied before they can even turn serious.
You need to explain exactly how you protect their privacy with these annual check-ups. Explain it once, twice, and again!
Some might worry about losing their job based on the result. Clarify which parts of your wellness initiatives are shared with the employer, and which part is not.
4. Prioritise mental health
A critical component of well-being is good mental health. With COVID, this topic is increasingly getting the attention it needs.
However, some employees (men, in particular) find it difficult to talk about deteriorating mental health. They fear being labelled weak or incompetent.
Don’t let this line of thinking rule in your workplace. Promote a culture that values mental health. Encourage everyone to talk about these topics openly (see tip # 1 about instituting an open-door policy).
Educate everyone about its importance, then offer anonymous counselling to those who need it. Doing so will not only make your employees feel valued, but also help ensure their holistic well-being.
How many of your manufacturing workers feel that they can talk about mental health issues with their line manager?
And how many of them have received training and feel supported to have those conversations?
5. Organise ‘eat-togethers’
Here’s another wellness initiative. This tip, suggested in a post on social events at work to boost employee well-being, relies on the positive impact of socialisation in boosting mood and morale. And lowering absenteeism!
It’s very easy to do as well:
Institutionalise eating as a group, whether at lunchtime, during breaks, or on special occasions (as in company barbecue, popcorn day like at this poultry plant, or a get-together for a birthday, Waffle Fridays, etc).
Plan around manufacturing shifts so there are no clashes.
Take things up a notch by encouraging pot lucks — aim for healthy food. You could also plan Weight Watchers classes or Stress-Free meals sessions.
Don’t scare people off at the beginning with this wellness initiative. Take baby steps. Start with challenges like get the employees to replace 1 unhealthy part for a better one.
Need ideas? For example, instead of french fries, try baked potatoes.
In this way, your employees will be able to eat healthily, bond with one another, and improve their mood, mental health, and overall well-being.
You can also measure the success of these initiatives, as explained over at ToolBox.
6. Extend wellbeing to family members
Next, let’s look at the last of our health and wellness initiatives in a manufacturing setting.
Think of fun ways to include your coworkers’ families in the wellbeing journey.
That means there is a higher chance that healthy new habits will stick both at work, and at home.
It could be a monthly step challenge where you can team up with a spouse, colleague or a friend outside work.
Or organize quirky challenges where you divide into 2 teams: Dog owners vs Normal Walkers! Use testimonials to drive participation: “Jerry lost 5 pounds as he badly wanted us to beat the Dog Owners team”.
It could also be related to fitness family discounts, counselling services or extended paid parental leave. Or invite them to participate in seminars and workshops related to wellbeing and preventative health initiatives.
Financial wellness is increasingly popular lately to help families deal with the economic side effects caused by the coronavirus.
Lastly, ensuring the well-being of your workforce might seem like added work and an additional expense.
But apart from being the right thing to do, ultimately all will be worth it. Your efforts will most likely result in your employees being healthier and feeling valued.
In return, they will be more productive, and more likely to give their loyalty to your organisation.
The Celpax device helps leaders measure progress towards a high-performance company.
Rivyn Jaime is a passionate advocate for employee wellness and mental health. She spends her days writing about best practices in this area. When she’s not researching for her latest piece like this for wellness initiatives, you’ll likely catch her jogging in her local park with her dog, Max. Send your employee wellness ideas!