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Your workplace culture should involve employees’ families

Published by: LifeWorks,

An employee of yours has been smoking for 20+ years. Finally, after his last doctor’s visit, he feels the pressure to quit smoking. However, he doesn’t know where to start. This is where your wellness-centered workplace culture comes in.

He recently saw your health newsletter promoting the smoking cessation program you offer and decided to join. However, this is an uphill battle because his wife smokes, too. How can you help in this situation?

When employees have a healthy support system at home, they’re held accountable for making big lifestyle changes. And when you get employees’ families involved in your strategy for improving health and well-being, everyone benefits.

Getting employees’ families involved in your total well-being strategy leads to a better quality of life and has several advantages for everyone involved:

Saved costs

When employees aren’t focused on their personal wellness, they’re more prone to miss work and be less productive. But even more importantly, negative health habits reduce employees’ life expectancies, hurt their overall quality of life, and may even send them into financial troubles.

Fortunately, you can help your employees and their families cut down on healthcare costs and avoid insurance premium spikes.
The answer is simple: promote proactive well-being measures and build your workplace culture around total well-being.

First, teach employees and their families how to be proactive with their well-being. Encourage them to take health risk assessments regularly throughout the year and to stay consistent with their annual checkups. This helps them determine their wellness goals and stay ahead of them.

Once they know how to be proactive, start rewarding them. Incorporate tiered incentives into your well-being strategy.

When their family members participate in your company’s wellness benefits, reward the employee with points for their ‘Wellness Wallet.’ They can accrue points and ‘cash them in’ for extra paid days off, fitness trackers, and other fun prizes that the whole family can enjoy.

Not only does this save families money on their health insurance premiums and reduce their healthcare costs, but you also add to their wallets by incentivizing healthy behaviors.

Shared habits

Forming new habits is a tough endeavor, but when employees are held accountable and encouraged by their support system, it’s much easier.

Members within a household influence each other’s behaviors and decision making — for better or for worse. Let’s say your employee enrolls in a weight loss program through your benefits. He needs to stick to a strict meal plan, but that can be especially challenging if his family still eats salty, fatty foods for dinner.

However, if he comes home and cooks healthy meals with his family, eating healthier is much easier and more fun. Promote family events, like cooking challenges or company runs, that get the whole family excited about adopting new habits.

Empower them with health-focused gifts, like subscriptions to meal kit services like Blue Apron or memberships to local health clubs. This way, they’re set up for success.

Additionally, make it clear to your employee’s family members that they can access wellness benefits for their own use through a ‘Fit Family’ campaign.

Your messaging should speak directly to each family member and promote tailored health and fitness plans. For example, connect them to health and wellness coaches for individualized sessions, where each family member can set goals and define healthy habits they want to learn. The whole family will understand each other’s goals so they can better support one another in forming these new habits.

Better balance

Finding the perfect work-life balance is one of the biggest obstacles employees face. But when they have family members keeping them away from work emails, they can stop focusing so much on their workload.

Employees’ families can be active supporters. Turning a blind eye enables their workaholic behavior. Instead, they need to call attention to your employee’s imbalance so they can put their computer away and focus on being available for important family functions.

To raise awareness about how work-life balance should be enforced at home, show family members the warning signs of overworking. These signs include responding to work emails in bed, using their work computer during the weekend, and making calls to clients after hours.

Make this fun for your employees and their families. For example, if the employee is a big sports fan, encourage their family to ‘keep score’ of their time spent doing work when they really should be focused on family time. When they address it in a fun, lighthearted way, it helps everyone take it less seriously and focus on what truly matters.

Stronger relationships

Every family goes through relationship issues, so employees need time and resources to focus on managing their family life.

In fact, the Chestnut Global Partners’ 2017 EAP industry trends report found that the primary reason employees access EAP services in North America is marital, with child behavior and extended family among the other top reasons.

If your employee is ignoring marital issues and not focusing on building a better home life for themselves, those issues are going to follow them to work. Even worse, it will cause a great deal of distress and hurt their overall quality of life.

Provide relationship coaching services to employees and families who need it. Through coaching, they can learn how to build more intimate bonds, develop a peaceful home life, resolve conflicts in a more effective way, and even give their social lives a boost.

Bringing families into your workplace culture

With total well-being as the main focus of your culture, you need to know how to encourage employees’ families to get involved, too. They’re indirectly a part of your culture, so show them how to make the most of your wellness benefits and well-being initiatives.

Your strategy for promoting to both employees and their family’s needs to be engaging. Here are a few ideas:

  • Family Fun Days – Invite employees’ families to the workplace for games, cookouts, and picnics. These events bring families together and give you an opportunity to connect with all of them and promote your wellness benefits.
  • The ‘It Works’ Campaign – Encourage employees and their family members to share personal stories and testimonials about how they used wellness benefits to help them with a major life challenge.
  • Monthly Challenges – Start friendly competitions between families through various wellness challenges, like weight loss and step contests.
  • Book Clubs – Share educational content and book recommendations with employees and their families. Then, once a month, encourage families to meet and discuss what they learned from the readings.


Make your employees feel loved