There’s no question that working retail is a tough job – you’re on your feet all day, customers get cranky and both your mind and body are in near-constant motion during your shift. And while all of this screams for participation in a wellness program, the nature of retail jobs – lack of computer access, regimented breaks and 100 percent direct focus on the customer – makes that easier said than done.
So how do you engage these key employees in the importance of their own well-being? We’ve got seven “just for retail” tips that’ll do the trick:
1. If you go to them, they will come
The reality of retail work is that flexible hours and working from home aren’t options. That can make it tough to visit the doctor for a preventive care visit or health screening. So bring the docs to the shop by offering on-site screenings and physicals that employees can take advantage of during breaks.
2. Make the best of those breaks
Most retail employees get an hour for lunch and a couple of 10-minute breaks per eight-hour shift. Sadly, it’s not uncommon for breaks to be filled with fast food and inactivity. Encourage a focus on downtime well-being: subsidize healthy meals at a local restaurant, provide on-site workout equipment or a discount to a nearby gym and stock the vending machine with nutritious snacks.
3. Put it on paper
Retail workers are focused on the customer all day long – and that’s exactly where you want them. This means they’re not checking email and accessing the Internet throughout the workday, so you’ll miss this group if you rely solely on digital communications. Incorporate a variety of print into your marketing strategy – home mailings, table tents in break rooms and posters in employee-only areas (locker rooms, restrooms, near the time clock, etc.).
4. Find your champions
There’s always at least one superstar influencer at every location – someone employees respect and admire. Talk with store managers to identify these people and approach them to serve as wellness champions. They’ll be responsible for engaging their colleagues in the program (you may even want to tie it into their performance goals) and reporting back to you about what’s working and not working.
5. Be challenge-appropriate
Unlike corporate employees, front-line retail workers are in motion ALL DAY. Keep this in mind when designing challenges! Try a “Walk at Work” challenge for this crew and distribute activity trackers so they can record their steps during the workday.
6. Embrace the competitive spirit
Retail locations LOVE to compete against each other when it comes to sales and profit. So use this to your advantage when it comes to wellness! Create challenges that pit locations against each other – whether it’s around healthy eating, exercise or smoking cessation. Just be sure to design the challenge around a health risk that’s relevant to your workforce.
7. Watch your timing
It’s not easy to grab the attention of retail employees during the busy, bustling holiday season. They’re working harder than ever and laser-focused on pleasing the customer – as they should be! So give them a break during this time. Hold off on challenges that ask them to do more or make significant lifestyle changes – all of that can wait until January under a “New Year’s Resolution” theme. However, we probably speak for all retail employees when we say that mini-challenges around stress reduction and relaxation – whether that’s on-site chair massages or guided meditation breaks – are more than welcome.