They’re Not as Daunting as You Think (and Well Worth the Effort)
Small business owners may wince when “workplace wellness” is suggested as an employee benefit. They might even wonder aloud: How much will it cost, and who is going to manage it?
Legit questions, for sure, but introducing wellness initiatives may very well have a positive impact on employees and your bottom line. According to the 2016 AFLAC Workforces Report, 61 percent of employees say they’ve made healthier choices due to the existence of a company wellness program. That’s awesome, but it gets even better: Employees surveyed also reported higher levels of job satisfaction. Boom!
Promote Healthy Living to Reduce Costs
Though business owners do care about employee health, most will admit the real value is driving down costs. Simply put, healthier employees cut health care costs and reduce absenteeism – and happy employees are less likely to leave. Plus, healthy/happy employees will let friends and family know how pleased they are, which could lead to positive word of mouth when you’re looking to hire. All wins for employers and employees.
A common challenge is finding time to encourage development, implementation and continuation of a wellness plan. You might be surprised, however, by how simple it really is. Here are few guiding principles to help you create a program that’s best for your business.
State a desired goal. “We are creating a wellness program to promote healthier living and reduce health care costs for our business” is a pretty good start. Introducing a wellness plan often inspires staff to participate, because you provide a path for personal achievement through teamwork.
Create a culture of wellness. Make it clear your wellness plan is a long-term commitment and not a flavor of the month. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t post a notice on the bulletin board and hope everyone starts fist-pumping. You definitely need and want buy-in.
Get employees involved. Encouraging staff engagement to define a wellness plan that’s best for everyone is important if you want an enthusiastic response. Employees don’t need to be involved in every decision, but a kickoff meeting to share what excites them is extremely valuable. More good news: Employees are more likely to stay engaged and encourage others if you include them in the planning process.
Keep it simple. Many small businesses never launch wellness programs because they struggle with defining the “perfect plan.” Start small and expand to a more robust program when it makes sense.
Simple Ideas to Get You Started
The Center for Disease Control’s Worksite Health ScoreCard is a valuable resource. Though the scorecard is targeted for larger businesses, it includes a variety of insightful questions that will help you formulate a plan.
A Google search on basic wellness programs will yield tons of great ideas, too; like this article on how small businesses are making a difference in their employees’ lives. If you’re ready to hit the ground running, here are some easy-to-implement wellness activities:
- Fruit of the week – An apple a day keeps the doctor away, so offer an alternative to unhealthy snacks.
- Weight-loss competition – Make it fun for individuals or teams by offering prizes for the biggest losers.
- Group fitness activities – Running, biking, walking, yoga, etc. Ask local businesses to sponsor activities and offer something in kind. Click here to learn how a restaurant in Philadelphia incorporated yoga into their staff’s workday.
- Dedicated stress-free zones – Quiet rooms provide a chance to temporarily step aside from the daily grind, and a game room lets employees blow off steam.
- Massage Mondays – Provide free 15-minute massages throughout the day to help exercise those post-weekend blues.
One way to ensure a healthy work/life balance is through an accrual plan for paid time off (PTO). With TrackSmart Attendance, you can track employee PTO banks and customize their ability to accrue hours. Anything you do that shows employees you care about their well-being will create a better work environment and, ultimately, healthier profits.