Workplace Wellness Programs for Your Small Business
We can all agree that the success of most, if not, all businesses rely on their employees. That is why it is crucial for your employees to be happy. They are your most valuable asset. Happy employees are loyal, and where loyalty is involved, you can expect amazing things such as flourishing productivity. The first step you can take for your small business is to implement workplace wellness programs. These programs entail any benefits, policies, links to the surrounding community, and environmental support purposefully meant to encourage the safety and health of every employee. For some time, it was only large businesses that implemented employees wellness programs, now, small businesses are following in the footsteps. Such programs reduce healthcare costs, increase productivity, and boost the morale of the employees among other benefits.
So where can a small business get started? Read the tips below on how to begin implementing your workplace wellness program:
- Gather Employee Input
- Set a Budget
- Incorporate Wellness into Your Business DNA
- Implement Your Plan Slowly
- Delegate Tasks
- Start the Program
- Assess and Reevaluate
Ultimately, a workplace wellness program aims to benefit your employees; hence, you should take into account their opinions and input from the onset of the program. Being a small business, gathering employee input is fast and easy. The best way to achieve this is by creating a survey where your employees get to share their expectations of the program and some of their health goals.
Learn some of their struggles, what they need, what topics they wish to learn about, and what they think is realistically possible for them to handle. Honest opinions matter, give them the freedom to express themselves.
Initiatives at the workplace, regardless of the cause, all take time and money. It is understandable for small businesses to struggle with these funds, but remember that you cannot put a price on the well-being of your employees. So, the first question you should ask yourself is, do you have the funds? And if not, you should know what available options are there for you. To determine the budget, you will need to know what resources you will need and the area that you’re willing to dedicate to these programs. If the funds are limited, you can start small, with something like a running club.
For more tips on balancing your small business budget, read this article.
Remember, a wellness program does not involve you telling your employees that they should exercise because smoking is harmful to them. No! A wellness program is more of a commitment that will see the wellness factor in every decision and action that the company takes.
This may start by swapping the bowls of the office snacks for healthier options such as nuts and fruits, ensuring that the company is observing environmental health among other wellness initiatives.
It’s okay if you do not implement the perfect program initially. With such programs, there’s no right or wrong way to go about them except to keep moving forward with the necessary steps. As you implement your ideas, find ways to communicate this information to your employees. For starters, you can provide discounts for a gym that’s nearby. But if you are looking to have a much more effective program, then combine accountability, community, and education with physical activities. Such options would involve bringing in fitness and health experts to give workshops on exercise, sleep, nutrition, or any other particular topics enjoyable to your employees.
Do not let the program be a one-man show. When introducing new programs to the workplace, it’s important to delegate some of the tasks so that in the end, everyone knows that they were involved and contributed to the program. Some may look into lunch spots that serve healthy foods, and others can do research on which programs work best for small businesses and so on.
When it comes to new programs at workplaces, you have to lead by example as the employer. Look for creative ways to encourage your employees to attend the programs. You can be flexible and allow those with spouses to invite them or bring their non-work buddies. People are more comfortable trying new things around people they trust. For the first month, take and record notes of how the programs are going to be sure what works and what doesn’t. You can also check EduBirdies; there, you will learn proper ways on how to take notes.
You have followed the above steps and created a wellness program to fit your business. Give it a month and assess to see if your set plans are working. Useful feedback is critical at this point. Have a method of collecting the feedback from your employees. If you feel that they may be uncomfortable with giving you honest opinions, you can use an anonymous channel to obtain this information. Assessing honest feedback is the only way to have a successful wellness program. If the results you get indicate that the program is not working, reevaluate the plan for the next month with yet another employees survey. Do not stop until you find what works best for your company.
If followed, the above steps will ease the introduction of the wellness program to your small business.
Staggering Statistics: Why Implement Wellness Program
Below are shocking reasons why every business, small or big, should find a way to incorporate wellness programs according to Center for Disease Control and Prevention which reports:
- An American who is employed full-time spends a third of their day, five days a week, at their workstation. It means that all this time, they are seated at a desk which may yield to physical and mental illnesses.
- The number of Americans aged 20 years and above who are overweight is 33% and those who have obesity almost 38% hence totaling up to 71% of Americans.
From these figures, wellness programs can no longer come off as a luxury or a plus for a business; they can now be termed as a necessity. It’s a health crisis that’s about to overtake smoking, which is the number one cause of preventable death in America.
Examples of Workplace Wellness Programs Small Businesses Can Incorporate
Now that you have an idea of what you are about to launch, below are examples of workplace wellness programs that you can initiate depending on your budget:
- On-site Fitness Center
- Smoking Cessation Program
- Transit Options
- Yoga Classes
- Employee Assistance Program
- Lunch and Healthy Snacks
If you can afford it, go for it. An onsite fitness center is almost the definition of a wellness program at a workplace. It may seem like an expensive investment but it is a justifiable expense for retaining and recruiting healthy team members.
For example, Unilever has a ‘wellbeing zone’ for meditation, rest, and recovery. Employees see this wellness program also as a perk which not only helps employees tackle stress, but also retains employees.
Employees who smoke cigarettes are prone to costing the business more money due to health issues compared to nonsmokers. In both economic and ethical interest, some companies have found it best to provide smoking cessation programs to their employees. Such programs are effectively reducing the number of smokers in workplaces. It may include pharmacological assistance or a lifestyle coaching program.
There are many cessation smoking programs to incorporate into your business. Become an EX is a national campaign launched by the National Alliance for Tobacco Cessation where smokers can create personalized quit plans. For more programs, check out this list.
A business can encourage other means of transportation such as cycling or public transport which could be favorable to the workplace as well as the future of the environment. For those employees who value environmental responsibility, such a program can be appealing.
Another way to go is by offering your employees yoga classes perhaps twice or thrice per week. Such a program is useful as it helps with stress relief, especially those employees who have to work under tight deadlines. It is also cost-friendly as the essential requirement to perform yoga classes is the space, and many small businesses are using their break or conference rooms to do it all through the day.
When speaking of wellness, it does not only involve taking care of the body but the mind as well. An assistance program should offer confidential support regarding issues related to substance abuse, stress, anxiety, and depression.
A program like this should take place outside the workplace through guided support programs. A small business can support such a program by providing financial aid and access to programs for all of their employees. You can set rewards for your employees once they accomplish the wellness goals that they had set.
Most companies offer a limited amount of time for lunch breaks. Time is money, yes, but with only 30 minutes for lunch, a lot of employees are forced to eat fast food to save their time and eat it fast. A creative idea that a small business can implement is offering a 90-minute fitness lunch break to their employees.
It is ideal and does not cost the company much. Such a break would give your employees enough time to head home and eat a healthy meal, hit the gym while others can indulge in sports and play their favorite game. It is such an appealing program since everybody needs to eat. You can also offer healthy snacks at a certain period during the day. After such a break, you can expect productive employees throughout the afternoon to evening.
Benefits of Wellness Programs
There are endless benefits associated with the implementation of workplace wellness programs in business. The benefits are not only useful for your employees but your brand as well. So what do wellness programs do?
- Reduce Stress
- Improve Productivity
- Improve Employee Health Behavior
- Reduce Absenteeism
- Builds a Community
- Create Healthier Habits
Various workplace wellness programs can reduce stress. Stress is on the rise and is becoming a major concern for many businesses. Stress can be the result of many things that happen in the workplace, for instance, meetings, schedules, and traffic can all lead to stress. In a recent survey by MediKeeper, American workers report less stress when their workplace has a wellness program in place.
Other tools and technology can also help reduce stress. Employee scheduling software Deputy has features to control fatigue and overtime when creating schedules. Small business owners can greatly benefit from employee scheduling software when running their business. For more information on how to reduce stress by using employee scheduling technology, schedule a call with one of our reps below and give Deputy a try by signing up for a free 30-day trial.
Activities associated with employees wellness programs such as exercises and eating well tend to improve the performance and productivity of your employees directly. Productivity starts from the mind, with these programs, employees will be better focused on tasks, energized, and motivated to accomplish their duties. Those who may feel burnt out or those who fall asleep will no longer face these challenges. You can trust nutrition and exercise to achieve that for your business!
The whole point of a wellness program is behavior change. People do change behaviors due to the right motivation, education, and social support. These programs are especially good at aiding people to adopt and maintain behaviors that are healthy, and this is precisely the biggest reason why businesses are adopting wellness programs. Once your employees practice healthy behaviors, they translate into lower health risks and in turn, lead to less chronic diseases. Less chronic diseases mean that the employees have fewer health care costs. Not all programs manifest positive results, but they can if they follow behavior change model and get well organized.
You can expect regular absent employees if they are unhealthy. It is only natural for healthy employees to show up to work every day. Initially, the programs can set you back financially but give it time, and you will see good results. Comprehensive wellness programs can reduce absenteeism because:
Employees with good health behaviors show up daily
- Employees with healthy cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure have a lower absenteeism rate
- Employees who have control of their stress levels rarely miss work
- Employees who are not overweight or obese have a lower absenteeism rate
A small business can thrive best if its employees work as a community. Among the best ways to form a strong community around the workplace is by having group activities. Wellness programs do just that. You can expect a connection around the workplace. Employees will become more engaged and relationships will be formed naturally. The business and the employees will both benefit from this shared experience together with their social health.
Since a lot of the hours are spent at work, with wellness programs, employees will be inclined to indulge in them and hence learn new healthy habits. As stated above, healthy employees mean a healthy business. Their mindsets will switch to healthier choices that are beneficial to them, i.e., healthier food choices and workout schedules.
It’s evident that poor health choices or lifestyles are endangering businesses nationwide. The prevention can have a high return for your company. Being a small business does not mean that you cannot afford a wellness program. With some of the examples above, it’s clear that not all programs have to be expensive or fancy for them to work. It’s all about programs that get your employees to participate. Regardless of the programs that you introduce, the secret is to tailor them according to the needs of your employees and your company’s capabilities. If you do so, it will mean that you have a healthier workplace, and in such a case everyone wins!
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