Implementing a workplace wellness program is a great benefit not only to the employees, but to the managers and business owners as well. A workplace wellness program can help control health insurance costs, reduce Workers’ Compensation and disability costs, increase employee productivity and fewer missed days and higher morale and improved recruiting. But, before we get into that, lets start with some basics.
What is Workplace Wellness?
Workplace wellness refers to the education and activities that a work site may sponsor in order to promote healthy lifestyles for their employees and their families. Examples of wellness initiatives include health education classes, subsidized use of fitness facilities and internal policies or programs that promote health behavior.
Your company does not need to be a large corporation in order to benefit from a workplace wellness program. In fact, targeting wellness is important for smaller companies because a successful workplace wellness program can reap the following benefits:
- Improve employee morale and increase productivity.
- Reduce overall health care costs.
- Improve employee well-being and reduce absenteeism.
- Help retain and attract employees.
Where Do I Start?
Before you start picking out activities and prizes, it’s important to lay some groundwork. Gain support from all levels of management and encourage them to participate. Make sure they are aware of and understand the program’s goals and benefits. After that you will want to assemble a workgroup or committee responsible for promoting the workplace wellness program, planning activities and conducting evaluations. Make sure this group has a mixture of various departments. This group will also need a coordinator to manage and oversee the program. They will be in charge of making sure there are regular meetings, analyzing progress and making sure this program stays on budget.
What If There’s Not Much Room In The Budget?
Many smaller businesses may not be able to have a large budget set aside for wellness, and that’s ok. Even if you have a very small budget, you can still have a successful workplace wellness program. A few low-cost wellness ideas include:
- Ask a local hospital, nonprofit or other health care organization to provide presentations to your employees on the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
- Ask your insurance agent if your health insurance carrier offers free health risk assessments.
- Make your workplace smoke-free.
- Offer on-site flu shots for free or at a reduced cost.
- Provide heather vending machine choices.
- Encourage employees to go outside during lunch or during their breaks for a quick run or walk. Encourage them to take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.
- Provide educational materials on the benefits of eating well, exercising, not smoking and other healthy lifestyle changes.
By developing a workplace wellness program, your company can lower health care costs, increase productivity and boost employee morale. All of which can contribute to protecting the company’s bottom line and keeping employees happy.
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