Starting a Wellness Program on a Budget
When you are running a business, it’s often easy to forget how important it is for you and your employees to eat healthy, manage stress, and get adequate exercise. Before you even realize it, you will find your employees attempting to meet deadlines while running on junk food, coffee, fast food, and doughnuts.
A wellness program will redirect everyone’s focus to good health and have been proven to benefit employees and employers. How, you ask?
Ideas for a Wellness Program: Starting a Wellness Program on a Budget
When you have healthy employees, your costs as an employer are reduced- and they produce better work. The problem that lots of businesses face is trying to implement a wellness program on a budget. Here are a few ideas that will help you get the ball rolling.
Try providing healthy snacks in the common areas to encourage your employees to make healthy eating choices. This will improve their mood and helps with weight control. In addition, it gives your employees an energy boost- which leads to an increase in productivity.
Having fruit available such as bananas, oranges, peaches, apples, berries, grapes, and more gives them those healthy options. In addition, you should also consider making snacking veggies available in the fridge such as broccoli florets, cherry tomatoes, and baby carrots. You’ll find that it’s actually very easy to schedule weekly or even daily deliveries.
Another way that you can influence the food choices of your employees is to offer healthy lunches from time to time. After all, healthy, delicious food for free? That’s a win-win!
Consider holding a monthly healthy potluck where you request that everyone bring in a healthy dish that they choose. You can set up a sign-up sheet in the break room so that your employees can jot down what they plan to bring and you can avoid any overlap.
You may find it helpful to provide your employees with nutritional education through printed or online materials and consider offering a workplace wellness newsletter once a week/month filled with recipe ideas and wellness tips.
Form a partnership with a gym in your area to offer your employees free or low-cost memberships- or consider offering incentives to employees who take part in a weight loss program- cash or gift cards are great incentives. You may also consider offering fitness classes on-site such as Zumba or aerobics so that exercise is easier and more accessible for your employees.
If you have an area around the office that is good for walking, consider organizing a walking club that can meet before or after work. Be creative and hold meetings where you walk instead of sitting and discuss things. Offer fitness challenges and offer incentives for those who win.
Encourage your employees to maintain a healthy balance of life/work. If possible, offer a flexible work schedule not restricted to 9 to 5. This allows your employees to have a little bit of wiggle room to work the hours that best suit them and their lives.
Offer a fun area for your employees to unwind- perhaps a foosball or ping pong table. In addition, consider offering stress reduction clinics to assist your employees with managing and reducing stress and have “stress reduction” counseling for those who need it.
Get together with a local yoga instructor and have them come once a week- or every other week- to guide your team through a yoga class. This is great for reducing stress levels- and increasing flexibility and overall health.
Instead of playing the boring “elevator” music in your office/work area, consider playing some music that is upbeat (without lyrics). This has been proven to increase mood and productivity. However, you don’t want to blast it- keep it ambient so that it’s not a distraction.
If you have an empty room/office, consider converting it to a “no work” break room. You can place comfy chairs and soft couches. You should make this a place for your employees to go so they can relax, do yoga, meditate, or just veg out. Make sure to enforce the “no business allowed” rule for this room.
Starting Your Budget Wellness Program
Now that we’ve gotten some ideas for starting a wellness program, let’s look at how to start one on a budget.
Before you can jump into incorporating a wellness program into your office, it’s a good idea to survey your employees and figure out what they might be interested in- and see the value in. After all, there’s no point in implementing a program if your employees are not going to use it or will see as a waste of time.
Create Your Plan
Once you have surveyed your employees, figure out the programs that best fit their needs and analyze the cost of these programs. Then, create an outline of the programs you plan to implement, when you plan to implement them, and what the cost will be.
Don’t Forget about Regulations
It’s critical that you are somewhat familiar with the relevant regulations such as the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). The general guidelines state that participation in these types of programs should be voluntary and any information obtained must be confidential. These programs should never be used when it comes to making decisions related to employment and you must also have reasonable alternatives available in certain types of programs.
Use Incentives to Promote Engagement
Since participating in these types of programs if voluntary, it’s a good idea to consider encouraging your employees with incentives. This could be in the form of gift card, a reduction in employee contributions to the cost of health care, or even cash rewards.
In order to tweak your programs in the future and figure out whether or not your desired outcomes were achieved, take a look at the participation and satisfaction rates. Ask your employees to provide feedback on what they enjoyed or didn’t enjoy.
By taking the time to implement ideas such as these and following the steps that are listed above, you will be able to reap the benefits of offering a wellness program for your employees. The great thing is, you don’t have to wait until you have a big enough budget to do this. All you have to do is make a few small, simple changes and pay attention to the impact it has on your overall business.