Workplace wellness program has been helpful for larger companies in efforts to boost morale and enhance productivity, but what about small businesses? Even if you don’t have the budget for expensive solutions like an at-work gym, there are steps a small business can take to create an appropriate and effective wellness program.
Employee Wellness Program Benefits
A wellness program is a benefit for employees as well as employers. According to a joint report by the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Health an Human Services, such programs can increase overall productivity.
Specifically, a wellness program can:
- Increase productivity
- Increase morale
- Increase employee loyalty and retention
- Decrease healthcare expenses, especially for chronic illness
- Decrease absences
- Improve engagement and teamwork
Preliminary Steps to Start Wellness Program
Before you establish a new wellness program, there are steps you should take to help ensure you get it right.
1. Find out what employees want.
Boost employee buy-in and assess what kinds of elements to put into your program by surveying your employees. Find out their health goals and what they’d like to see in a company program. This will help you avoid implementing things that employees won’t use.
2. Figure out what you want.
What do you want out of a wellness program? Use your goals as well as your employees’ to determine what the top one or two areas are. You may find that you want to have a yoga program during lunch, for example, but workers prefer having an aerobics workout before work.
3. Develop your budget.
This will be an investment, but the payoff can be more than worth it. Keep it simple if you need to, with a walking or jogging group, for instance. Or invest some time and money into providing incentives, healthy snacks at the workplace, fitness classes, or even professional coaches to work with your team.
4. Do your research.
No need to come up with something on your own, although a team of employees might come up with some great ideas. Find out what other programs are out there, find some examples and templates to work from—looking on the internet can help you find all kinds of good information.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers an excellent resource with the CDC Workplace Health Resource Center. You’ll find strategies, data and research, fact sheets and other resources and data bases to help you structure your own program.
For more information about wellness programs for small business, read our Do Wellness Programs Make Sense for Small Businesses? article.