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Wellness Programs - 10 Ideas for Small Businesses

Written by: Christina Merhar
June 25, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Wellness programs are becoming popular with employers of all sizes... from startups and small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.

Small business owners are adopting workplace wellness programs to reduce health insurance costs, become an employer of choice, recruit and retain employees, and sustain a healthy (and productive) workforce.

10 Wellness Program Ideas for Small Businesses

Small businesses don't have to invest a lot of time and resources to create a wellness program.

They just need to identify their goals, explain the activities clearly, engage employees, and track what is working. 

Here are ten simple wellness program ideas to get started.

  1. Encourage employees to incorporate health activities into their workday. And, make this both practical and possible. For example, institute walking meetings, allow extended lunches for employees to work out or go for a run, or support standing desks.

  2. Ask for employees' feedback. Ask employees how they think the business can improve employees' health.

  3. Leadership Buy-In. Start wellness program activities at the leadership team level and show by example. Make your leaders the health advocates for the company. 

  4. Make your work environment reflective of a healthy culture. Take a look around at the work space. Does the physical environment make it easy for employees to get or stay healthy? Are work spaces ergonomic?

  5. Invite employees to share their success. Encourage employees to share health-related efforts and successes with others.

  6. Talk about health and wellness alongside business decisions. For example, if you're considering relocating or changing working hours, consider employees' health as an important input in decision-making.

  7. Set up a rewards program. Use a rewards, incentives, or recognition program to recognize, reward, or celebrate health success.

  8. Cleanse the kitchen. If you have an open kitchen, cafeteria, or vending machines, make healthy options available. Get rid of the junk. 

  9. Encourage occasional web surfing. Don't get me wrong, chronic web surfing is a productivity killer. However, research shows that occasional, passive web surfing actually boosts employees' moods.

  10. "Off the clock"? Encourage employees to disconnect from work. The 'always on' atmosphere at many small businesses can lead to stress, burn-out, and poor employee wellness. Encourage productivity while at the office, and encourage employees to disconnect from work during off-hours. Leadership can set the example by leaving at a reasonable time and limiting non-urgent communications outside of business hours.

What ideas do you have for a small business wellness program?

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