In order for your small business to be as successful as possible, you need your employees to operate at full strength. If you have a staff full of people who are constantly at home due to illness or only working at half speed because they’re stressed about their health or even health-related financial issues, then your business can’t function properly.
A wellness program at your workplace can help you keep your employees productive by making sure they’re as healthy and stress-free as possible. Here are some tips for getting a wellness program started at your office.
Creating a Small Business Wellness Program
Gather Employee Input
Ultimately, your workplace wellness program is supposed to benefit your employees. So you need to actually take their input and opinions into account when shaping your program.
To do this, create a survey for your employees to share their health goals and what they might like to see out of a wellness program. You can also find out what your employees think they can realistically handle.
For example, you might think it sounds like a great idea to start a running club after work. But if half of your team has bad knees that won’t allow them to run or hectic schedules that don’t leave much time for structured activities after work, then you may need to go in a different direction.
Assess Your Goals
From there, you can assess what goals both you and your team might find most important. While there are some wellness programs that can address many different areas, it might be best for you to focus on just one or two areas at first.
So if you notice that many of your employees brought up wanting to improve their diet, then you may want to focus your efforts in that area. Instead of offering up fitness activities for your team to do on their lunch breaks, you might come up with a points system that they can use to keep track of their meals and nutritional intake throughout the day.
Set a Budget
Any workplace initiative is going to take some time and/or money. If you don’t have a ton of funds to dedicate to a wellness program, you still have options. But you need to at least determine what resources you’re able and willing to dedicate to this area.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a wellness program, you could do something simple like start a running club. (Again, this assumes it would be something your employees will appreciate.) Other options that could cost more money include incentives for employees, healthy workplace food options, fitness classes and hiring professionals who can come and share expertise with your team.
You also have to consider the time commitment. If you and your team are too busy to dedicate any work hours to the program, then you may need to come up with an idea that only includes healthy lunch options or after-hours workouts.
Create a Specific Structure
Any small business owner or manager can simply tell their team members to develop healthy eating habits, exercise regularly or even quit smoking. But an actual workplace wellness program has to go farther than that.
In order for your initiative to be successful, you need a structure. That means you need to create a process that you and your team can actually follow to stay on track. You might make it into a contest like a “Biggest Loser” type weight-loss challenge. Or you could create a points system to encourage healthy eating.
There are countless ways to structure your program. But you’ll need to at least have some kind of goal, a timetable and an incentive in order for your initiative to be successful.
Find Helpful Resources
You don’t have to build a wellness program from scratch all on your own. Plenty of businesses and organizations have built successful programs already. So you may as well use what they’ve learned and created to guide your own initiative.
The CDC, for example, has some models for workplace wellness programs that you can use to shape your own initiatives.
Once you’ve decided on what exactly you want your wellness program to achieve, you can do some research to find examples and templates of similar initiatives. You can always customize later, but these guides can help you save time in getting started.
Keep the Program Top of Mind
In order for your wellness program to be successful, you can’t simply mention it once and hope that your team will keep up with it. You need to somehow remind your team of the program regularly.
Maybe you have weekly meetings or weigh-ins for weight loss competitions. Maybe each week you send out a selection of healthy recipes. Or you could even put up a display in your office where team members can update their own progress for their health goals.
Employee Wellness Photo via Shutterstock