With the rising costs of health care and the tangible benefits that come with living a healthy life style, it’s almost a no-brainier that implementing a wellness program in your small business can offer a potentially big payback. And don’t think that it will necessarily cost you big bucks. Just because you can’t afford to sponsor an expensive spa or gym membership for your employees nor provide extensive health-related workshops and other services, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a wellness program in your business.
You may be surprised by how far a little thought and creativity can go. If you are considering building a wellness program in your business, but need to do so on the cheap, then here are some tips to keep in mind:
First, take a look around. You need to take a real good look at your business and your employees and identify those key areas that need to be changed. Are there a lot of smokers in your business? What do break times look like? What do you and your employees eat, drink, or snack on? Does you business involve long periods of sitting or standing in one place? Pick one or two areas to start with.
Create space. Before you introduce any changes in your business, make sure that you prepare your employees and ask for their input. Having a discussion about some possible options for your wellness program is definitely a start. There are two main benefits to starting things in this way: first, your employees may offer many ideas for the wellness program that you could not have come up with on your own, and second, you want to get your employees excited about the program. If they “own” it, then there is a greater chance of it being a success.
Be flexible and creative. With a little flexibility and creativity, there are many healthy activities you can introduce in your business, and the best part is that these activities can also be great team builders. Some free or low-cost ideas to consider include:
- Starting a walking, hiking, or biking group
- Cooking healthy lunches together
- Going as a group to a health fair
- Setting fitness goals, such as losing weight, running a certain distance, quitting smoking
Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in one day as they say, and neither will your business’ wellness program. Old habits and patterns are typically the hardest to break, so make sure you introduce any changes slowly and deliberately.
Communicate and evaluate. If you really want your wellness initiatives to have a positive, lasting effect, then make it a point to both communicate with your employees and evaluate how the program is going. This will allow to tweak things along the way. If, for example, you started putting out healthy snacks, but these items aren’t being eaten, then find out why and see if there are alternatives. If you set group fitness goals, but your employees are having a hard time sticking to them, then maybe the goals were set too high.
In short, if you would like to start a wellness program in your business, but are afraid of what it might cost you, don’t sweat it. Those little, healthy changes can really go a long way.