Updated January 1, 1 . AmFam Team
One of the best ways to take your small business from good to great is by promoting workplace wellness. A healthy workplace is becoming more of a priority for recruiting candidates, since companies with worksite wellness programs are typically more invested in the long-term wellbeing of their employees.
If you’re thinking about launching a wellness program at your business, you may not know where to begin. Trina Laube, director of Education and Outreach for the National Wellness Institute, Inc., in Stevens Point, Wisc., says to start with your employees.
“Ask employees what motivates them, be flexible with the office hours so they can commit, and create a culture of wellness that promotes healthy living,” advises Laube.
To get you started, we’ve highlighted some inexpensive ways to promote healthy habits at work. Take a look!
Don’t be afraid to start small. Your employees will need time to adjust their schedules to make time for your wellness program. As they become more accustomed to working together you can add other elements into the mix. Here are a few ideas to help get your workplace wellness program underway:
Launch a walking challenge. Build morale with a team-building exercise that has a fitness component built into it. “I’ve seen a challenge where people park far away, wear activity trackers and mark their progress online,” Laube says.
Do a heart-healthy potluck. Schedule a block of time for employees to work with one another while safely preparing food onsite. Plan a meal together each month. Chicken fajitas, anyone? One person can bring the protein while the rest supply the toppings. “It’s fun and affordable, and everyone can take some home,” Laube says.
Conduct meetings on the go. Give your team a midday boost by conducting standing or walking meetings. “Standing meetings are more efficient and sometimes people get more energized as they move around,” Laube suggests.
Host a group activity. From Zumba and line dancing to bowling and softball leagues, spark team building while employees get fit. It’s a great way to build morale and create a more cohesive team spirit at work. “Make sure groups are voluntary and have a social aspect,” says Laube. Doing activities together also can help your team feel empowered.
Set up a healthy snacks station. Air popcorn, granola bars and fresh fruit are just a few of the items that you can have in baskets at meetings and in the pantry. It encourages creative exchanges and healthy eating habits.
Make space for meditation. Inexpensively design a “Zen den” at work with tips from sites such as ArtofLiving.org (Opens in a new tab). “Having a space where people can work out, meditate, or take a break can reduce stress while inviting workplace wellness,” Laube comments. If your company is small and doesn’t have enough space, ask the local fitness center for an employee gym discount in return for renting a room.
Encourage volunteer efforts. Numerous studies show that giving back improves physical and emotional health. Create a customized program through organizations such as Points of Light (Opens in a new tab). It teaches employees about giving back while practicing leadership skills.
Plan a day retreat. If done correctly, this can be an affordable way to inspire your workforce. Reserve a space in a natural setting where you can all meet together to grow socially and even towards long-range business goals. A weekend company retreat, although more costly, is also a great place to bring on a motivational coach, introduce incentives and build momentum about upcoming projects.
Promoting healthy living in the workplace can be affordable and fun. It’s a great way to encourage team building and increase productivity, but the key to a successful wellness program is sustainability. “It’s not just about one-time programming, but about having policies in place that allow for wellness every day,” Laube says.
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