Small business: Promoting employee wellness

Everyone wins when businesses promote wellness. Employees feel happier, more engaged and experience increased job satisfaction. Happy, healthy employees are more motivated and energized, which dramatically improves performance and productivity on the job.

Small business owners don’t have to spend a fortune to promote health and wellness at the workplace.

Start small.

Smaller companies can still encourage employee wellness without instituting a robust corporate wellness program or making a massive financial investment. Try a few easy, low-cost ways to start getting healthier:

  • Swap the snacks. Swap out the vending machine’s candy bars for healthier snack options. Instead of donuts, have fresh fruit at your morning meetings.
  • Institute a healthy competition. Encourage employees to compete for the most weight lost, miles run or steps taken.
  • Encourage breaks. Encourage walking meetings and breaks throughout the day. Let employees know it’s OK to step away from their desk for a stroll around the block and some fresh air.
  • Share healthy tips. Include healthy recipes or fitness tips in your next employee newsletter.
  • Support healthy events. Get involved in the next March of Dimes or 5K to benefit a cause in your community. Encourage employees to team up and compete against other local businesses.

See what works.

If this is your first stab at an employee wellness program, it may be helpful to see what has worked for other similar businesses. Inc.com shares a list of wellness programs that work for small businesses with practical programs that achieved real results.

Set it up.

Looking for a guide to get started? The Wall Street Journal offers a how-to for setting up an employee wellness plan. Remember, wellness programs and healthy initiatives should excite and motivate your staff. They should focus on encouraging participation, not threatening or punishing employees for not taking part.

Maybe you’ve come up with your own wellness program for your small business. If so, take a minute to review Entrepreneur’s five tips before you get started. A few key takeaways: focus on inclusivity and adaptability, and keep in mind there’s no real “right way,” to wellness. Your program can be as simple or robust as it needs to be.

Here’s to a happier, healthier workforce!