A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that small businesses (even those with fewer than 50 employees) that participate in wellness programs reap serious monetary rewards in terms of employee health, productivity, and fewer workplace injuries. In fact, for every $1 spent on wellness initiatives, study participants saw an average of $2 in return. Talk about ROI!
Here are some other interesting things the study revealed:
- The wellness program reduced common health risk factors, such as obesity, poor eating and exercise habits, tobacco use, high alcohol consumption, stress, depression, and high blood pressure.
- Only 33 percent of small businesses offer wellness programs.
- 97 percent of employers that participated in the study reported that worker wellness improves safety (which can reduce Workers' Comp Insurance claims and keep rates low).
Read the full write-up on InsuranceNewsNet to learn more about the study.
With all these documented benefits, initiating a wellness program at your business may seem like a given. Let's look at some ways you can promote workplace wellness and start seeing results.
7 Creative Ways Small Businesses Can Put Wellness First
The two-thirds of small business that don't have wellness programs often cite their main obstacle as a lack of resources. But you don't need an exceptional amount of money, time, or manpower to get a wellness initiative off the ground. To get your wheels turning, here are seven affordable ways to drive wellness at the office.
- Encourage employees to get moving. Incorporating a little movement in your employees' workday can reduce strain, boost endorphins, and improve focus. Suggest employees go for a walk at lunch and take frequent stretch breaks to offset the damage of prolonged sitting.
- Welcome pets into the office. Animals are natural stress reducers, according to an article by Today. Having animals at the workplace also encourages employees to be more active – after all, dogs need to go out to do their business a few times a day. As an added bonus, the presence of pets can be a selling point for animal-loving customers. (Related: check out how the digital printing company CatPrint made their pet-friendly policy a defining part of its company culture.)
- Spruce up the office. Throw open the blinds on your office windows to let in natural light, which boosts happiness and productivity. As an extra touch, keep some indoor plants at the workplace to purify the air.
- Rethink the dress code. Sure, a suit and tie make a sharp impression, but no one wants to run around in dress clothes. Consider making the dress code business casual on days when you're not expecting clients, and you'll probably see more movement from your employees during the day.
- Buy fresh produce. Junk food may make for easy grab-and-go snacks, but these items take their toll on your employees' health. Instead of bowls of candy, consider bringing in fresh produce for employees to snack on. Encourage employees to bring healthy snacks to share, too.
- Make weekly wellness goals. Motivate your employees to reach these goals by offering a small reward (even goofy titles can be enough of an incentive). For example, a goal might be to forgo junk food for a whole week.
- Get a water cooler or filter for the tap. Dehydration takes its toll on work performance. According to the National Hydration Council, it causes fatigue, slows down productivity, and impedes information retention. Let employees know about the risks of dehydration, and offer quality water sources so they don't rely solely on coffee to get them through the workday.
Prioritizing employee wellness shows that you're invested in their health and happiness. In turn, these measures can go a long way toward shaping your company culture and retaining talent.