This post is part of the National Employee Wellness Month celebration happening all month on the TriNet blog.
Many small businesses want to support their employees’ health but few have room in the budget to launch a big corporate-style wellness program. Sure, we’d all love to work in offices with onsite gyms, smoothie bars and meditation rooms but if that’s not a financially realistic option for your company, there are still plenty of less expensive ways to create a thriving culture of wellness.
Here are four of my favorite low-cost, high-reward strategies for supporting healthy, active lifestyles for your employees:
1) Provide healthy snacks
Vending machines tend to be full of empty-calorie snacks loaded with salt and sugar. We all know this is not a healthy option but sometimes convenience wins out over willpower when we’re busy. If you can fill your vending machines with healthy snacks, great. Otherwise, consider budgeting for healthy food for the office from local producers or wholesalers. Make these snacks available in the break room.
2) Explore eLearning options
Online learning (eLearning) can be utilized for more than just employee onboarding. There are many excellent and affordable online resources that can help your employees become more engaged with health and wellness. Online courses offer educational support for your in-office initiatives, and choosing a program with gamification and/or social learning elements can make the material more fun, memorable and motivating.
There are many options to choose from when it comes to eLearning health solutions, from having a custom course built for your company to purchasing individual seats for a pre-existing course. But whichever approach you choose, your focus should be on finding a strategy that works for your unique culture and employee base.
3) Bring in experts
Hire a personal trainer, yoga instructor, meditation leader or group fitness instructor to come in a few days a week to offer classes before or after work hours. Try out a few different options to see what works for your people and don’t be afraid to try something new every month or so until you figure out what clicks. Bringing in outside talent will keep your employees feeling fresh, challenged and motivated. If possible, consider having your company subsidize the activities so that the classes are more affordable for the attendees. For instance, if the company pays half and the employees pay half, it’s relatively cheap for everyone and the chance of engagement and success increase.
4) Offer flexible scheduling
Giving your employees control over their schedules allows them to make the healthiest possible decisions for their own lives. The regular 9 to 5 work schedule can keep many people from pursuing healthy activities. However, flexible hours or the opportunity to work from home occasionally might be exactly the change they need to fit in a run in the morning or an outdoor excursion in the afternoon. It might sound like a big change but flexible scheduling can lead to very positive outcomes for individual employees and it can even improve your company’s overall productivity.
No matter how small your business (or budget), there are plenty of inexpensive ways to invest in the health of your employees. Even small moves to promote wellness can make a big difference in your employees’ happiness, health and engagement. Show your people you care by implementing one (or more) of these strategies in your company and, as individual health and well-being improves, so will the health and well-being of your company.
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