How to Create a Company Wellness Program

Tuesday May 9th, 2017

employee-wellnessLately we’ve been hearing and reading a lot about corporate wellness programs. As people become more aware of the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle, which often comes with an office job, many companies are taking matters into their own hands to promote a healthier environment for their employees. This has manifested in the creation of corporate wellness initiatives. As a company leader, you may be wondering if it’s time to build your own wellness program for your team. But where to start?

First, let’s establish the benefits of creating a wellness initiative. Beyond the obvious health benefits to your staff, there are several important benefits to your company as well.

  • Achieve Higher Productivity – Healthy employees are productive employees. Encouraging your employees to lead more active, healthy lifestyles will increase their energy levels and productivity.
  • Reduce Sick Days, Injuries and Workers’ Compensation Costs – Good nutrition boosts the immune system. By cultivating a healthy environment, your staff is less likely to fall ill and miss valuable time at work. In addition, an active, healthy employee is less likely to suffer injuries, which decreases not only your health care costs but potential workers’ compensation costs as well.
  • Improve Employee Morale – Studies have shown that a healthy diet and active lifestyle contribute to a happier mental state. By encouraging your team members to take care of their bodies, you are building a more positive atmosphere. This will likely also increase employee loyalty to the company, which reduces your employee turnover rate and creates a bond amongst your staff.

Where to Start?

In order to design the perfect wellness program for your company, you first need to evaluate the personal health and wellness interests and requirements of your team. This can be done by offering a survey to your employees. They should be able to vocalize their personal health concerns and offer insight on what they think would be useful within the company. Providing such a survey will also give you a glimpse at the most pressing health concerns of your staff.

For example, you may find that many are concerned about cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Having that specific health risk information will help you tailor your wellness program to address those specific concerns.

Design Your Own Program

There’s no rule that says you have to spend an exorbitant amount of money on your wellness initiative. If your budget is tight, you can use the information from your company wellness surveys to start with small, actionable steps to a healthier work environment.

  • Start a Lunchtime Walking Club
  • Establish a Smoke-Free Environment
  • Enforce Mandatory Breaks
  • Encourage Office Yoga and Meditation
  • Do a Vending Machine Makeover with Healthy Items
  • Create a Points System for Healthy Behaviors with Incentives
  • Lead by Example

Even instituting just a few of these changes in your office would make a noticeable difference in the health, wellness and morale of your team. And most of them do not require much financial investment, making them even more valuable to your company.

Get Feedback

Once you’ve started making changes for a healthier work environment, it’s important to get feedback on the changes from your team. It’s counter-productive to offer health and wellness initiatives that just aren’t hitting the mark. The goal is to encourage healthier living while also improving the company culture. If your employees have concerns about any part of your wellness program, adjust accordingly to make it more effective and useful.

Creating a company wellness program begins and ends with obtaining and valuing the opinions of your employees. They know their health needs best, and should be an integral part of the planning process to ensure that every member of your team feels valued and empowered to improve their health.