FOOD & FITNESS / MAY. 04, 2014
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How to Start an Employee Wellness Program

Happy, healthy employees translate into productive workers. However, getting your employees to adopt a healthier lifestyle is much easier said than done. You can't control their lifestyle choices; but if you start an employee wellness program, you can encourage your employees to make healthier decisions.

Here are a few tips to start an employee wellness program at your office.

#1 Determine the Health needs of Your Employees

There are no hard and fast rules regarding an employee wellness program. At the end of the day, you want to implement a program that benefits the particular needs of your workers. To identify their needs, have each worker complete a health questionnaire. This is a basic form with simple health questions, and it provides a snapshot of their health habits, as well as their concerns. Based on their answers, you can implement a program that's tailored to the needs of the majority. Your wellness program can focus entirely on one aspect of health, or a combination. For example, your employees might be interested in weight management, improving their sleep, smoking cessation or stress management. 

#2 Establish Partnerships With Local Businesses

To help your employees adopt a healthier lifestyle, network with local businesses in your community and form partnerships. For example, contact a local gym or a private fitness trainer and negotiate group discounts for your employees. Additionally, contact chiropractic offices, nutritionists or massage therapists to see if you can negotiate a better rate for your employees. 

#3 Develop a Wellness Calendar

Schedule periodic wellness events at the office, or sign up participating employees for wellness seminars hosted throughout the community. Every month (or every other month), invite speakers to discuss health related topics with your employees. For example, one month you can invite an expert on stress management to speak with participants and answer their questions; and the next month, you can invite a local chiropractor to discuss the health benefits of regular adjustments. These don't need to be long events, perhaps one hour during the noon break. Additionally, you might set up an annual flu clinic at the office. Partner with a doctor's office, and a nurse will come to your office and administer flu shots to any employee who chooses vaccination. 

#4 Create a Newsletter

In addition to the wellness calendar, start a monthly newsletter -- one or two pages. This newsletter can highlight upcoming wellness events for the office, as well as provide brief health tips. For example, one article might focus on how to squeeze exercise into a busy schedule, and another article might discuss the proper way to wash our hands. 

#5  On-site gym

This isn't always possible due to space or budget constraints. But if doable, convert a space in the office into a small workout facility for employees. Add five or six pieces of equipment, such as treadmills, or maybe weight equipment and other exercise tools. An on-site gym gives employees the option of exercising before or after work. 

#6 Offer Incentives

You cannot make an employee participate in the wellness program. However, you can encourage participation by offering inexpensive incentives. For example, every employee who attends an in-office wellness seminar might receive a free lunch or $5 gift card to Starbucks. 

If offered by your employer, would you participate in an employee wellness program? Let us know in the comment section below.

Image Credit: [Flickr]

 

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