Sound familiar? Here’s a secret: Wellness programs don’t have to cost a ton. They lower company’s health care costs, improve work flow, increase employee morale and enhance company benefits packages.
Statistics show a good wellness program pays off – to employees and their companies. One study by the Chapman Institute shows companies with onsite health promotion have on average a 28 percent reduction in workers being absent and a 26 percent reduction in health costs.
While some companies may not have a budget for a full-fledged wellness program, it’s always good for businesses to look for simple ways to improve office wellness.
Here are a few budget-friendly wellness program ideas:
- Organize a lunchtime walking group. Walking is free. It’s great physical activity for all ages, requires no special gear, and can be done anywhere – inside or out.
- Offer low-cost prizes such as preferred parking or a “jeans day” promotion for employees who stick with a three or four-month fitness program.
- Negotiate a discounted rate for employees with a local gym or health club. Many gym owners are willing to offer a discount, knowing it will attract new members.
- Invite representatives from local nonprofits, such as the American Cancer Society or the American Heart Association, to give talks about the importance of preventative health screenings. Ask them to offer on-site discussions to reduce smoking or to improve healthy eating.
- Make sure the cafeteria and vending machines have healthy options. Consider charging reduced prices for healthier foods. Replace donuts with fresh fruit at morning meetings.
- Encourage employee participation in local 5K and 10K races and walks. Think about covering the entrance fee for the first 25 employees who sign up.
- Offer half days or a day out of the office if employees can collectively lose more than a certain amount of weight.
- Encourage employees to take the stairs by posting signs with the benefits of stairs vs. elevators.
- Lead stretches at the beginning of meetings to get the blood flowing. Stretching before a meeting could actually promote wellness and make a meeting more efficient.
- Encourage employees to take several short breaks, to exercise or stretch, throughout the day. Meetings can also be held while walking or outside of the regular office space.
Wellness programs shouldn’t be budget busters. These options cost very little out-of-pocket and send a powerful message that health and well-being is important.