Are you feeling stuck for corporate wellness program ideas? Here are 7 that actually work.
Don't read this until you grab your company checkbook. Got it? Great. Now write a check for $1,685 for each one of your employees. The good news is that you'll be the most popular supervisor in company history. The bad news is that you'll be looking for another job in about 30 minutes when your boss finds out what you're doing.
Of course, no manager would walk around doling out cash like that. But if you don't have a thriving corporate wellness program, ideas like writing checks of that nature aren't so far-fetched.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that companies lose over $225 billion each year due to sick employees (which is $1,685 per employee). Some of that expense is clearly unavoidable. Even the healthiest among us catch the occasional flu or slip on ice and end up in bed for a few days.
However, the right corporate wellness program ideas can keep your workforce up and running more proficiently, more frequently, and with more employee satisfaction than you might think possible. Here are seven ideas for your corporate wellness program.
Corporate wellness program ideas to set your company apart1. Get rid of wellness week
Good health isn't a one-time fix; it's a lifestyle. That yearly wellness week is a nice perk, but it isn't going to change your company culture or create healthy habits. You don't need to make drastic changes to start the process either, but you do need to get your employees moving.
Physical activity is "the closest thing we have to a wonder drug." Regular physical activity improves overall health, increases energy levels and alertness, and improves thinking and judgment. You can get your employees moving by starting a weekly dodgeball tournament, sponsoring a company soccer team, or sending out daily email reminders of the benefits of taking the stairs vs. the elevator.
2. Changes in the breakroom
Americans as a whole don't eat enough fruit and vegetables, and we drink way too many soft drinks. The Harvard School of Public Health notes that as little as one can of soda per day increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 26%. That same daily soda gives you a 20% greater risk of having a heart attack than people who don't drink sugary beverages.
What can you do as a business? Switch out that soda vending machine for one that offers fruit juices or water. Provide healthy snacks like nuts, apples, oranges, or bananas in your break room. Forego the donuts at your next team meeting and offer pistachios or individual yogurts.
3. Market you current wellness program
If you already have a corporate wellness program, ideas to "sell" it to your employees could include offering a free session with a personal trainer once a month, setting up teams of employees to hold each other accountable to personal goals, and building exercise time into your team's schedule.
4. Help your employees stop smoking
There's no way around it; smoking is one of the most preventable causes of death in the U.S. More than 438,000 people die from smoking-related diseases each year. It's also an incredibly difficult habit to break.
Both the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society offer smoking cessation programs for businesses to help their employees quit.
5. Get some rest
Are your employees getting enough sleep? The Transamerica Center for Health Studies notes that "Research has shown that employees with insomnia miss an average of 3.1 more days of work each year, and their mean incremental health costs are between $1,253 and $2,053 greater than non-sleep deprived persons."
Clearly, you can't follow everyone home to make sure they go to bed at 9:00 every night. You can make it easy for employees to access sleep wellness programs, however. The Cleveland Clinic offers an online program to help improve sleep habits and reduce insomnia.
Alternatively, apps such as Sleep Well Hypnosis or music like Max Richter's composition "Sleep" are good resources for your team to use at home.
6. Put down the computer
Get out of the office for some rest and relaxation. Stress is a big factor in health. If you can, offer flex time so your employees can go to dentist appointments, work from home while they're waiting for the plumber, or run to the DMV without taking vacation or sick time. Letting your team take care of life goes a long way in overall job satisfaction.
Bear in mind that wellness is more than just physical. Mental health is a significant factor in personal health. Anything you can do to help employees with stress or depression is good for them and for your bottom line.
7. Hire a wellness director
A slew of corporate wellness program ideas will only get you so far. Like any program, someone needs to be in charge of implementing and running it. This sounds like a big step until you find out that Johnson & Johnson saved an estimated $250 million on health care costs over a decade. They are well-known for a workplace culture that emphasizes employee health.
J&J isn't an anomaly, either. SAS software company has an on-site health care center at their Cary, North Carolina, location. By their estimate, they make $1.41 for each dollar they spend on health services.
The grocery store chain H-E-B found that "annual health care claims are about $1,500 higher among nonparticipants in its workplace wellness program than among participants with a high-risk health status."
It will take some work to design the right corporate wellness program for your company. You may find that some of these ideas work and some don't. Whatever you do, remember that to work, a wellness program has to be fun, accessible, and integrated into your workplace culture.
Oh, and you don't need to drop wellness week. Just make it part of your overall healthy culture.
Still stuck for ideas? Try these incentives to improve wellness at work:
- Offer standing desks.
- Offer weekly mindfulness training sessions.
- Hold a flu shot clinic in the fall.
- Supply baseball gloves and balls so it's easy for people to grab what they need and go outside for a bit.
- Give your team a morning off each month for volunteer activities.
- Bring in the greenery. Plants improve air quality, plus they just add some life to the office.
One of the best things you can do to improve employee wellness is to make sure they're taken care of. Contact your local Pekin Insurance agent to find out about adding additional benefits to your health insurance policy.
What corporate wellness program ideas can you share? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.