Half of all U.S. workers work in small businesses.1 Most of these workers do not have access to a wellness program. Small businesses often do not have the resources to create a complex wellness program and have difficulty proving return on investment based only on numbers.
However, targeting wellness is important for smaller companies because a successful wellness program can reap the following benefits:
- It can improve employee morale and increase productivity.
- It can reduce overall health care costs.
- It can improve employee well-being and reduce absenteeism.
- It can help retain and attract employees.
Though your organization may not be able to fund a comprehensive wellness program, you can still implement some low-cost activities to improve the health and wellness of your employees. The following are some suggestions for low-cost wellness initiatives:
- Ask a local hospital, nonprofit or other health care organization to provide presentations to your employees on the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
- Find out if your health insurance carrier offers free health risk assessments, or check with your benefits agency.
- Create a wellness committee consisting of employees at various levels and in different departments to lead your wellness efforts. Start with simple activities, such as healthy eating days and lunchtime walks.
- Make your workplace smoke-free.
- Promote your health plan’s smoking cessation programs, mental health screening and other preventive care opportunities. Implement specific flex time allotments for employees to take advantage of these services.
- Offer on-site flu shots for free or at a reduced cost.
- Provide healthier vending machine choices.
- Encourage employees to go outside during lunch or during their breaks for a quick run or walk. Encourage them to take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.
- Provide educational materials on the benefits of eating well, exercising, not smoking and other healthy lifestyle changes. Ask Austin Benefits Group about their communication resources to support your workplace wellness efforts. You can download the new Leading a Healthy Lifestyle newsletter below and see our Resource Center for more free materials.
When approached as a true employee benefit, rather than simply a loosely organized company initiative, employee wellness programs can be a powerful asset. According to a RAND Corporation study, every $1 invested in overall wellness efforts yields a return on investment (ROI) of $1.50. The ROI increases to $3.80 when that investment is in programs specifically targeting chronic diseases known for increasing direct and indirect costs, such as diabetes and obesity.
The biggest question your small business may face is “who is going to manage our wellness?” Your employees are already wearing many different hats, will adding wellness set your program up for failure? Look for a person or people in your organization that truly interested in wellness and healthy living and use them as advocates throughout the company.
A successful wellness program at your small business may likely require some outside help to succeed. However, it may not require any additional cost to your business!
Austin Benefits Group provides three tiers of wellness programs, known as healthySOLUTIONS free of cost, no matter the size of your business. You can also choose to implement any of our individual wellness offerings a la carte to boost your existing wellness efforts.
Contact Austin Benefits Group today to learn more about a variety of low-cost wellness activities to benefit your employees and improve your bottom line.