Healthy Business, Healthy Bottom Line: Workplace Wellness Programs for Your Small Business

Workplace wellness concept image

What is a Workplace Wellness Program?

A workplace wellness program can be whatever you want it to be. Simply put, it is a basic investment in your employees, similar to how you invest in them when you offer training, mentoring, and other basic employee programs. Small employers often see wellness programs as sizeable endeavors undertaken by large corporations, such as organized exercise competitions, on-site gyms, paid gym memberships or healthy food offered in corporate cafeterias. Small and simple programs that can lead to increased wellness and a culture of health are often overlooked, but can provide a long lasting impact on your company and your employees.

How can a Workplace Wellness Program benefit my business?

The goal of creating a program is to help your employees improve their health and reduce healthcare costs. This can be done through simple steps, like encouraging employees to walk more or eat healthier, or through more complicated endeavors, like creating an organization-wide wellness program with multiple activities and outcomes. Either way, it should support healthy behaviors in your employees and improve their health outcomes, which can in turn reduce absenteeism, boost employee morale and benefit your bottom line. In fact, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, employers who offer workplace wellness programs have seen excellent returns on investment. And programs that follow best practice guidelines return $2 to $3 dollars for each dollar invested.

Some simple wellness programs ideas that encourage physical health activities can include:

  • Allowing time for exercise during the work day
  • Providing on-site kitchens and eating areas
  • Offering healthy food options in vending machines
  • Holding "walk and talk” meetings

Workplace Wellness for the Whole Person

We are seeing a shift in wellness programs from just promoting physical health to thinking about the healthy employee as a whole person, and using more in-depth wellness programs to address this line of thinking. This integrated “well-being” approach typically includes several components:

  • Mental/emotional health (resources to balance one’s self, situation and others);
  • Financial health (tools to attain financial freedom and success);
  • And spiritual health (defined as one’s strong sense of self or purpose through beliefs, principles, values and ethical judgments)

To learn more about implementing a workplace wellness program for your employees, check out our toolkit and resources, or register for one of our events.