It’s that time of year when sneezes and coughs fill the air. I turned on my essential oil diffuser a few weeks ago as one way to combat falling ill. Catching the flu or a cold is only one reason for absenteeism at work. Other mental and physical ailments can affect your employees and your bottom line. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), productivity losses linked to absenteeism cost employers $225.8 billion annually in the United States, or $1,685 per employee.
What can you do about it as an employer? What if you own a small business and money is tight?
Here’s a list of ideas you can implement to take a proactive approach to workplace wellness:
- Host healthy, energy boosting snacks such as fresh fruit, nuts or protein bars for your employees on occasion. Ask employees to bring their favorite healthy recipe to share with others.
- Offer to pay in full or copay onsite flu vaccinations.
- Provide hand sanitizer in common areas.
- Encourage employees to get up and walk while conducting meetings. It’ll provide a chance to stretch their legs, while exercising their minds and bodies.
- Provide educational opportunities such as lunch and learns on diabetes prevention, healthy eating options, or mental health awareness. Many outreach programs at clinics and hospitals will provide these services if you don’t have an in-house expert.
- Offer an occasional group fitness class for employees to try. Contact your local YMCA as a resource or survey your employees as someone may moonlight as an instructor.
- Treat employees to complimentary onsite chair massages.
- Host wellness challenges throughout the year and offer a prize for the winner. Challenges could be as simple as walking 10k steps per day or giving up sweets during the holiday season.
- Research group or corporate packages for gym memberships to offer employees.
- Create and distribute a wellness newsletter and offer tips and ideas on staying fit and healthy. Feature employees and share success stories that will empower others.
- Sponsor a smoking cessation program to help employees quit smoking.
- Ask your employees what is important to them as far as wellness and health. Use their feedback to start a new program or strengthen your current program.
Certainly, corporate wellness programs help employees and employers. You can start small by implementing a few ideas when feasible. In the end, we all want the same – to protect our most valuable corporate asset, our people.
Do you have a wellness program in place? What works best for your employees? Please share your information below. Thank you!