A positive trend that recently emerged in the small business world is a direct focus on the health and wellness of employees. Leaders are increasingly dedicated to providing their workers the opportunity to be in great physical and mental shape. Commitment to this initiative allows employees to feel better about themselves, but it also facilitates a more productive work environment and culture.
Luckily, there are several easy ways to improve wellness immediately. Below, we’ll share these strategies and other resources for you to create your own wellness programs in the near future.
Almost a third of the country has prediabetes, but 80% of people don’t know their risk level. The CDC offers an online test to measure your risk for prediabetes. It only takes a minute to complete, and knowing your risk sooner is the biggest factor in preventing and even reversing pre-diabetes.
CVS also offers health screenings at no cost (even to those without health insurance) through their Project Health initiative. They have stations set up year-round all over the country. You can check to see any upcoming screening events near you by entering your zip code here.
Some research suggests that too much screen time for adults can cause eye strain, sleep disruption, and worsened mental health. The impacts of too much screen time have been studied far more in children and shown to have more serious consequences like psychological damage and correlations to higher rates of obesity. Business owners often find it concerning to see their employees distracted due to mobile devices, both for the employee’s personal health and for the day-to-day operation of the business. Fortunately, with a few simple steps, you can restrict how much time you’re allowed on each app. For most people, there are only a few apps that take up so much of their time (mainly social media). Use these tutorials from Apple and Google and set aside an hour one day this week to show your employees how they can eliminate detrimental phone habits immediately.
Most cellular devices also offer the ability to “grayscale” your screen, which is a feature that allows your phone to replace eye-catching app colors and bright-red notification alerts with more neutral tones. Although “downgrading” your phone by making it black and white seems too simple to have any effect, studies show it can reduce those urges to constantly pick up your phone throughout the day. Again, all it requires is a simple and reversible adjustment to your phone settings, which can be done for all types of phones through this tutorial.
Sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether the strategies you’re implementing are bringing about true, positive changes in employee wellness. There are free online resources, however, that can help you gauge whether your small business is doing an adequate job at prioritizing employee health.
One such resource is from the CDC, which is the Worksite Health ScoreCard. This is a comprehensive checklist-style assessment tool that can be used to show where your business stands from a wellness aspect and in which areas it can improve. The focus of this scorecard is to promote productive and healthy employees while decreasing the risk of common conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.
If you really want targeted and specific areas for improvement that are unique to your business, the best thing to do is ask the people you’re trying to help. Figure out what’s working and what isn’t. Then, make changes that you deem are possible and continuously re-evaluate to make sure you’re going in the right direction.
Listening to the right types of podcasts can have direct physiological effects on your brain, helping you to relax and calm down. These include meditation podcasts, self-improvement stories, or expert interviews. The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them anywhere, whether that be driving, sitting at your desk, or eating during your lunch break.
The number of new podcasts increases exponentially every year. So, there’s always something new to listen to and discover. If you don’t know where to start looking for a good podcast for you, try checking out some influencers and figures you follow on social media.
There are a ton of wellness apps out there. These could range from those that provide exercise routines and diet recommendations to others that provide daily affirmations and motivational content. Pick a few and turn on notifications to get daily reminders and updates for your well-being.
MyFitnessPal is an app that lets you input the food and snacks you eat in a day, allowing you to count and measure the calories consumed each day. Over the long term, you’ll be able to track long-term weight gain and loss trends.
There are even rather basic apps like Water Reminder that simply send you a notification to drink water throughout the day. Some people can forget even the most basic maintenance activities because they’re so busy with their work schedule. That’s when these apps truly shine through.
Wellness is for all employees, not just one individual. Businesses can use that as leverage when it comes to purchasing services or programs in bulk. With a little bit of digging, it’s possible to find vendors who will entertain discounts if enough employees sign up.
One service to look for is gym memberships. These are usually monthly subscriptions, and gym owners often provide discounts for corporate entities. Some other options include yoga studios and even therapy services.
When it comes to employee wellness, there’s a few brands that immediately come to mind with their initiatives and strategies in providing a reduced stress and healthy environment. Two tech giants in particular that we can look to for ideas are Google and Microsoft.
Despite their ability to build fancy gym and weight rooms at the company headquarters, Google understood that its employees pursued wellness in different ways. So what they did instead was offer employees a stipend to purchase resources that they would actually use and, for some, that meant furnishing a comfortable home office space. Small businesses can try this stipend idea on a smaller scale and measure its impact.
Microsoft wanted to avoid wasting money if employees didn’t use the programs they spent good money to create. To remediate this, they got involved in the process of “gamifying” their programs, which is when you improve engagement by adding game techniques in non-game contexts. Some examples of this would be weight loss challenges with prizes or using an app to measure your fitness progress and “leveling up” to new exercises.
Oftentimes, creating your own wellness initiatives will require expenditures that must be accounted for. This should be thought of more as an investment rather than an expense, however, because healthier and happier employees go a long way in overall productivity. Taking measured steps to create great wellness programs is especially effective if increasing your business’ employee retention rate is an important metric. Looking for more flexibility with funding so you can implement the changes your employees want to see? Apply for capital now in just 3 minutes, and you could see funding in your account within 24 hours.