3 Tips for Creating Your Corporate Wellness Plan
Many of us are on a treadmill, but of a different kind of treadmill than the Walk-1 treadmill some of us use. We go to work, commute home, and catch up on “me time” or family time, sleep, and repeat. The idea of your workplace having a wellness plan might be a radical notion, one mostly affiliated with big, tech corporations. We’re here to prove you wrong. Any company—from a small home-run business to a hip start-up—can craft a great wellness plan with a little bit of research, inspiration, and effort.
Here are three tips to help you create a wellness plan for your company, inspired by an article in Mashable that outlined wellness plans in seven innovative companies.
- Encourage employees to track steps and workout habits. Tracking your steps is literally a no-brainer fitness habit, now that mobile devices across the board are easily accessible with this innovative feature. FitBit, the household name of the fitness tracker device, has created a unique wellness program in its offices, based on its company culture. It ended up saving the company money through reduced employee medical days and sick leaves. FitBit has inspired other companies with its FitBit Corporate Challenges. These are events that require employees and employers to track their own steps and compare themselves to others in the workplace.
FitBit has a “Workout Wednesday” when employees are able to take part in different workout regimens throughout the day. The company believes in setting small incentives to reaching goals, even as small as a couple thousand steps a day. You can see how that would work, right? Start small; get big results. Being able to view your progress on the physical screen of a device makes it easier to be inspired to walk or move. Milestones and goals make it fun, and a little competition among employees is a motivator.
- Create collaborative fitness events. Not all companies can afford what Google is doing with its People & Innovation Lab to encourage employee happiness, but the overarching theme of collaboration within Google’s fitness labs should resonate with all companies, big or small. Google’s lab was intended to research and find ways to improve employee health. That can work for you, too. Simply researching local fitness events for employees to attend will build community and connection.
Many gyms are looking to collaborate with local companies to market their fitness programs. If that option appears a bit too pricy or out of the comfort zone of your employees, consider asking your fitness junkie friend to teach a short yoga class at work. Google has a Googlers-to-Googlers education program for employees to host short workshops on topics of their expertise. Why not borrow that idea for your own company?
- Offer rewards, big and small. At first blush, incentives seem like a simplistic tool of persuasion. Thing is, they work. Companies such as Motley Fool have reported that incentives drive fitness programs. For example, Motley Fool offered 50 percent entry fee reimbursements for any employee who wanted to participate in any form of race or running competition. That influenced many to attempt to train for a 5K—an activity some never envisioned themselves pursuing before.
Draper, Inc., which was voted the healthiest workplace in the United States, also offers smaller rewards such as gift cards and cash prizes for teams of employees who participate in challenges, such as the company’s 10-week weight loss program. Maybe cash prizes seem over the top to you. OK, what about having lunch rewards or allowing an employee to gain an extended break? Small incentives can help with incremental gains. Incremental gains add up over time.
There’s no harm in starting small. Even if you’re able to give employees and coworkers some natural light, fresh air, and fresh fruit, these small gestures can pay off, setting the whole company on a path to wellness.
Terry Nguyen writes about health and wellness for UnSit, maker of the WALK-1 treadmill desk.