Launch a Corporate Wellness Program with Creative Low Cost Ideas

Image Credit: Depositphotos

Image Credit: Depositphotos

Everyone’s talking about improving the health and wellness of their employees. Sure, it makes sense from the standpoint of producing greater engagement and reducing the costs of healthcare premiums through preventative wellness support.

Corporate Wellness is Worth the Investment

As of 2015, the RAND Corporation reports that an estimated $6 billion is spent per year for the wellness industry overall, with as much as $50 to $150 per employee per year on programs that target specific physical health goals. Further, 60 percent of US companies now offer some kind of wellness initiative, as compared to just 36 percent in 2009. For every dollar spent on wellness programs, there is a savings of $3 or more, based on Harvard University data.

Wellness at work is growing as a leading perk of employment, with high performance employees seeking out employers who value this. Companies who support the movement towards employee health benefit too – reporting lower rates of stress, absenteeism, and more. It’s a win-win for all.

The good news is that a company can support employee wellness on a budget. There’s no need for fancy gym memberships, onsite wellness therapists, and pricey chefs preparing the latest in healthy meals. Any company can develop a wellness program that’s focused on results by using creative low cost wellness ideas. Here are a few to ponder:

Wearable Fitness Technology

Employees love technology, and among their favs is wearable devices that enable them to track daily fitness goals. With the cost of fitness technology dropping dramatically, it’s possible to give employees the option to wear their stats on their arm to motivate them to get up and move more. An example of this is the FitBit Wellness, which is a special corporate program that 30 of the top Fortune 500 companies are participating in.

Healthy Snacking

Can’t get your employees to steer clear of the sugary snacks found in the office? Switch them out for healthier options. One way to reduce the waistlines of employees is to actively replace soda and snack vending machines with healthier options, such as free fruits and veggies in all meeting rooms, spring water in every department, and healthy lunch choices in the cafeteria. Partner with local restaurants to bring in healthy lunch options served up on a delivery system.

Let off Some Stream

All employees need to vent sometimes. This is particularly true in high stress work environments where turnover and customer service are real problems. Smart employers who care about employee mental well-being can provide creative ways to blow off some steam at work. Try adding some fun games to the employee break room, adding a basketball hoop to a courtyard, or giving employees access to a “peace” room where they can go to safely let out their emotions, listen to some calming music and experience aromatherapy and soft lighting.

It’s About Community

One of the more fun and low cost ways to put a dent in your wellness program is by setting up wellness challenges that include the entire community of employees. These activities get people connected to their peers, while using some non-threatening competition to spice things up. Facilitate employee teams for a 1K walk around the community for a good cause. Create wellness teams and reward them with points that they can cash in for gift cards, company swagger, and even paid time off when they reach short term goals. Have a wellness carnival once a year and encourage employees to participate in challenges for their level.

Start an Adventure

Thinking of ways to keep wellness programs fresh can often include going off the grid a little. Have members of management gather a small group of employees and take them on “field trips” to local events like bowling, golfing, trampoline, paint shooting, and more. Make it about spending time quality together supporting wellness goals. When the team spirit is there, wellness becomes less work and more fun.

While these are just a few creative ideas for launching a wellness program, there are many other out-of-the-box ways to create a workplace culture that supports the health and well-being of all employees.

AUTHOR BIO: Tess C. Taylor, PHR, CPC, SHRM-CP; Founder of HR Knows and The HR Writer, is a seasoned human resources content developer and career coaching professional in New York. She is passionate about educating others about human resource topics and policies, and has been featured on About.com (Employee Benefits), BlogHer, Career Addict, Glass Ceiling, HR Magazine, PayScale Compensation Today, and US News Careers, among others.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.

Author: Tess C. Taylor, CPC, PHR, SHRM-CP

Tess C. Taylor, PHR, CPC, SHRM-CP; Founder of HR Knows and The HR Writer, is a seasoned human resources content developer and career coaching professional in New York. She is passionate about educating others about human resource topics and policies, and has been featured on About.com (Employee Benefits), BlogHer, Career Addict, Glass Ceiling, HR Magazine, PayScale Compensation Today, and US News Careers, among others.

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