HOW TO GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR WELLNESS PROGRAM
The wellbeing of your employees is important. It's a big part of the reason employers offer employer sponsored health insurance. Looking beyond the obvious benevolent motivation behind helping your employees, having healthy and happy employees is good for productivity.
A recent study found that mental illness such as depression costs the nation an estimated $27 billion a year due to lost productivity and time off work. Physical ailments can also have an impact – we all know that at some point everyone has to take time off work to go to the doctor's office or stay at home sick on the couch. One solution to problems like these is to have an employee wellness program.
A lot of business owners and HR managers view wellness programs as a nice perk, but not something worth investing in when the budget is running slim. However, the numbers may surprise you. According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, businesses that invest in wellness programs can see anywhere from a two to six dollar return on every dollar invested in a wellness program in terms of saved healthcare costs. Moreover, voluntary attrition lowers significantly (by about 6%).
There are many guides available on how to create an effective wellness program. Some tips include fostering a wellness culture, making a wellness program a natural extension of the firm's identity, and aiming to make the programs low or no cost. But, there are some low-cost ways to get creative with your wellness program that fall outside many of the normal recommendations.
For example, a recent study by the University of Queensland in Australia found that an office enriched with plants makes staff happier and boosts productivity by 15%. Buying plants to fill the office and keeping them healthy is an enjoyable and low cost way to extend your wellness program. Another option is to let some sunshine in the office. Opening the blinds and exposing your staff to natural light can positively impact an employee's sleep, work activity, and quality of life.
For more reseources on employee wellness programs, you can refer to this study published by the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services here.