By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer
From time to time I come across a blog that is well written, has great info and coves areas of wellness that pertain to my readers. Recently I came across the blog, Life-Sized Business written by Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin. I liked one of her posts so much I want to share it with you (with her permission and proper credit to her blog of course!) Enjoy!
Small Business Strategies: Starting a workplace wellness program might be easier than you think
By Elizabeth Baskin
What can you do in the new year to improve employee morale and productivity without spending a ton of money?
Easy answer: start some level of wellness program in your office. If you’ve ever considered doing something like that, this might be the perfect time.
Wellness programs allow you to give employees something they find meaningful without handing out big pay raises.
Many small companies froze salary increases last year. In others, employees watched people in their company lose their jobs, and were understandably meek about pushing for their own salary reviews. But don’t think that means they’re not thinking about what they give the company for what they get. A workplace wellness program can be a very good way to let employees know you value their contributions.
Of course, it’s also the beginning of a new year.
The perfect time for fresh starts, healthy new habits and lifestyle improvements. Your employees are probably already thinking about what they can do in 2010 to be healthier. A wellness program can help support them in their individual goals. It’s also a powerful way to bring new energy into the workplace.
How do you do it?
You don’t have to build a company gym or pay for an on-site spa chef (although you could). Think in terms of providing flexibility (time) or resources (access). You can pick one element of wellness, like fitness or stress management or healthy eating and focus your program around that area. Or you can put together a small smorgasbord of wellness offerings. Here are a few examples:
• Allow employees extra time for lunch two or three days a week so they can fit in a walk or a run.
At Tribe, we tell employees they can put up to three hours a week on their time sheets for exercise during the workday. We’ve found that whenever someone manages to fit in a workout or yoga class during the day, they’re likely to come back to the office with a good idea or solution for something they’re working on. If nothing else, their energy level is higher that when they left.
• Use one of those empty offices for a meditation room.
Move the desk out and put a small couch or a comfortable armchair in there instead. Or just put out a few yoga mats or some big floor pillows. Add a few meditation CDs and a CD player, and you’re good to go. If employees feel comfortable spending 20 minutes meditating in the middle of the day, alone or with a coworker, that can go a long way towards reducing stress levels.
• Put a bowl of fresh fruit in the break room, and stock it weekly.
When employees hit that pre-lunch or mid-afternoon slump, being able to skip the vending machine and grab an apple or banana instead can be a highly appreciated perk. Supporting wellness in the office can actually come down to some very simple (and inexpensive) changes.
The biggest thing employees are looking for in a wellness program is a way for the workplace to support them in living a good life.
As a business owner, you do that by providing meaningful work and fair compensation. But lately, many companies have been asking employees to work harder without the hope of a big, fat salary increase. Especially in this economic environment, one of the best things you can do for your employees is to provide the flexibility and resources for them to take care of their own health.
Read Elizabeth’s Live Sized Business blog here.
Of course, an easy and cost-effective way to show your staff you care about their health and well being AND give your company a productivity boast, is to offer workplace massage. Working Well Massage provides massage to corporate clients in and around the Chicago area. Contact us today for a customer proposal for your workplace.
Who is Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin and Why Should We Listen to Her?
Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin is the CEO and Creative Director of Tribe, Inc., a branding company working with national and global clients like UPS, Chick-fil-A and Coca-Cola Enterprises.
She also developed the Starter Cards deck titled “Start Your Own Company,” which takes the gigantic task of launching a business and breaks it down into 52 manageable steps, one step per card. (You can read a recent news story on the cards here.)
She is the author of “Hell Yes! Two Little Words for a Simpler, Happier, Life,” and of a book on women entrepreneurs titled “How to Run Your Business Like a Girl: Successful Strategies from Entrepreneurial Women Who Made It Happen.”
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