You take care of the machinery that runs your business. You keep your fleet well maintained with regular oil changes and tune-ups.
But are you taking care of your employees? As a small business owner, employee wellness is important not only for added productivity but also as a way to reduce health insurance costs.
So what can you do? The answers are endless. To get you started, here are a few motivating ideas:
1. Snuff it Out
According to the American Heart Association, smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the United States, causing one out of five deaths, and it’s a particular problem with drivers.
As an employer, you can offer smoking cessation rewards and encouragement. Maybe it’s just informational emails or rounding up the right resources for your employees, or perhaps you want to take it a step further and subsidize cessation programs. Whatever you choose, one thing is for sure: Both you and your employees will benefit from a non-smoking program.
2. We said, “Stretch!”
Surgery for the lower back, shoulders and total joint replacement for knees and hips are all at an all-time high. Age and repetitive motion contribute to joint fatigue, and stretching (remember back to your high school gym class!) is an important defense for our bodies.
One study on flexibility among municipal firefighters showed that not only were those who took part in a stretching program more flexible, but the total dollars spent on injuries was far less for that group: $85,372 for the stretchers vs. $235,131 for non-stretchers.
Encourage your employees to take short breaks and provide information on work-relevant stretches. If you really want to ensure your employees are ready for those long days of driving or late-night emergency calls that pull them out of bed, start a morning stretching routine or hire an instructor to demonstrate proper stretching techniques. And don’t forget to participate in the stretching, too. Leading by example is the best way to encourage your employees to stay healthy.
3. Work it out
One of the trendiest employment perks is employer-paid gym memberships, which, as a bonus, can sometimes be tax deductible for employers. This is a pretty obvious one because we all know that exercise is good for the body. But regular exercise can also decrease stress, keep your employees more alert and even decrease fatigue on the job.
Perhaps a full membership isn’t something you can afford, so consider other alternatives, like a discount on health insurance premiums. Sometimes, getting your employees excited about exercising can be as simple as providing a directory of local health clubs and gyms. Be creative, and get everyone up and moving.
The cold-weather season is right around the corner, and with it comes a lot of sniffling and sneezing. Every year, work loss days due to influenza total more than 70 million. So this year, consider providing a company-wide flu shot. Or, simply send a reminder to your employees. A flu vaccination is an effective way to fight the cold and flu, and it will save you employee hours as well.
Also, encourage your employees to stay home when they’re feeling under the weather. A sick employee is better off in bed than on the job. Plus, staying home is a good way to stop the flu from spreading.
5. Happy Birthday
This is sort of a fun one, but it’s simple, too. Remember your employees’ birthdays, anniversaries, and if you’re really good, maybe some major milestones like when they quit smoking.
It sounds so basic, but little things like this make a working environment less stressful. Stress is the cause of all sorts of health-related issues, so celebrate the little things and remind your employees that what they do matters.
The cold and flu season is upon us. What are you doing to keep your workers healthy? Leave a comment below.