4 Workplace Wellness Tips for Small Business
Running a small business is tough. You’re often taking on the tasks of more than one person, which can mean taking on the extra stress as well. This makes a workplace wellness plan all the more important. Whether it’s just you or you have a team, investing in wellness can lead to increased productivity and positively impact employee satisfaction. Ultimately, healthy people lead to healthier business.
So, what exactly is “workplace wellness” anyway? The term workplace wellness usually refers to a number of programs aimed to improve employee physical and mental health. These might include stress management, fitness and nutrition, or smoking cessation programs, and can be educational or activity-oriented.
Workplace wellness programs don’t have to be expensive or complicated, two things you definitely don’t need in a small business. Here are 4 tips to implement a workplace wellness initiative that works for you.
1. Identify what type of "wellness" you actually want or need
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to fitness and health in life or in the workplace. The first step to planning a wellness initiative is figuring out what issues you and your team are facing. This doesn't need to be complicated or intrusive. Get input from your team about their biggest stressors and health concerns and ideas for how to improve. If it’s just you, think of a wellness challenge you’re facing or what helps you relax or feel physically or mentally energized. Then choose an activity or initiative that fits you and your team. Not everyone wants lunchtime goat yoga, no matter how trendy it might be. Is a running group, meditation break, or healthy snack sharing more your speed?
2. It starts with your workspace
Where you work matters. Our workspace is often where we spend the majority of our waking hours, which means it can have a big influence on both our mental and physical health. Good news, small changes can have a big impact. Research has shown that sitting at a desk for too long is incredibly detrimental to our health. Try standing meetings, or use reminders to take a walk break. If poor air quality or low light are an issue, it may be as simple as a lamp, air filter, or diffuser. Check whether your workspace has secure bike storage if you'd like to encourage alternate transportation. Revamp your lounge or break space to encourage your team to take a mental break throughout and make connections with one another. Implement a healthy snacks only rule for shared food if you’re trying to encourage healthier eating.
3. Communicate & write it down
For any new wellness activity or initiative, small or large, you’ll need to communicate it to your team. Get them involved and engaged in the process. Put up affirmations or reminders in the office of what your goals are. Create a team board, online or in the office, that is your place for all things wellness. Even if it’s just you in your business, writing down your wellness goals will help keep you accountable.
4. Learn what resources are available to you
While you may not have the budget to hire an outside company to curate an entire wellness program just for you or administer additional health and fitness benefits, you can utilize resources already available to you to help inspire a new wellness idea, or provide educational tools. If you already have health benefits, look into what wellness resources are included. Many health plans, including Health Plus, include wellness tools to help their members kickstart a healthier lifestyle. Other online resources, such as those from Canada's Healthy Workplaces Month, give great ideas for wellness activities for a variety of goals.
Wellness isn't a one-and-done activity but a lifelong process. However, getting started can be a lot easier than you might think. And, if you find the right activity for you, it can end up being a lot of fun with huge rewards, both personally and professionally.