In June, I shared the first part of a 10 step framework for establishing a wellness program for a small business. This is the very framework that is used at my workplace of seven employees. Since the start of the program, we are more supportive of each other’s goals and have created a positive work environment. Below are steps 6-10 of the process.
6. Provide information on nutrition. With this step you can help employees make better decisions about the food they eat. Post information in the break room or kitchen. You might even consider having a healthy recipe potluck where everyone brings their favorite healthy recipe. The UMaine Cooperative Extension and USDA both have a number of great resources on nutrition that are available to download.
7. Have a wellness library. Start building a library of educational resources on a variety of topics that employees can read at work or borrow to take home. Education will help employees be more aware of health topics and will potentially lead to better decisions. Use your knowledge of your employee’s interests to build the library. You can find a number of affordable books for your library here.
8. Offer a quarterly newsletter. The newsletter serves as another source of education for employees and points them towards additional resources if they want to learn more. There’s no need to re-create the wheel as there are a number of national organizations who provide free e-newsletters. You can also check with your local Healthy Maine Partnership to see if they have a newsletter that can be shared with employees.
9. Create a supportive environment. Make healthy choices easier at work by changing your physical environment and updating policies. What kind of food is served at meetings or offered in vending machines? Is your tobacco policy up to date? What type of supports does your company offer to those who want to quit? Does your workplace culture support movement during the day? Making policy and environmental changes will demonstrate your commitment to health and wellness.
10. Connect with community activities and resources. Find out what community resources are available to you in your area. Does your local healthcare system offer free education? Are there experts like financial advisors, chiropractors or dentists who might offer educational resources or sessions? You can also become involved in community events or fundraisers that support health like walks or runs.
As you consider these basic steps and how they might work for your business, remind yourself that this process does not happen overnight. Start with a plan, have reasonable expectations, listen to your employees and don’t be afraid to be creative.
If your small business is just starting a wellness program or has an established program, I welcome your insights.