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Implementing a Wellness Program
The cost of health benefits for employers and employees alike is a rising concern, especially for smaller business owners. Though it can’t get rid of the cost all together, implementing a wellness program into your employees’ working lifestyle can save you money.
Many high deductible insurance programs pair their health benefits with the implementation of a wellness program in order to provide lower premiums to small business owners and employees. However, the high deductible can reach over $10,000 and, in the long run, can really cause some debt problems if an employee needs medical services.
Still implementing a wellness program into your business, even if it is not directly connected to health insurance you provide your employees, can help them to avoid needing medical services for common aliments, since a better and healthier lifestyle helps to keep anyone from getting sick.
For example, my mother-in-law works for the state. The wellness program they offer is a free half day off of work once a month (doesn’t count against vacation time or sick leave) to go to the doctor or dentist and get regular check-ups. That alone is incentive enough for an employee to make a doctor’s appointment.
There are other, simple things that you can implement (some or all) as a wellness program for your employees:
• Offer healthier snacks and drinks in the breakroom (something other than chips and soda).
• Organize group walks over the lunch break to get your employees moving more.
• Offer to pay a portion of membership to a local gym for each employee (and you can often get a group rate discount from that gym as well).
• Provide health risk assessments and screenings for your workers once every 6 months to a year (provide incentives to get employees motivated to participate).
• Provide health counseling to individual employees on a regular basis (bring someone in once or twice a month to meet with people).
Whatever you implement, whether it be these or other ideas, anything you can do to make your employees lifestyles more healthy will not only benefit them, but will also benefit your business. Employees will take fewer sick days and will be more attentive and productive as their lives become healthier.
• BusinessWeek.com: Get Well Soon
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