Investing in your employees when you’re a small business

Investing in your employees when you’re a small business

Many small companies think that corporate wellness programs are something for large corporations. That they are expensive, difficult and time consuming. But it’s less about spending money and more about a change in culture. And that is something that a small company can do well.

Research on the relationship between health and productivity has found that healthy workers are more productive at work than unhealthy workers. Furthermore, healthy workers rate their work performance as much higher than unhealthy workers. Healthy workers also have far fewer short-term absences than unhealthy workers. Workplace wellbeing programs also help to attract and retain quality employees who value personal health and wellbeing.

One study found that health-related programs in the workplace have decreased absenteeism by a quarter. Small business owners will know that in small businesses, employees often serve multiple roles within the organisation. When a small business employee is absent, requirements cannot always be covered by others because they may not have the skill set or the time to complete the work. Absenteeism in a small business has a much more profound effect on the bottom line than it does in a large organisation.

So, what can businesses, and especially small businesses, do? Implement a wellness program. A sensible program doesn’t have to break the bank and can create a culture that makes employees feel valued, become healthier, and more productive.

Start small – look at vending machines and cafeteria options. Change unhealthy snack and drink options to healthier ones. Throughout the year bring in health and fitness experts who can give workshops on nutrition, exercising, sleep, and other topics related to improving general health and wellbeing. Set-up a private Facebook group for accountability and community. Organise fitness events such as paint balling, participating in walks or runs for charity (double whammy!), or hold FitBit competitions to see which employee walks the most steps in a month.

One of my passions is helping people to quit smoking. Smoking is, as we all know, associated with a raft of health problems and the cost of smoking on society – and employees – is staggering. Quitting smoking is one way to make a huge and positive impact on someone’s health. I work with groups and love to come into companies, large and small, to help employees make a positive, lasting change.

Investing in employee health is not about large-scale corporate wellness programs. It’s about culture and leadership. It’s about listening to employees and offering easily accessible options. And small businesses are particularly well suited to do this and see the impact from small positive steps towards health and happiness.

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