Workplace wellness programs may not only increase employee morale, but, if run effectively, can also reap a positive return on investment for employers. We?ve included some ideas for making positive changes to your wellness strategies for little or no cost.

Nutrition

  • Provide healthy eating reminders to employees using posters, emails and intranet posts.
  • Offer healthier food options in the vending machines and in the cafeteria, as well as at meetings, conferences and catered events.
  • Ensure that on-site cafeterias follow healthy cooking practices and set nutritional standards that align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Provide cookbooks and cooking classes for employees and their families.
  • Offer locally grown fruits and vegetables at the workplace (this could be a workplace farmer's market or a community-supported agriculture drop-off point).

Physical Activity and Weight Management

  • Allow access to on- and off-site gyms and recreational activities before, during and after work. Encourage and support participation in after-work recreational leagues.
  • Provide showers and changing facilities at the workplace.
  • Map out on-site trails or nearby walking routes and destinations. Host walk-and-talk meetings when it is nice outside.
  • Provide bicycle racks in safe, convenient and accessible locations. Sponsor a "bike to work" day and reward employees who participate.
  • Create activities that have strong social support systems like buddy or team physical activity goals or programs that involve co-workers and their families.
  • Set up programs to encourage physical activity, such as pedometer walking challenges.
  • Offer flexible work hours and breaks to allow for physical activity during the day.
  • Post motivational signs at elevators and escalators to encourage stair usage.
  • Encourage employees to map out their own biking or walking route to and from work.
  • Provide or support physical activity events on-site or in the community.

General Health Education

  • Have a wellness plan in place that addresses the purpose, nature, duration, resources required and expected results of a workplace wellness program.
  • Promote and encourage employee participation in the physical activity, nutrition and weight management programs.
  • Provide health education articles, handouts or fliers to employees.
  • Create a committee that meets at least once a month to oversee your wellness program.
  • Offer regular health education presentations on various physical activity, nutrition and wellness-related topics.
  • Ask health associations, health care providers or public health agencies to offer free on-site education classes.
  • Host a health fair as a kick-off event or as a celebration for completion of a wellness campaign.
  • Conduct preventive wellness screenings for blood pressure, body mass index, blood cholesterol and blood sugar.
  • Provide confidential health risk assessments.
  • Offer on-site weight management or maintenance programs for employees.
  • Add counseling for weight management or maintenance, nutrition, and physical activity as a benefit in health insurance contracts.

This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.