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Start-up founders love to talk about wellness and fitness, but are you actually helping your employees achieve it?
An Article and images by Young Entrepreneur Council for Inc.com
Employees today value a healthy work-life balance as much as they value a promising paycheck. Not only does an offering like an employee wellness program provide a more positive work experience, but it can also boost camaraderie, morale and–best of all–productivity at the office.
What are the must-have elements of an employee wellness program at a start-up? We asked nine successful founders from the Young Entrepreneur Council to suggest a few program investments that will pay off.
I would suggest looking into organizations that are catered to helping companies with their wellness programs. If you are a knowledge worker, I would suggest something like Keyboard Athletes. –Michael Bruny, The New Art of Conference Networking
2. A Dedicated Nap Room (Really!)
We offer our employees the use of a dedicated nap room, with a sofa and comfortable sleeping space. A short rest can make all the difference between a tired employee and a fresh, motivated one. –Robert J. Moore, RJMetrics
3. Host Wellness Workshops
Corporate employees tend to suffer from lack of sleep, poor eating habits and burnout. Tony Schwartz of The Energy Project created a fantastic program to raise awareness of each of these areas. Awareness is what will ultimately lead to action; after the workshops, get feedback to determine what is most needed (i.e. napping pods, accountability groups, food or gym stipends or standing desks). –Jenny Blake, Life After College
4. Make Fitness a Part of Your Company’s Culture
When developing an employee wellness program, be sure to have a goal in mind and a purpose for the program. Provide a tangible goal that your employees can reach to increase motivation. Whether it’s training for a 5K or competing on the company’s softball team, providing something your employees can participate in will help them remain active. –Heather Huhman, Come Recommended
5. Get Fitbit for Every Employee
I love my new Fitbit, a high-tech pedometer with wireless sync that allows me to compete against my friends or team for the most steps each day. Create a group for the start-up to see each other’s progress and build in friendly competition. It’ll encourage more “Let’s walk to lunch” and activity around the office, as well as building the team as a unit.
–Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems
6. Give Your Kitchen a Makeover
The strongest wellness programs are holistic in nature. After creating an exercise routine, give your kitchen or snack shelf a makeover. For starters, stock your fridge with ready-to-eat quinoa (e.g. Minsley) and salad greens, fill your shelves with organic seeds and nuts (e.g. sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, pistachios, pecans) and get a robust water filter (e.g. Berkey).
7. Consider Social Wellness
At ‘ZinePak, we recently implemented the rule that every employee can take two paid days off per year to volunteer for a charity of his/her choice. It’s an excellent opportunity to empower employees to help our community and help them feel like they’re a part of something larger. Wellness isn’t just about physical fitness; social and emotional wellness are equally important to overall well-being. –Brittany Hodak, ‘ZinePak
8. Implement More Standing and Walking
By offering standup desks and encouraging walk-and-talk meetings, our team can make small changes to existing routines. Our employees have found that standing and walking throughout the day, instead of constantly sitting, keeps them more energized and better-focused. –Bobby Emamian, Prolific Interactive
9. Offer Flexible Working (Out) Hours
The biggest challenge facing employees who want to be healthier isn’t always the cost of a gym membership, but the time to fit it in. Gyms are packed before and after work, so allowing employees gym time anytime can inspire everyone to get up and get moving instead of the typical post-lunch afternoon slump. –Derek Flanzraich, Greatist
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
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