We are big advocates of promoting employee wellness, and research everywhere—like here, here, and here–indicates that healthy employees are better employees.  And, not only that but promoting employee wellness should save you on employee health and safety costs.  In fact, every dollar invested in health-related incentives should save you nearly $5 in things like workplace accidents, absenteeism, and medical expenses.

According to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health a few years back, over 91% of employers believe in reducing healthcare costs and promoting employee productivity by creating a more health-centric work environment.  However, only 19% of these companies offer any form of a wellness program.

And why is this?  Maybe these employers aren’t sure how to begin the process, or perhaps they struggle with health-related issues themselves.  Either way, if you plan on creating a more engaged team, and if you’d like to reduce healthcare costs, you need to initiate some form of a wellness program.  And it doesn’t have to be as intricate or as involved as you think it does.

We are big on employee wellness, but that doesn’t mean we have a designated health official or that we spend a great deal of time or money tracking the health of our employees.  Not at all.  We merely provide simple perks that go a long way.

As you read the following tips on employee wellness, attempt to make connections to your workplace, and consider how you can offer various health perks or incentives to your employees.

Employee Lunches

The great thing about employee lunches is that it’s a quick and easy way to encourage teamwork and engagement; however, many companies fail to do this in a way that doesn’t produce a comatose state.  In other words, they buy five extra-large pizzas and call it a day.

About once a month, we like to have an employee barbeque, and we try to keep the menu filled with fresh foods and real ingredients.  A few of our team members will cook together and plan the activity, and we’ll give our staff two hours to sit outside, eat their food, and mingle with their co-workers.  Not only does this help our employees connect with each other and create lasting relationships, but it promotes the idea of healthy eating habits.

Snack Pantry

A snack pantry for your employees provides many benefits.  If you fill it with the right kinds of food—fruit, oatmeal, granola bars, cereal, almonds, water bottles—you’re giving your employees a lot more than you may think.  For starters, think of all the employees that come to work without breakfast and are irritable and unproductive because of it.  A properly stocked pantry gives your employees the opportunity to arrive at work, grab some oatmeal or an apple, and start the day off on a good note.

Another thing to consider is all your staff members who snack on things like chips, candy, and soda throughout the 8-hour work day.  Decision-making processes and productivity are directly impacted by what you eat.  If you don’t eat the right kinds of foods throughout the day (or enough), you won’t have the energy or brainpower to be effective.  But eating healthy is hard right?  Not with a freshly stocked snack pantry.  Make eating healthy as easy as possible, and keep your employees well-nourished and ready-to-go at all hours of the day.

On-Site or Off-site Gym

We have an entire room dedicated to physical fitness, equipped with weights, cardio machines, and a punching bag.  The room is free to use, and employees can come into work earlier or stay later to use the equipment.  This option may seem like a little much for a company with a handful of workers, so another alternative is to pay for a company-wide gym membership.

For around $25 a month per employee, it isn’t a huge expense and has the potential to pay off substantially in the future.  Encourage your employees to work out, through competitions, incentives, and even thank you notes.  You’d be surprised how much even the simplest gesture can empower and encourage your team.