How to Create Corporate Wellness Programs For Business

How to Create Corporate Wellness Programs For Business

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are much more wellness-savvy than ever before. And for business owners, this means they need to offer some form of health and wellness incentive if they want to attract and retain the best employees.

Corporate wellness programs, or exercise programs, are one of the best ways to give staff access to a fitness or wellness package as part of their employment contract.

When it comes to creating and packing a corporate wellness plan, there are lots of options. In fact, it’s almost limitless what you can do as part of your wellness programs.

In this guide, we’re going to look at how to plan and offer corporate wellness packages. While this guide is focused on business owners, it’s also designed to be used by gym and fitness studio owners too.

So whether you’re trying to design a plan for your own employees, or you’re a gym or fitness service provider, these steps will help you create a great wellness program.

What is a Corporate Wellness Program?

Employee wellness programs are designed to give a company’s employees access to a healthy lifestyle, usually to help manage the negative effects of a sedentary job. 

Wellness programs will include health package benefits such as medical or dental insurance, as standard. However, employees, especially younger generations who tend to be more fitness-focused, will also appreciate a wellness program that gives access to a gym or fitness package.

On the job spec, this will usually say something like: ‘Free gym membership’ or ‘Mindfulness days’, or even ‘Regular fitness team building’.

But of course, this includes a very broad variety of fitness-related services, as well as mental health support. 

The goal of these employee wellness programs is to promote a healthier lifestyle and to ensure employees feel that their health is valued. And for employers, a healthier workforce means fewer sick days, more loyal customers and even stronger workforce relationships.

So, there are lots of benefits of wellness programs. How can you create and offer a top-tier workplace wellness program?

Best Features of Employee Wellness Programs

When it comes to creating a corporate wellness program that is more than just a shallow offer on the job spec, you need to bear a few things in mind.

You’ll need to make your employee wellness package:

  • Accessible to all of your team
  • Focused not just on physical health, but also on diet and mental health too
  • Enjoyable
  • Affordable for the business owner

You might also want to offer features such as:

  • Regular health assessments
  • Health and fitness goal planning
  • Workshops and talks from local wellness experts
  • Healthy eating habits guidance
  • On-site classes and workshops

At the most basic level, a good employee wellness package needs to make it appealing and easy for staff to enjoy the benefits without feeling like it is a drain on their spare time or workplace productivity.

This might mean you include some aspects of a wellness program into the working day.

If that sounds counterintuitive and maybe even counterproductive, consider that many studies have found that including wellness as part of the working day actually improves productivity among staff.

In fact, in one study, 90% of business leaders were found to believe that fostering a culture of wellness at work actually improved productivity. 

Another study from the UK found that poor physical health and detrimental lifestyle choices, such as poor diet and smoking, negatively impact business productivity.

Put simply: it is in any business owner's interest to promote a healthy lifestyle at work and to encourage their employees to improve their health, fitness and overall well-being.

Ideas for Corporate Wellness Programs

So, what do you need to include in your employee wellness program? There are many different components, so we’re going to list them below. 

Private Health Cover

Employee wellness starts with their personal health. In many countries across the world, especially in Europe, Canada and parts of Asia, the state offers public health services, with the service often paid for via employee taxes.

In the USA of course, the health service works differently, and individuals need to contribute via their own health insurance. 

But even in countries such as Germany, France, the UK and Canada, where national health is subsidized by the state, a private health plan is an attractive option for employees. It also means they can get higher quality treatment, faster than they would as part of the public health service.

For most businesses these days, offering private health coverage is a fundamental part of workplace wellness programs.

Gym Membership

Another major feature of corporate wellness programs is gym memberships. Having access to a gym that is close to the office, and is open and accessible at convenient times (before and after work, as well as weekends) is important.

It’s no good having access to a gym that is a 30-minute detour from the office via a traffic bottleneck.

Gym business owners will often approach local businesses to offer corporate wellness plans as they know they can appeal to a local audience with their convenience and access.

Corporate Wellness Programs

Group Fitness Training

A great way to build team rapport and get their blood pumping too, is to offer group fitness classes. This can be in the form of a weekly program in the office, perhaps before work, to get the team focused and sweating before the day starts.

Or, it can be a post-work stress relief group, designed to help banish those desk-bound blues.

Health Assessments and Fitness Plans

While a healthcare plan is a fundamental part of a corporate wellness package, having a health or fitness checkup is often something that is overlooked.

Employers might invite a specialist into the office to run a series of fitness checks and ask questions about nutrition and current lifestyle choices. With these answers, employees can receive a health plan tailored to them to help them achieve their fitness goals.

This can also be useful for employees struggling with weight management, nicotine or alcohol dependence or even poor diet.

Mindfulness Classes

In stressful jobs, finding the time to calm the mind and find some peace can be a challenge. So giving employees access to mindfulness classes before or after work can be a great way to clear the mind and help people feel less stressed in their jobs.

Mindfulness might include anything from meditation to yoga, or even simply some tips for improving focus and mindfulness.

Fitness Team Building

Team building is nothing new. But getting staff involved in a shared fitness goal is a great way to incentivize both their personal health and compare the results with their co-workers.

Fitness-based team building could either focus on regular fitness classes, for example, weekly boot camps. Or, it could be based around a fitness-based retreat.

Taking the team away for a weekend in the wild to do some yoga, and maybe even go hiking or paddle boarding is a fun way to create a healthy culture at work.

Mental Health Counselors

In recent years there has been a big focus on the impact of stress and mental health at work. Many companies have combatted this by hiring workplace counselors for staff members to discuss their mental health in confidence.

As an often overlooked part of personal wellness, mental health is one of the main elements in employee happiness and job satisfaction. 

While a business doesn’t necessarily need to hire a full-time mental health counselor, hiring someone to visit the office once or twice a month, or partnering with a local mental health practitioner is a strong workplace wellness benefit.

Healthy Snacks 

Snacking at work is something that can quickly become a bad habit, especially when relying on sugary snacks and treats to get us through a slump. But this dependence on low-quality snacks also has an obvious negative impact… 

Supplying healthy snacks such as fruit baskets or low-sugar snacks is a great way to help employees focus on their health and wellness. 

Many business owners will hire a company to put together healthy hampers for the office.

Corporate Wellness Programs

Nutrition and Food Classes

No health and wellness program is complete without a discussion about food and nutrition. And the truth is that many people will rely on low-quality packaged and processed food, simply because it is convenient and often marketed as healthy.

An interesting angle for corporate wellness programs could include regular food and nutrition classes. These might be optional after work cooking clubs, or a workshop to help people plan healthy diets for weight loss, improved energy and better overall health.

While food classes are great for team building and, of course, personal development, they’re also a key part of general health education.

How to Plan a Corporate Wellness Program

Whether you’re a corporate business manager, small business owner or a fitness professional, planning corporate wellness programs takes some skill and focus. As we mentioned earlier, you want to make wellness programs accessible and appealing to all of your employees.

These steps will help you plan an employee wellness program that can be adapted for businesses of all sizes.

1. Run an Audit or Assessment

The first step in planning any health and wellness program for big groups of people is to assess what the main problems or challenges are when it comes to health and fitness.

The aim here is to find what the common problems are and how your corporate wellness program can remedy them.

Some questions to ask:

  • Is the job sedentary?
  • Is the job mentally taxing?
  • Do employees spend a large amount of time traveling to or from work?
  • How easy is outdoor physical activity in the local environment? (are running trails, parks and nature accessible with ease?)
  • Is it easy to eat a balanced and healthy diet in the local environment?
  • How many work hours can be committed to a health program?
  • Also consider the work-life balance of staff - how can you ensure the optimal amount of employees participate without impacting their free time?

Some of these questions can only be answered by the business manager, of course. But even for fitness business owners looking at local businesses, they can understand and adapt a corporate wellness package based on some common assumptions.

2. Long-term vs Short-term Solutions

While health and fitness is not a one-and-done deal, it can be hard to keep people focused on long-term health. So while offering a package to help people stay fit and healthy over a long period of time might seem like a good idea, it’s also likely that the majority of people will lose interest.

Short-term fitness or wellness packages can help to build a buzz and keep people focused on quick results. These short-term solutions can be offered for anything from a few weeks to months, and be repeated regularly.

Even offering short fitness packages for employees can help to change the mindset, and improve awareness of health and wellness. 

Consider employee engagement whenever you’re planning corporate wellness programs. How can you keep them engaged for the best results? What will have the biggest impact on employee health and improve the chances of them keeping healthy habits?

3. Costs vs Value

Although offering an employee wellness program is pretty much a given these days, businesses will want to ensure they get maximum value from them. And the truth is, they also don’t want to spend a limitless budget on employee wellness either.

At a minimum, most corporate wellness packages will offer:

  • Gym membership
  • Healthy snacks
  • Mental health support
  • Private healthcare

Gym owners and fitness businesses might want to create fitness packages tailored to local businesses offering the best value. For example, they may bundle discounted personal training programs, or group yoga classes for a specific business for a nominal additional fee.

The business owner is going to be focused on keeping costs low, while the fitness professional will want to be sure they’re offering value.

So how can you hit this Venn diagram overlap?

For business managers, you’ll want to ensure that your employee wellness program offers things that employees will want to use, while being affordable.

Remember also that many elements of employee wellness packages are tax deductible. However not all…

For fitness professionals, you’ll want to accommodate for, and discount, the bulk signups from corporate packages. And, in addition to this, you’ll want to ensure you can offer the best value and manage the workload.

Scheduling and managing classes using gym management software such as Arbox is key to ensuring your corporate wellness packages run smoothly.

4. Make the Offer Clear

So you’ve designed a corporate wellness package and you’re ready to help all those staff members on their health and wellness journey? How do you actually encourage people to make use of employee health packages and start taking care of their mental and physical wellness?

First thing first, you’ll need to make the offer clear and even encourage employees to make use of the service.

  • Send welcome emails to new employees explaining how to access their corporate wellness program
  • Keep employees updated via email or on the company intranet with updates to or changes to their wellness program
  • Run regular in-office promotions such as tracking steps or calories burned 
  • Create visual promotions such as posters or flyers in the rec room

Fitness center managers who offer corporate wellness programs can get involved by sending promotional content to improve employee engagement. Arbox gym management software actually allows fitness business owners to send updates and promotions from within the software to keep people focused.

Managing Wellness Initiatives with Arbox 

Keeping track of schedules and classes is an important part of managing fitness and wellness programs. Arbox offers a way to manage any fitness business such as gym, yoga or Pilates studio or personal training business.

With Arbox you can track signups, keep track of upcoming classes and send updates to your mailing list.

Make managing corporate wellness programs easy and sign up for free today!

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