In 2013 one of the most comprehensive studies of workplace wellness was carried out in the United States. Entitled the Rand Report, it looked at the employee wellness programs in the US and their effectiveness in improving the general health and wellbeing of an employee. The lead author of the report, Soren Mattke concluded that employee wellness programs could help contain the current epidemic of lifestyle-related diseases, as well as lower the skyrocketing healthcare costs in the US.
This conclusion is no surprise, because we all know by now that regular exercise can lessen the risk of developing health problems in the future. As well as the Rand Report, other recent studies have shown that sticking to an initial exercise program of at least six weeks will reduce the risk of disease and other health problems later in later life. However, the major issue with people getting exercise lies in the place that they spend most of their day – their job.
A lot of people are spending 9 to 10 hours sitting down staring at a screen every day with little or no exercise done in the evening. High stress or job dissatisfaction can lead to poor health and nutrition choices and an overall lack of interest in keeping fit and healthy. This is why corporate wellness programs are so essential to help people live a healthy lifestyle and maintain good mental health.
In fact, when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010 in the United States, it contained provisions that incentivized businesses to provide adequate corporate wellness programs for their employees. Under the act, businesses would use monetary incentives to motivate employees to reach the fitness goals set out for them. While there were some issues with the implementation of this, overall, it is a step in the right direction for employee wellness.
Outside improving the health of the employee, there are a couple of other benefits for businesses incorporating workplace wellness programs. For one, there is the financial aspect. In a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, it was found that for every dollar invested in wellness companies, the average return was $2.71. For another, there is an overall positive impact on morale. Physical activity can help people deal with the stress and pressures they may face at work and improve employee health in general.
This will also increase employee retention rates and help keep top talent in the workplace; happier healthier staff are more likely to stick around! Combine these points with today’s Millennials, who take up 31.5% of the world’s population, and it’s clear why there is such an emphasis on health and well-being in today’s workplace. Their expectations of the workplace are the driving force behind companies actively trying to make sure an employe has a healthier work-life balance.
As you can see, corporate wellness programs are becoming very important to how the modern workplace functions. But what does all this mean for you as a fitness entrepreneur?
Well, as we discussed in our previous blog on 5 practical product and service revenue streams, corporate wellness programs are a great way of adding an extra revenue stream to your business. As we touched upon briefly in that article, corporate wellness is an excellent source of revenue during the quieter part of the day when everyone is at work. So it makes sense to bring the gym to them!
If your fitness business is located in a small to mid-sized town, you may be thinking this is more relevant to a studio or gym located in bigger towns and cities. But with such an emphasis on corporate workplace programs in today’s world – this is not the case anymore. A lot of companies now will offer employees some form of gym membership; often to a gym close to the office. In the United States, the ACA made it mandatory for companies with 50 employees and over to provide healthcare, with a wellness program usually part of this.
So in this article, we are going to go through the steps you need to take before becoming involved with corporate wellness. Then, we willgo through some different corporate wellness ideas you could implement at your fitness studio or gym.
What To Do First
To get your studio or gym involved, there are two main things that you have to do.
Get On The Phone
You have decided to take part in a corporate wellness program. The next question is: How do you do it?
Well, the answer is quite simple: Good old fashioned cold calling.
In the beginning, the best way is to make a page on your website describing the service you will provide for businesses. Then make a list of companies in the area that you think are looking for a fitness studio or gym to become involved in their wellness initiatives. The next step is to call the HR manager of each company on the list and start selling!
However, if you are in a more significant urban area, it might be worth running targeted Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns. Or go old school and place posters advertising your services. If you need to brush up on your Facebook ad skills, check out this blog on top tips for a killer Facebook ad campaign.
Choose a Location
If you become involved with a company’s corporate wellness program, you more than likely will be running fitness classes as part of the plan (more on this later). The choice you have to make is whether you host it at your gym or their office.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each:
Advantage: Easy for the employees to attend, less cost to you as you don’t have to open your gym.
Disadvantage: Facilities may not be adequate for physical activity.
Advantage: Good facilities that you’re familiar with, you can control the environment.
Disadvantage: Unless you are close to the office space, you may find it challenging to get employees to attend.
In the next part of this article, we will go through the different employee wellness program ideas you can offer a business.
You may be thinking that you have to dive straight into running classes. But a simple service you can offer before you get into any of that is a wellness audit. A wellness audit is where you take a look at the current state of affairs of a business in terms of the health and fitness of their staff. You can then make suggestions about where things need to be improved. The results of this audit can then be used as a benchmark for developing a wellness program for the business; including different aspects of health and exercise.
When making suggestions as part of this audit, you should identify easily improved habits and routines that can help employees reach their fitness goals. For example, suggest putting a poster beside the stairs that encourage employees to hit the steps instead of riding the elevator. The poster can give information such as the distance you travel and how many calories you can burn. You can also put signs up signaling the same but for walking laps around the building on a lunch break.
A wellness audit is an excellent way for you to come up with simple ideas that the office can improve. The focus here is on every day small changes that you can encourage employees to take to up their physical activity and even choose healthier foods. Some suggestions might include implementing standing desks, Aaron Sorkin style walking meetings, or a smoking cessation.
Depending on the size/layout of the office, try suggesting quick-fire team exercises throughout the day. It’s a great way to get people moving, encourage some productivity, and beat away work-related stress. For example, if the teams sit in desk banks of 6-10 people, have one person set a few exercise alarms to go off at different times of the day.
Every time the alarm goes off, everyone gets up and does a quickfire exercise together. We’re not talking full-body workout here; it can be as simple as 30 seconds of star jumps. Just a little stress buster to get everyone moving and motivated. With smaller teams, one of these alarms could instigate a brisk 10-minute walk. Walking a little more is something most people can incorporate into their daily lives. This way, the staff can grab some headspace and come back feeling motivated.
Another area the wellness audit will cover is nutrition. Suggest healthy snack ideas and healthier food choices for the canteen if there is one. Locate healthier foods in the local area and place menus and leaflets in visible areas around the office.
Some office employees will already have healthy habits when it comes to lunches; either opting for the healthier choices locally or preparing balanced meals to bring in. Improving poor food choices during the day will help keep employees feeling more motivated and energized. Use an employee that is making good choices as an example to others. Get them involved by encouraging them to act as a health coach to their colleagues when it comes to food; helping them to whip something healthy and easy up to bring in for lunch.
These are just some simple ways you can initially motivate the team and gain their interest.
Once the audit is completed and you’ve gained a bit of momentum, it’s time to evaluate what your business has to offer employees. Most importantly, you need to plan how you can adapt this to suit the needs of the specific workplace. Coming up with corporate wellness program ideas will get easier with each company you get onboard. Employers will inspire new ideas as you go because each workplace will be different. As their go-to wellness vendor, your efforts should help improve employee engagement. When you see what works best, you can develop future strategies and techniques. Here are a few ways to get started.
Depending on the size of the office/equipment you have, offering to complete a fitness test with an employee is a great way to help them understand their fitness levels and the impact it could have on their long-term health. It’s also an excellent opportunity for you to identify any health risks or injuries. There may be some testing you can do onsite at the workplace; otherwise, invite them along to your studio or gym during lunch hours or after work. Examples of fitness testing could include:
- Blood pressure awareness
- Basic fitness testing
- Body fat percentage
- Overall body composition
We have spoken about workshops before as a great way to boost acquisition and retention and for introducing nutrition into your fitness business. And the reason is they are a fantastic way of introducing people to new health and fitness concepts. The reality is that a lot of the people in the workplace wellness program may not be used to staying fit and healthy. Workshops are great because you can tailor them to be very interactive. Encouraging people to ask questions and generally get involved with the topic will keep them interested. The specific nature of a workshop allows people to grasp concepts in a short space of time very quickly.
With a workshop, you can slowly introduce nutrition and exercise concepts in a more relaxed environment. Some great ideas for a workshop include:
- A cooking class on healthy eating
- The 5 steps to laying the foundation for a productive day
- How much exercise does a healthy adult need?
- The 5 components of physical fitness
- 3 simple mindfulness practices to improve your mental health
Keeping your workshops small will mean to get to spend more one on one time with the people attending. If they have any questions, it’s easier for them to ask you. You’ll also notice throughout holding the different workshops what kind of topics they are enjoying. You can use this to help you develop future ideas. Use your workshops as a time to collect feedback; it’s a great chance to find out what an employee would like more of, or if they have any suggestions that you haven’t thought of yourself.
After you’ve run a couple of workshops and gotten to know the employees a bit better, it’s a great opportunity to personalize your program. Make an office cookbook by asking staff to share their favorite healthy recipes. Gather the best ones into a collection and share the compiled document with the office in an email, or a simple booklet, depending on how many employees there are.
You could also send out a company ‘worksite wellness’ newsletter highlighting the best nutrition and fitness content from the Web. This is an effective way to stay connected with the team and keep them up to date with the latest health trends. Set up some Google alerts to make the process simple, use separate terms like ‘fitness’ ‘nutrition’ and ‘health food’ and choose the option ‘only the best results.’ Pick out the best content, either weekly or monthly, and compile them for your newsletter. You can narrow this down further if you’ve been offering specific types of fitness to employees. For example, if you’ve been providing the team with on-site yoga, your monthly newsletter can encourage simple ways for employees to practice Yoga in their free time.
These personalized touches will set you apart from competitor corporate wellness programs; you’re bringing a genuine, tailored service that’s helpful. Employers and their staff are more likely to give you great reviews and recommend you to more companies – and even their friends and family. People who are referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate, so it’s time to get personal!
Programs and Challenges
For most fitness studios, a weight loss challenge is a standard event. And the reason for this is that it works!
This is a fantastic way of getting an employee motivated to take part in a health and wellness program. By challenging them to reach a goal, they have more reason to stick with the fitness and nutrition plan you laid out for them.
Some great ideas for programs and challenges include:
- 8 Week Physical Health Programmes
- 28 Day ChallengeCouch to 5K
- 8 Week Mindfulness and Mental Health Programme
- 8 Week Nutritional Health Programme
Create a happier healthier workspace
This is a straightforward and effective idea. Some offices may already have a designated area set up for employees to de-stress or grab a quiet moment. If they do, try and evaluate how you can make it even better. For offices without this space – get one set up! Every office needs a “safe” area where employees can balance out work-related stress. It’s important for mental health that employees have space where they feel that they can take a moment to de-stress and collect their thoughts. Create an area in the office where employees can do this whenever they need to.
These corporate wellness program ideas are a great way to get employees of the business you are working with motivated to achieve their fitness goals. The benefit for you as a fitness business is that it adds another revenue stream to your fitness business and exposes you to potential members that you can sign up for longer-term memberships.