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A company’s employees are its greatest asset and your people are your product.

Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group

If you’ve been reading about employee wellness programs, you may already be familiar with all the benefits that come with them; increased productivity, employee engagement, reduced healthcare costs and the list goes on.

While the benefits of a wellness program are often clear, there is a common misconception that implementing a wellness program is expensive.

This misconception shouldn’t deter you from implementing a wellness program either. Especially since 87% of employees said they consider health and wellness offerings when choosing an employer. Let's have a look at how low-cost employee wellness programs can help your organization.

Do Wellness Programs Help Save Costs?

Employee wellness programs have a positive domino effect on employee health and wellness. The physical and mental health of your employees has a direct impact on their productivity. 42.5% of employees in the private sector in India suffer from depression or some form of anxiety disorder. It is estimated that this may cost India to the tune of $1.03 trillion.

Well-designed wellness programs lead to a return on investment (ROI) of $1.50 to $3 per dollar spent over a timeframe of two-to-nine years. Similarly, 56% of employees had fewer sick days because of wellness programs.

Source: Global Wellness Institute

Give the Right Eating Options

It’s rightly said that you are what you eat. The right eating choices have a massive impact on one’s fitness and wellness. Since your employees spend a major chunk of their days in the office, it is also important to focus on giving them the opportunity to eat right. You can do this in many ways by incorporating this into your low-cost employee wellness programs.

For example, Google (if you haven’t heard about them, they’re a search away) has engineered a way to introduce a healthy lifestyle by making nutritious food more accessible to its employees. They do this by providing ample options for their catered lunches while keeping the portion size to the recommended amount.

While it’s important to convey the importance of eating right, you should never penalize your employees for not participating in a program. Similarly, you should ensure that your communication is about leading a healthier lifestyle and not about weight or fat loss.

Gamify Your Fitness Goals

Let’s face it, fitness isn’t fun (not for most people anyway). Hence, most people need that extra push when it comes to being more physically active. Gamifying fitness activities are among the best low-cost employee wellness program ideas.

Something as simple as a step-challenge or a 30-day fitness challenge can help you achieve your employee fitness goals easily. 

Let’s take a look at Fitbit for example. A company that sells fitness trackers should have a good wellness program for its employees and they do. Fitbit’s ‘Workout Wednesdays’ is for the employees to participate in various workouts throughout the day along with step challenges that encourage a healthy lifestyle while making it more fun and introducing healthy competition. 

Be Vocal About Mental Health

The mental health of your employees plays a significant role in their productivity. Even though mental health is not as much of a taboo as it was earlier, you must remember that it is a sensitive topic. 

There is a growing demand for mental well-being programs, financial wellness, as well as behavioral health. While you shouldn’t touch the topic of personal mental health (leave that to the professionals), you can always create a safe workspace. 

For instance, you can host weekly informal catchups where employees can share their experiences, feelings, and struggles (if they wish to). 

You can look at the mental wellness program of EY called ‘r u okay?’ They noticed an increase of 30% in their mental health assistance number after this program was introduced. The program focuses on addressing the stigma of mental health and normalizing the conversations that surround it, especially in the workplace.

The ‘r u okay’ program gave employees access to a 24-hour hotline, management consultation, counseling, legal assistance, etc. and by doing so, facilitated the normalization of mental wellbeing in the workplace.

Health and Fitness Concessions

While you may not want to start an in-house 75,000 square foot fitness studio like Nike, you can always motivate your employees to join a gym or fitness center by providing corporate discounts. 

Health and fitness are two sides of the same coin. A fit employee will help reduce healthcare costs in the long term. Likewise, employees are usually worried about the rising healthcare costs.

In such a scenario, a comprehensive healthcare plan will put their worries to rest. It’s crucial to have a holistic approach to your employees’ healthcare. After all, they are thinking about their own health, plus the health of their dependents like parents, spouse and children.

Key Takeaway 

There is no doubt that employee wellness programs come with many benefits. These low-cost employee wellness programs show that you can take care of your employees’ health and wellness without spending a huge sum. 

Just like there is a misconception about wellness programs, there is a myth that employee healthcare has to be expensive as well. With services like access to doctor consultations, focus on mental well-being, and fitness centers, Plum gives you a comprehensive health plan that’s best suited for your company and at the right price.