Healthy employees are happy, productive employees. And promoting health creates a win-win situation for everyone involved. One excellent way to encourage enhanced health and well-being is by offering appealing and effective health-related benefits.
Health-related perks don’t have to be expensive or complicated to be effective. Here are nine ideas to get you started (some of which are a lot more fun than the phrase “health-related benefits” might lead you to believe). Pick one (or more) that you feel is a fit for your company to get started building a healthier, happier workforce — and be seen as a company that cares.
1. Health Insurance
Employees are always happy to receive health insurance coverage as one of the key benefits of their employment. Work with a health insurance provider to offer the best coverage you can at the most affordable cost to employees and their dependents. Don’t forget to include vision and dental coverage, if that’s within your budget.
Even as you provide health insurance, remember that employees will likely need to use their health insurance benefits less, thus spending less money, if they stay healthy in general. Encourage your employees to use the preventive care covered by insurance, such as regular wellness checkups.
2. Pet Insurance
The insurance you provide doesn’t have to stop at people. Many employees have pets that are beloved companions. Those pets can help to improve employees’ health by motivating them to stay active during daily dog walks and by lowering stress levels. It’s important for those special pets to stay healthy, and pet insurance is a great way to help that happen. This is one of those unique health-related benefits that is becoming increasingly popular and appreciated. It tends to be low in cost but big on helpfulness — and is a great way to show you truly care.
3. Gym Membership or Discount
According to a study at Iowa State University, people who have gym memberships not only exercise more but also have better cardiovascular health. If your company has a gym or workout room on site, encourage your employees to use it as much as possible. Even better, offer the services of a visiting personal trainer at no cost or for a discounted fee.
If you do not have a gym on site, that’s perfectly fine. Instead, you can offer a membership at a local gym in a convenient location. Give employees an incentive to use the gym by holding contests with prizes and recognition for staff members who meet their health goals. (Note: you should also encourage employees to check with their health practitioners before beginning any exercise program.)
4. On-Site Massage Therapy
Sitting at a computer all day can give employees tight muscles as well as neck or back pain. That, coupled with long hours, can contribute to stress-related illness and chronic back problems. But massage therapy can come to the rescue by helping to loosen muscles, boost relaxation, and reduce stress. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, massage therapy helps to ease a range of conditions from pain to depression.
Coordinate with a qualified local therapist who can bring in a portable massage chair and offer massages once or twice per month. Employees who are interested can sign up for fifteen- or thirty-minute time slots. Depending on your budget, you may choose to have the company pay the total amount for the massages, or you can offer massages at a discounted rate that the company subsidizes.
5. Walking Club
When the weather’s nice, using a lunch break to take a brisk walk is a great way to stay in shape. Start a walking club that allows employees to get together and walk on a nearby trail or in the local neighborhood during breaks. As an added bonus, this type of get-together builds team spirit and unity within the company. You could even hire a fitness trainer to lead the group in warm-up and cool-down exercises, as well as maintain the pace of the walk.
6. Conferences and Classes
Employees who are focused on their goals love to further their knowledge and ability by taking classes and attending conferences relevant to their field. But they may also enjoy participating in continuing education opportunities that relate to their health and well-being.
Consider offering classes on topics like nutrition, stress management, and exercise either at your offices or a convenient local location. If employees want to sign up for local or online health-related classes, consider reimbursing them or outright paying for it. Potential class topics might include healthy cooking, blood sugar management, or emotional health.
7. Water Bottles and Dispenser
Staying hydrated is a simple yet powerful key to good health. A University of Illinois study concluded that water intake leads to reduced calorie consumption and various improvements in food choices. One excellent way to encourage employees to drink plenty of water is by offering water dispensers filled with filtered or spring water located in strategic places throughout the office.
Consider giving each employee a water bottle that has your company logo and maybe even a health-related slogan printed on it. Give your employees a water intake log to complete or point them to an app they can use on their phone. All of this combined will encourage your employees to drink plenty of fresh water, instead of unhealthy beverages and sugary drinks like sodas.
8. Healthy and Delicious Food
Study after study has documented the importance of eating high-quality food. Food delivery services are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. They are convenient and save time. See if there’s a grocery store or dedicated food delivery service in your area that will deliver food to your office.
Look for a service that is able to bring you full meals on occasion or provide healthy snacks, like a variety of fresh fruits, such as apples, bananas, grapes, and oranges. Raw nuts are other great options. Go with organic food whenever possible. These foods all make quick, energy-boosting snacks and help steer your employees away from less healthy options.
9. Health Communications
When you’re thinking about the health-related benefits to offer your employees, don’t forget the intangibles. Communicating through email newsletters and announcements is a low-cost way to share your passion for health. Use this method to let your employees know about everything from the food delivery schedule to when the walking club is meeting. Also consider offering tips or covering topics that will expand your employees’ knowledge of health and wellness, such as how to better manage blood pressure or how to food shop on a budget.
Health-Related Benefits Can Benefit Everyone
You know the dynamics of your company and staff better than anyone, so offer whichever benefits are best for your company culture. What you decide to offer will vary based on issues like your budget, specific employee needs, and company location. But think outside the box and get creative. Use the nine suggestions listed above as a launching pad for your own ideas.
By incorporating health-related benefits into your company culture, your employees will improve their health and your company’s priorities will be clearly communicated. Remember that “health is wealth” for your employees as well as for your company as a whole.