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It’s no secret that happy, healthy employees are the most productive employees. Company culture has become increasingly important to America’s workforce, especially as millennials begin to make up a larger chunk of it. We don’t just want to work for paychecks anymore: employees want to work for businesses that value their wellbeing and that help them become their healthiest, happiest selves.
Amelia Wilcox, founder and CEO of Incorporate Massage, agrees: “Wellness programs and incentives, even nontraditional ones like those we offer at Incorporate Massage,” — the company offers free 15-minute massages to employees — “are very effective in attracting the right kind of people to your organization. They add so much to the culture you’re working to create, and as an emerging business, that culture becomes the core groundwork for the organization to be built upon as it grows.”
Some small businesses are turned off by the cost of implementing wellness perks or programs, while others recognize the value of doing so and work hard to create a healthy working environment for their staff. Here are seven examples of small businesses that make workplace wellness a priority for those they employ.
1. Directive Consulting
What? A digital agency that partners with Google, Bing, Moz, and Unbounce.
According to CEO Garrett Mehrguth, every employee at Directive Consulting is under 24 years old — meaning they’re still on their parents’ health insurance plans. Because of that, the company took a unique approach to employee wellness by offering gym memberships to 24 Hour Fitness. So far, it has been a valuable incentive when it comes to hiring talent and bettering company culture. Team members often attend classes together, forming friendships that have helped improve workplace collaboration.
“Building a culture of health and activity is key with young people,” says Mehrguth. “We sit a lot in our office, so being active is key!” He’s right — staying active is known to increase productivity. It also relieves stress, increases self-esteem, boosts mood, and increases energy levels, all of which contribute to a better working environment for employees.
What? An eco-friendly company that sells steam cleaners and steam irons — and plants a tree for every steam cleaner it sells.
Dupray has only 18 full-time employees, including its president and CEO, Sebastien Dupéré. The company is all about combining employee fitness with renewable energy, as evidenced by the $25 vegan lunch voucher offered to employees who bike 100 kilometers (62 miles) — whether that’s to and from work or on their own time.
“Many might think this is outrageous,” says Dupéré, “but think of the benefits for the employees, the environment, and the business. It creates a positive work environment, keeps our employees happy and healthy, and makes the world a cleaner place.” What better motivation is there to get fit than free food and saving the planet?
What? A co-working startup where independent contractors come together and share a workspace.
A dream for freelancers who want a better place to work, Primary provides workspaces perfectly suited to a healthy lifestyle. The innovative co-working space allows you to do things like get in a morning workout (there are showers on-site so you don’t have to worry about feeling less-than-fresh for the rest of the day) or a midday meditation session to relieve stress before returning to work. The spaces also include greenery walls covered with moss, fresh flowers, and live planters (known to boost happiness), an organic health bar, and in-house wellness professionals such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, and massage therapists.
It may sound more like a vacation resort than a workplace, but according to co-founder Lisa Skye Hain, the self-care tools provided by Primary are designed to help people work at their most productive levels, while also feeling content in their working environment.
What? A medical consulting firm in Cleveland, Ohio.
During the first three months of the year, Excelas employees are encouraged to participate in the company’s Walk Out Of Work (WOOW!) Challenge to earn up to 24 additional hours of paid time off and a donation to the charity of their choice. This is part of the company’s wellness initiative, called Excel-ness, which also includes nutrition and stress-reduction programs to improve the health of employees and reduce health care costs over time.
The company’s wellness strategy is beneficial to both employees and the employer, as a healthier workforce is more productive and costs the company less. This is ideal for a small business that needs to cut costs around the office where possible, while also prioritizing employee productivity.
What? A healthcare consulting company in Philadelphia.
CEO Dan Calista wants Vynamic to be the healthiest workplace in the world, preferring the phrase “health and care” over “wellness.” The Vynamic offices are green — literally and figuratively. It’s home to a treadmill desk for long conference calls, stability balls for desk chairs, and a Balance Bar: a break room stocked with free healthy snacks. The company’s Fitness Committee issues daily wellness challenges to employees, and the team has produced a cookbook, “I Am Hungry: Recipes for Happiness,” full of healthy recipes and available for purchase on Amazon Kindle.
The company also has a zzzMail policy instructing employees not to send non-urgent emails to each other between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. during the week, at all on Saturdays and Sundays, or during Vynamic holidays.
What? A communications technology company trusted by big names like Google and Skype.
Bandwidth wants employees to make the most of lunchtime, so they’ve extended it beyond the typical 30-60 minutes. Thanks to their 90-minute lunch breaks, employees have time to hit the gym, eat at a leisurely pace, and read a book before getting back to work for the afternoon. The company also sponsors sports teams to encourage physical activity and healthy team-building in its employees.
The company’s Whole Body program offers resources to help employees learn healthy metrics and then provides opportunities to help employees actually reach those metrics — including an on-site cardio gym, off-site gym memberships, and a gym shuttle.
7. Borislow Insurance
What? A full-service benefits broker in Massachusetts.
With a holistic program that focuses on emotional and financial health as well as physical well-being, Borislow Insurance has earned several awards for its workplace wellness program, including the 2014 American Heart Association Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite recognition. Employees earn points for participating in healthy activities — like bringing a healthy lunch to work and getting an annual physical — which they can then exchange for prizes. The company offers an on-site fitness center, a personal trainer, and fitness classes in yoga, meditation, and more.
The program was borne from a health promotion the company developed for its clients, and now serves as a testing ground for programs that could be implemented for clients.
Encourage healthy company efforts like these by sharing this article on social media — or with your boss when they ask for suggestions to improve your workplace morale.