Implementing Corporate Health Programs in Small Business Settings May 24th, 2010, by Ken Buckley

Running a small business can be quite a juggling act. There are a myriad of priorities from producing goods and services to controlling efficiency and effectively managing employees.

Corporate Health for Small Businesses

While larger companies are enjoying returns on corporate health programs, the budgets of small businesses are often already stretched to the limit, but there’s no reason for these businesses to miss out. In fact devoting just a little bit of time to workplace wellbeing may be the edge a vulnerable small business needs in this competitive market.

The upside for small businesses is that research suggests workplace health programs run on a smaller scale actually have distinct advantages over their larger counterparts. The smaller business lends itself well to the fostering of health initiatives.

Members of staff are usually all on a first name basis and more ready to get involved and support one another in achieving goals. Participation, which is key to the success of any program, tends to be high within small teams as well, as is motivation, and there is generally less red tape to get through thus producing an easier and faster return on investment.

As for resources, corporate health programs don’t need to include exorbitant fitness facilities and full time chefs. A few simple initiatives can make a world of difference and a qualified provider can help to tailor a program that will address a small organisation’s needs and budget.

Here are a few suggestions:

Appoint an Employee as Health Program Leader

While larger organisations may require a health committee, a small business usually benefits from designating a single employee to be responsible for liaising with providers and coordinating health initiatives. This may be an HR administrator, a manager or a member of staff that has shown a keen interest in the program.

Make the Workplace a Healthy Environment

Replace any junk food and soft-drinks that employees are likely to grab for a quick energy fix that will leave them feeling terrible later on. Stock break rooms or vending machines with fruit, water and healthier snacks.

Place informative posters and brochures to encourage healthy habits such as a balanced diet and smoking cessation.

Encourage walking breaks, or a short rest during long shifts, perhaps even with a healthy magazine.

Organise Onsite Health Screenings

Providing employees with the opportunity for health checks can help them identify and control any potential risks such as high blood pressure, obesity or cholesterol. An onsite health expo that includes health check stalls is a fun way to incorporate voluntary, confidential screenings that could prevent serious illnesses in the future.

Hire a Corporate Health Provider to Run a Health Seminar

Educational health seminars presented by qualified speakers are a great way for small businesses to initiate positive health changes in the workplace. Topics such as ergonomics, fatigue management and nutrition provide employees with practical strategies to improve their overall health and energy levels.

Remember that investing in employees is an investment in the long term viability of the business itself. Big things come from small beginnings, so schedule a meeting on workplace wellness and move toward a healthier, happier and more productive organisation.

For more information on corporate health programs for small businesses or hosting your own health expo, contact Healthworks on 1300 90 10 90 (International: IDD 61-2-9954-1888 ) and be sure to quote: “post269” for eligibility of Healthworks latest online offers and Corporate Health initiatives.

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