If you’ve been following along with all things Goldtouch, you probably know that we’re big fans of wellness programs. The science of ergonomics, after all, is all about customization and prevention. And nothing can prevent injury, illness and pain quite like a good wellness program. Done right, a good wellness program should be excellent medicine for a company’s bottom line, as healthier, happier employees do much more than just show up every day: they’re committed, they get creative, and they work far more efficiently than their colleagues that are driven to the bone. Together, these features mean wellness programs are well worth the investment, and can even save you money in the long term.
Still, finding the initial budget for a wellness program can be tricky, all the more so if you’ll need upfront proof for higher ups that such a program will prove worthy of company resources. Let’s take a look at a few key ways you can ensure your wellness program is a budgeting priority.
Wellness Program Step 1: Look Closely at Savings
Before you add up the costs of your proposed wellness program, put together a spreadsheet to estimate the many ways that a wellness program will save you money in both the short and long term. Key factors to consider are healthcare costs, insurance premiums, and absenteeism. All of these should fall as you implement your program.
Employees who feel supported and given a measure of life-work balance are more likely to stay out of the doctor’s office and on the job. This means your teams can stay focused on what they do best. Rather than compensating for absent colleagues. A healthy workforce may ultimately allow you to bargain for a more cost effective insurance plan. And importantly, employees that feel cared for are more likely to stay on the job, which should lead to a lower turnover rate. This in turn means wasting less money on training employees who only leave the company a short time down the road.
While you may not be able to pinpoint exact numbers for each one of these things, try to estimate an accurate range on the low and the high ends to give those with official sign off power on the budget a good sense of the financials.
Wellness Program Step 2: Add Up Gains
Just as important as measuring savings is adding up all of the financial gains your company will make. You will most likely find these gains in terms of productivity and efficiency rates. Also as rates of innovative thinking and production. It shouldn’t be surprising, as healthy, pain-free employees have far more energy to devote to their jobs! And way more mental space to devote to making the most out of their jobs. These particular gains may be difficult to estimate the first year. Be sure to track them carefully over the next several years so that you can more easily make comparisons.
Wellness Program Step 3: Cut From Elsewhere
The gurus at the financial office make all sorts of accommodations for other budget priorities. Why shouldn’t a wellness program receive the same special treatment? If your company is really operating on a tight budget, then it’s time to do an overall reevaluation of company priorities. Do you really need to have a big company party twice a year. Or, can you cut down to just one? How about that expensive retreat that’s fun but doesn’t seem to accomplish much? Is there an old product that requires more marketing dollars than it’s worth?
In making these evaluations, always keep in mind how much a wellness program will benefit your financials overall. Do these other programs really hold their own?
Wellness Program Step 4: Start Small
From treadmill desks to corporate food co-ops, today’s wellness programs come in many different unique forms. But you don’t necessarily need to roll out big measures, initiatives or techniques to start seeing benefits. If you can’t afford to give away big memberships, even $10 towards yearly gym fees will demonstrate your support.
Alternatively, you could try surprising your employees with an extra vacation day “just because,” or extending flex time and remote working options to parents or anyone with family members who need their help. Even building in time for a “creative hour” here and there, during which time employees are encouraged to work on projects of their own, will give employees a mental boost. Or, opt for small purchases like a split keyboard will demonstrate support, without requiring the investment needed for an ergonomic chair or desk. To get going, take a look at bigger budget wellness programs and brainstorm ways to do something similar at a much lower level. Every little bit helps!
Wellness Program Step 5: Adopt a Culture of Prevention
By far one of the biggest determinants of success in rolling out a wellness program is the company culture. Management can issue wellness edicts as much as they like, but they just won’t have much effect if teams on the ground aren’t on board. Developing and supporting a preventative company culture is the best way to ensure all wellness programs, both big and small, are a success.
To do this, encourage employees to contribute their ideas for a wellness overhaul, and establish support groups to keep everyone motivated. Applaud the little things, like taking more breaks or holding walking meetings. The more deeply prevention and wellness are ingrained into every aspect of your company culture, the less flashy your interventions will need to be.
Planning for a Wellness Program in short:
Done the right way, a wellness program isn’t something to “just make room for” in your budget. It should be considered an essential part of your company’s well-being, and therefore a budget priority. How do you budget for your wellness program? Let us know in the comments below!