Wellness Programs at WorkHere at Goldtouch, we’re big believers in the power of wellness programs. Whether they’re reducing risk, saving employers on their bottom line, or simply making employees feel cared for, wellness programs can effectively prevent problems before they arise.

Still, the wellness program isn’t perfect as is. It’s important that they continue to evolve to truly meet employee and employer needs. That means, going beyond the basic gym discounts and getting a little bit more creative. Here are a few ideas for doing just that.

1. Create a Treadmill Meeting Room

Recently, we discussed the many benefits of holding walking meetings. Not only is moving while you meet a great way to sneak exercise into an employee’s everyday routine, but doing so will also get more blood flowing to their brains so that they’ll have the energy they need to brainstorm new, innovative ideas and listen deeply to their colleagues’ feedback.

But walking meetings don’t have to be held outdoors. Instead, fill a room with treadmills and have the team hop on board to chat while they walk. If employees are sure they’re going to need a surface to write on or will be bringing their laptops, add a WalkTop™ treadmill desk. It is a desk accessory that fits onto the treadmill and can be adjusted for height and incline. This is a much more affordable solution than buying a regular treadmill desk. And, it will further pay for itself as multiple employees tradeoff in using it throughout the day. Alternatively, try creating a dedicated treadmill work area for any employee who wants to give walking and working a try.

Encouraging employees to walk while they work will keep them healthy in body and in mind. With meeting and work rooms with dedicated treadmill desks, your employees can take advantage of these benefits without even leaving the building.

2. Make It a Team Effort With Fitness Apps

Wellness programs often are a balancing act. You want employees to feel supported and encouraged to take better care of themselves, but you don’t want this encouragement to feel condescending or Big Brotherish. For example, charging employees more for healthcare premiums when they are overweight or smokers may make economic sense, but it misses out on the deeper intention behind the concept of the wellness program.

Utili Fit AppTo avoid this feeling, try leaving the gentle encouragements to a fun smartphone or tablet app. The UtiliFIT app, for example, can be easily deployed across a workforce. The app will regularly remind employees to get up and move with over 300 different activities that can be done right at their desks. Employees can join teams and either support or compete with each other (depending on what motivates them). And, it incorporates features from other popular apps. One such app, Zombie Walk, will count a team’s steps throughout a day. There are also fun seasonal activities, like the upcoming Santa Scrambler, which will get team members moving with distinctly holiday themed gameplay.

And of course, there are plenty of excellent other fitness apps on the market. Encourage your employees to choose their own, and let the fun — and fitness — begin!

3. Start a Corporate Food Co-Op

A healthy, nutrient-rich diet is essential to employee health, not to mention productivity on the job. Employees who are eating right will have more energy to devote to big ideas and efficient working. But too often, bringing a nutritionist in for a lecture feels too much like high school health class. You’ll be lucky if employees pay attention, and even if they do, there’s no guarantee they’ll implement any changes.

Instead, consider striking up a deal with a local food co-op or a company like Edible Bounty. They pair local farmers with corporate wellness programs. This is much like a farm CSA you might get individually, with local, in-season fruit and vegetable baskets delivered every week. However, unlike the normal CSA, which often delivers more than a single individual can enjoy, food co-ops will be split across an organization or team, so you can decide just how much food you need.

Not only are the deliveries full of healthy and delicious foods, but they also contain many foods employees who grew up on meat and potato diets may not be familiar with, which can help to broaden palettes. Recipe ideas are included, and employees can easily swap their own ideas. No one will be left scratching their heads in trying to determine just how to use their bounty. A corporate co-op program is an easy, effective, and delicious way to encourage proper nutrition.

4. Make Seeing a Doctor Easy

In today’s work-a-holic culture, many employees force themselves to go into work even when they’re under the weather, just so they won’t fall behind or look like they’re slacking off. But more often than not, this just makes them even more sick than they would have been had they simply rested in the first place.  It also spreads germs around the office, leading to an overall increase in the absenteeism rate.

Wellness ProgramEnter Teladoc, a program that provides employees 24/7 service to a doctor for a 20- to 30-minute consult. The doctor can call in prescriptions for common issues like sinus infections, UTIs, ear infections, and pink eye, over the phone, without the employee having to take off work for an appointment. The doctor will also let them know when they should take the day off so they can rest or avoid infecting others. This isn’t just an effective way of controlling infections and ending the “working while sick” phenomenon; it’s a great way to show your support of employees. And hey, it’s a whole lot better than having them Google their symptoms and develop a case of cyberchondria.

5. Work With Care Advocates

When deciding whether or not to accept a job offer, most employees consider benefits to be a priority. But when it comes to healthcare, understanding just what your HMO or PPO plan covers can be an impossible knot to untangle — or at least, a frustrating one. To help your employees along, consider contracting with a company that provides care advocacy. With this service, employees can call a special help line to receive detailed information about their health coverage. They can also help direct employees to specialized care providers. And if anything goes wrong with a claim or compensation is delayed, care advocates will — you guessed it — advocate for your employee.

Overall, they take the headache out of healthcare — for both the employer and the employee.

So you see? Wellness programs can be so much more than you think. How have you seen today’s cutting edge companies getting creative with healthcare? Let us know in the blog comments.

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