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Should You Implement A Wellness Program In Your Small Business?

Jun 23, 2021


We’ve all heard of wellness programs and how big companies promote them, however, these companies may be on to something. Enabling a workplace wellness program provides many benefits: reduced stress, greater productivity, increased morale, and reducing health insurance costs (if one is offered). There is a common practice in most businesses around the country of individuals working until they burn out. It is very important that businesses small and big provide their employees different “outlets” that promote a healthy lifestyle. Small business employees tend to wear multiple hats, so employees may not want to take time off as they are dedicated to what they do and may not want to return to a stack of work.


Wellness programs can provide multiple positive outcomes. By providing activities that help reduce stress, create higher productivity, and improve morale, this is great for not only your employees but also you as an employer. A study done in 2019 stated that “wellness programs can increase employee engagement...[resulting in] higher productivity of 21%”. If you do provide healthcare benefits, the use of wellness programs has been seen to reduce those costs, this can be seen in a study done by the CDC in 2016 that determined that $4,500 were saved on healthcare per year due to a wellness program.  It is important for you as an employer to be committed to these programs, as well if there is not a business-related reason, or the employees seem disinterested, or support from higher ups the wellness program will not work.  


Establishing and implementing a wellness program doesn’t have to be overwhelming or costly. It can even provide work/life balance in a busy and challenging environment which also keeps and attracts top talent.


I have gathered low cost or free options that will not only save your bottom line, but will also provide you and your employees with a healthy workplace:



         Getting one’s heart rate up has been shown to produce dopamine, which helps one feel more motivated and happier. Regular exercise can result in employees being more motivated and productive. This could be implemented by providing a gym membership or having employees track steps or how often they are active. There can be rewards provided such as gift cards or something to put on their desk to show they’ve won such as a trinket. 



         Having proper nutrition is important, if one is eating healthy they tend to function better. With the busy environment of a small business it can be challenging to make sure an individual is eating right. A solution for this could be to provide healthy snacks in the breakroom, healthy team lunches, or guides to healthy eating.



         Work-life balance can be challenging as the climate of small business is always changing and employees often wear multiple hats. Offering opportunities to positively affect one's work/life balance such as offering flex time, has been shown to result in greater employee engagement. Leading by example is a great way to influence one's employees and critical to the success of a wellness program


Mental Health Tips

         Having good mental health is just as good as physical health. With the rise of mental health becoming so important and more in the public eye than ever before, it is important to provide guides and resources to ones employees. Some resources could be using Moodpath which is a free app that gives resources to reduce stress and Headspace which offer meditations for $69.99 for a year or $12.99 per month. 


Health Assessments

         Health assessments give people a better understanding of themselves mentally and physically. This is important in a work environment and in one’s daily life. An assessment that could be used is 

Printable: (Click on “start manual download” and then you can print off the form)


*Employers: discourage employees from returning this assessment to you as there is a risk of a HIPAA violation*



Considerations For Implementing A Wellness Program


As mentioned we see big companies or franchises take on wellness programs, but not as many small businesses. Several common questions and considerations when evaluating whether or not to implement a wellness program are:

Who will manage the program?

You may want to start a wellness program, but have no assistance in who will run it. One could consider devoting five hours a week of administration help, if it is possible. 


Will you use a third party to facilitate the program?

There may be a chance that outside help will need to be initiated as this position may need to be filled or at least give you an idea of how to start this type of program.



It  may be expensive to use an online source. Companies with knowledge of their return on investment reported a return on$1-$4 of every dollar spent, according to the IFEBP survey.  Companies tend to spend an average of $742 per employee per year on wellness according to a recent study done by United Healthcare. United Healthcare summary reports on employee wellness program, and came to the conclusion that there was a great contrast between no returns on wellness programs and a study between peer groups that showed significant savings

Final Recommendations:


It is important to review the benefits and considerations of a wellness program carefully and choose what makes sense for your business. When evaluating whether or not to implement a wellness program, we have a couple insider tips:


  •         Measure the cost again the potential return on investment
  •         Keep it simple and easy to manage


If establishing a wellness program makes sense for your business, implementing at least one of these ideas has the ability to create a healthy workplace and motivated and productive employees.


 Disclaimer: HR Branches provides general information about Human Resources. Please note that the information provided, while reliable, is not legal advice. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make sure your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your location and circumstances. The purpose of this information is for guidance, ideas, and assistance on general HR matters.


  by Cate Mitchell

Hi there, I’m Cate Mitchell, the HR Intern for the summer! And I am super excited to be working for this team!  I currently go to school at Grand Canyon University in Arizona, and I am studying Psychology and Business Management. My ultimate dream is to travel to one hundred countries before I turn 25. 

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