Implementing a wellness plan in your small business could be one of the wisest decisions you ever make. Your employees will be healthier, more productive and take fewer sick days. You will see a direct positive impact on your business in a relatively short period of time.
The costs of implementing a wellness plan in your organization are minimal. According to research conducted by the American Heart Association, for every $1 spent on worksite wellness, companies can receive up to $3 in return.

When setting up your company's wellness plan keep these points in mind:

Keep it non-intrusive - Do not make participation in the wellness plan compulsory. Workers who are not interested may feel alienated. There could also be legal implications.

A couple of years ago the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued some private companies who required employees to undergo health risk assessments in order to arrive at their health care premiums. The EEOC also objected as employees who did not participate in wellness programs had to bear higher costs.

It is advisable to steer away from any controversial issues. Keep your program as simple as possible and avoid collecting any sort of personal data from employees.

Decide on the activities to be promoted - Your wellness plan could include company-sponsored exercise, weight-loss competitions, talks on various health topics and other specific areas that your employees request.

Begin with something simple. Many companies have initiated their wellness plans with walking programs. Although this is not a substitute for a comprehensive wellness plan, it is a good place to start.

Regular walking can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, lower blood pressure and reduce high cholesterol.

Encourage people to relax on weekends - Some small businesses have implemented a policy that does not allow employees to send non-urgent emails to co-workers between 10pm and 6am on all working days. Such emails are also not permitted on Saturdays, Sundays and other holidays.

Workers get back to work on Mondays reinvigorated and refreshed.
Consider outsourcing your wellness plan - If your budget permits, getting a specialized company to help devise your wellness program may be a good idea. You can concentrate on your business and let the experts handle issues like negotiating with fitness centers and arranging activities for your staff.

Incentivize your staff - Giving your employees a goal to work towards could be key to making your plan a success. You could link fitness targets to rewards that include gift cards or cash awards.

Many companies have seen that rewarding employees is the best way to get them to accept a wellness program.

It is also very important that workers see that the business owner or members of senior management are active participants.

Voluntary plans work best

Most people spend more time at the workplace than at home. The culture and environment at the office are an important factor in promoting healthy habits. You can even make a start with ensuring that the vending machines on your premises stock only healthy snacks.

The focus of your plan should be to make employees realize the benefits of being healthy rather than getting them to abide by a company-mandated fitness regime. The best way to do this is by making any initiative you take voluntary and something which involves fun and a bit of healthy competition.