First Steps to Health & Wellness for Small Businesses

First Steps to Health & Wellness for Small Businesses

How to Start Your Workplace Wellness Program

1. Make a commitment by expressing your support for workplace wellness to your employees

2. Designate a wellness leader &/or create a small wellness committee

3. Review & promote any existing worksite support or policy related to wellness

4. Seek employee opinions regarding how the company could help support a healthy lifestyle

5. Select one or more wellness activities to promote & deliver at the workplace

6. Encourage employee participation in wellness activities & be an active role model

7. Each month, ask employees for feedback on the use & effectiveness of the wellness activities

8. Each quarter, introduce additional wellness activities (see resource for additional information)

Examples of Free or Low-Cost Activities to Promote Workplace Wellness

Physical Activity □ Incorporate flexible schedules to allow for physical activity or schedule periodic physical activity breaks

□ Encourage “walking meetings” instead of sitting at a desk or table

□ Provide secure areas to lock or store bicycles

□ Put up motivating signs near stairwells to encourage the use of stairs

□ Create team challenges using fitness apps or activity trackers

□ Create employee activity or recreation groups

□ Map out walking routes inside & around the workplace (include mileage/steps)

□ Contact local gyms for reduced-cost gym memberships or provide vouchers towards memberships

□ Give incentives or prizes for active transportation to & from work

□ Provide on-site recreation activities (Wii/Kinect, ping-pong, bocce ball, basketball hoop, etc.)

Nutrition □ Provide access to clean drinking water throughout the workplace

□ Make gradual changes to add healthier options & nutritional information to vending machines

□ Increase the number of healthy food options provided at meetings

□ Provide access to a clean refrigerator, microwave, & prep-area

□ Encourage employees to bring a healthy lunch from home

□ Host healthy pot-lucks or “salad bowl” lunches & share recipes

□ Establish a fresh fruit & healthy snack bowl funded by employee donations

□ Host healthy cooking lessons or a healthy cook-off

□ Invite a registered dietitian for a lunch-n-learn session

□ Establish a community supported agriculture (CSA) drop-off point near the workplace

Tobacco Cessation □ Promote the use of the state or local tobacco quitline at 800-QUIT-NOW

□ Encourage employees to support each other’s efforts to quit smoking

□ Establish written policies for a tobacco- & nicotine-free workplace

Stress Management □ Maintain a clean work environment & remove unnecessary clutter

□ Offer a time management & personal organizational skills training

□ Connect employees with local mental health services & support groups (parenting skills, stress management, etc.)

□ Establish a quiet, softly-lit room for relaxation & meditation during work breaks

□ Support a work-life balance & encourage employees to electronically disconnect after-hours

□ Take time to volunteer in the community as a group

□ Utilize available outdoor green space & create a company garden

Additional Workplace Wellness Resources for Small Businesses

American Cancer Society

 Meeting Well- A Tool for Planning Healthy Meetings and Events Guidebook to help organizations plan meetings & events with good health in mind

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 CDC Workplace Health Promotion Website that provides information about workplace health promotion & provides guidance in designing,

implementing, & evaluating effective workplace health programs

Indiana State Department of Health

 Healthy Worksite Toolkit: For Small to Mid-Size Businesses (2nd edition) Toolkit that assists small- to mid-sized businesses develop policies, support environments, & create activities to

provide employees with strategies to increase wellness in the workplace

Missouri Council for Activity & Nutrition

 WorkWell Missouri Toolkit Toolkit that helps employers identify strengths & weaknesses of their health promotion policies, develop an action

plan to implement or improve worksite wellness, & to provide a payback on investment

United States Department of Agriculture

 SuperTracker Online tools to create & track personalized nutrition & physical activity plans with the option to create

SuperTracker groups for peer support & friendly competition

Wellness Council of America

 Workplace Wellness Reference: Starting Small List of specific steps & activities to create a successful employee health promotion program at a small worksite

 The Small Business Criterion- Small Business Report 2-part resource that discusses how to incorporate the steps a small business should take to create a successful

workplace wellness program (part 1) (part 2)

An electronic version of this document & additional resources can be found at:

Contact with any questions or to report a broken link.


Washington University School of Medicine does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of information contained on websites of non-

affiliated external sources. Read the School of Medicine’s Policy on Links to Third-Party Websites to learn more.

Last Updated: 03/27/2017


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