By Christina DeBusk
NEW YEAR’S RESOLU TIONS typically center around health and wellness, such as losing
weight, getting in shape, quitting smoking or
changing some other not-so-healthy habit.
And while it is ultimately up to each person to
achieve his or her goal, the reality is that very
few (some suggest fewer than 10 percent) are
actually successful when they try to tackle
Fortunately, employers can often help
increase the odds. And they should, because it
benefits them as well.
Benefits of healthy employees
According to the Occupational Safety &
Health Administration ( osha.gov), part of the
U.S. Department of Labor, occupationally ill
and injured employees cost business owners
$170 billion annually. Yes, billion. Just imagine if that money were freed up to put back
into the companies instead: It could go a long
way when beefing up marketing efforts, adding more employees to improve customer service or simply making a greater profit.
Supporting employees’ healthy habits has
other business benefits as well. For instance,
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
( cdc.gov) reports that healthier employees are
more productive and take fewer days off. The
World Health Organization ( who.int) suggests
there are additional advantages, such as
improved office morale, lower turnover rates
and a more positive public image.
Understanding your part
Costco member Dan DeFigio, the director of Nashville-based Basics and Beyond (get
tingfit.com), which specializes in fitness and
nutrition, says a wellness plan requires goals
and consistency to be effective.
For starters, it’s important to “have some
kind of measurement of what you’re actually
trying to achieve,” he says. For instance, is
your goal to help employees get healthy to
reduce sick days, or are you working to reduce
obesity levels so they have more energy and
are therefore more productive?
Also, although it is great to want to offer
one-off events to help your employees, like
holding a two-hour nutrition class, DeFigio
stresses that this won’t effectively change their
behavior. Instead, you need to do something
that is consistent and constant.
That’s why DeFigio created an Internet-based health and wellness education program
that he provides to business owners who are
searching for ways to help their employees
become healthier, and thus keep their resolutions. This program involves sending regular
emails, videos and other motivational and
educational information to employees so they
are constantly “tapped on the shoulder” and
reminded to meet their goals.
What others are doing
To create your own resolution-friendly
program for your employees, here are some
The Costco Connection
Costco Services offers health, dental and
vision plans for small businesses (click
“Services” on Costco.com). Costco warehouses also carry a variety of healthful
fresh fruit and vegetables. Healthful snacks,
activewear, discounts on gym memberships,
vitamins and supplements, and more can be
found at Costco and on Costco.com.
© MARCIN BALCERZAK / SHUTTERSTOCK
ideas from other small-business owners (who
are also Costco members).
● Serendipit ( serendipitconsulting.com), a
company that helps businesses develop advertising strategies, reimburses $50 per month
toward a fitness membership, and roughly 50
percent of employees take advantage of this
benefit. They also provide in-office yoga
monthly, something that co-owner Melissa
DiGianfilippo reports improves both productivity and office morale.
● Kombucha on Tap (kombuchaontap.
net) co-owner Deanne Gustafson encourages
employees to “drink on the job,” as kombucha
is a healthy fermented tea, and she has noticed
that this has reduced sick days. They also turn
team meetings into hikes or walks on the
beach, promoting physical activity versus just
sitting around a table.
● Ian Crosby, co-founder and CEO of
Bench ( bench.co), an online bookkeeping service, says that they give all employees $125
per month to spend any way they’d like in
regard to wellness, such as for a gym membership or exercise equipment. This allows
them to support employees in a way that
works best for them and also works well when
there are a number of employees who work
from different locations.
● John Glynn with The James Agency
( thejamesagency.com), a public relations company, says that they offer employees 15- to
20-minute massages monthly, as well as one
hour of yoga. They also do a lot of team-building activities to help bring employees
These are just a few ways to help your
employees reach their New Year’s resolutions.
Now the question is: What can you do? C
Christina DeBusk ( christinamdebusk.com) is
a health and wellness freelance writer, motivational speaker and goal coach.
Businesses do better
when employees are fit