Employee wellness affects more than just medical costs. For companies, an unhealthy employee hinders office productivity. Often times these medical costs are caused by preventable and modifiable health concerns. Rather than risk losing thousands in productivity costs, promoting healthier lifestyles has shown to be advantageous for companies.
There are many ways for companies to promote a healthier workforce. From minor modifications like providing alternative options in vending machines and setting out fruit trays as a treat during the day to adding an on-site gym, the options are endless. For organizations with healthy budgets, one great initiative to promoting employee health is to host a wellness fair.
Benefits of a wellness fair
Wellness fairs are a quick opportunity for employees to focus on themselves and their health without compromising time or co-pay fees. Compromise is the key and if your employees can learn more about their overall health status quickly, on-site and typically free of charge, they will have the tools to make wise health choices. A healthier employee leads to healthier productivity.
Aside from the convenience they offer, wellness fairs give employees the opportunity to “know their numbers” and take advantage of preventative care options. Employers also benefit from wellness fairs by inviting their company’s benefit providers to educate employees on the benefits they offer and best ways to utilize the plan. This saves the employee, provider and the company health care dollars.
Tips for planning a successful fair
Encourage your employees to get healthy because good employee health is good for business. Here are a few helpful tips to consider when planning:
- Make it convenient – For a successful turnout, consider location and time. Host your fair where many people congregate such as the cafeteria or if space is limited, consider setting up tents outside the office. Schedule your fair during hours of downtime like during lunch or break times. The easier and more convenient it is for employees to attend the more likely they are to go.
- Incentives work here – Incentives can be as simple as free granola bars and smoothies or as special as massages. Have employees enter a raffle as they enter the fair where they could win cash prizes or other swag. Incentives are a good way to draw in the crowds.
- Offer a smorgasbord of wellness booths – A great way to appeal to the masses is to cover it all, or as much as you can. Try surveying your employees before you begin planning to get a good sense of what type of information they are interested in, whether it is clean eating or physical activity and then have booths set up highlighting material for each specific need. Some basic ones to include are nutrition, exercise, tobacco and stress but think of seasonal occasions too. If your wellness fair falls during the summer months, consider talking about the importance of sunscreen. When winter rolls back around, offer resources pertaining to the Flu prevention.
- Promote your benefits plans – You may have a great benefits program available for all employees, but do they know how great it really is? A wellness fair is a great time to let your employees know about programs offered through your corporate health plan or even promote additional programs they are eligible for. Have someone from HR there to answer any questions. If you don’t have a program available yet, but are looking to start, take this time to survey employees to find what they are interested in.
- Advocate for community involvement – Community walks and runs occur all the time. Encourage employees to get involved with local organizations such as Make-A-Wish or American Heart Association. Ask to have a representative from a local charity pass out flyers to their next upcoming event and offer to reward the team with the best overall time. Another great industry to highlight is local restaurants. Have a few eateries around town bring in healthier menu items to sample. Also consider bringing in local athletic shops to do foot assessments and shoe fittings for walkers and runners. Local businesses are usually eager for a chance to promote their services.
With the rising rates of heart disease, obesity and cancer threatening the health of Americans, companies are looking for ways to promote healthy alternatives to their employees. Wellness fairs offer an additional option in conjunction with corporate health programs. Informed employees will take health concerns more seriously, so empower your workforce today. There are plenty of ideas out there to get you started on planning a wellness fair for you organization. Take the tips from above and start planning today.