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Inside Dental Technology
August 2018
Volume 9, Issue 8

Maximize Wellness Plans

Go beyond the basic benefits to profit both you and your employees

Brian Forman

Every company will have a different mindset regarding what a wellness plan should incorporate, but the goal is to develop a program that employees will find beneficial and that will help them improve their health. Once a company has come up with a reasonable budget, a path can be formed to develop a wellness plan. Consider whether this wellness plan targets a majority of the employees or isolates only a portion of the company. Another thing to take into consideration is the end goal. Do you want to focus on only physical health or do you want to incorporate mental health as well? There are physical and mental wellness plans available, both capable of producing positive effects on your employees.

Physical wellness programs include flu vaccinations, smoking cessation, weight loss management, on-site fitness centers, paramedical services, and many other services. Flu vaccinations are among the most common preventive wellness measures and are good for dental laboratory owners to implement. The previous winter had a high number of flu cases across the US. For every employee who does not get the flu vaccination, the chances of getting the flu increases by over 30%. The flu vaccination is a proven preventive measure to keep employees healthy and make them less likely to contract the flu. This results in higher productivity and reduced sick time. The cost varies for flu vaccinations, but the typical range for companies is between $15 and $25 per employee, depending on the number of employees.

Smoking cessation programs are very useful because the goal is to improve the employee's health and reduce the cost to employers. It is no secret that smokers cost employers more money due to health issues, compared to non-smokers. Coaching and medication can both be helpful when assisting an employee who wants to quit smoking.

Improving health and wellness is much more fun when done as a group. Developing a weight loss challenge and putting together teams to compete for gift cards and other incentives are great ways to help people achieve their goals. Over the last several years, on-site fitness centers have become more common. If you do not have the physical space to accommodate this type of wellness program, discounted gym memberships are another option to consider. What better way to stay healthy than to exercise? This type of wellness program promotes overall better physical health and incentivizes people to take care of themselves. Small or mid-sized employers usually cannot provide a 50,000-square-foot fitness center, but having a gym discount program is an alternate way to offer employees a path to better health.

Some companies have instituted a paramedical services program, which includes such services as massage therapy. Having calm and relaxed employees is always a pleasure, and having this type of wellness plan is one way to reward employees for hard work. If this type of wellness program is not in your company budget, you can also provide healthy snacks and drinks. It serves two vital purposes: to keep your employees healthy and to build morale. It is a small but thoughtful way to incentivize people to make better decisions about their health and well being. A snack program will appeal to everyone; we all must eat!

Mental wellness programs are just as important as physical ones. One of the most helpful is the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This is a confidential program that supports issues like stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other life-changing issues. Some employees need help to cope with external life events and to perform at their best. It is important to provide an extra resource to help people who may not have access on their own. Most health plans either include this program or provide an option to add it.

Another useful mental wellness program to consider is having onsite classes that have a range of different topics, such as healthy eating and the link to a healthy mind. Stress management classes could also be offered. In this type of class, they identify useful strategies to tackle stress and the best methods to use in both your professional and personal life. It is best to poll your staff to see what topics they are interested in before you arrange to offer this plan. Maximizing wellness plans has always been a positive experience for companies and staff if implemented correctly.

If your goal is to improve the health of your staff, reduce absenteeism, improve morale, and gain productivity, incorporating a well-planned wellness program is a great way to improve the bottom line. Without a great team that is healthy and fit, both physically and mentally, your laboratory will not operate at full strength. These are cost effective ways to improve the team's well-being while investing in your dental laboratory's future.

About the Author

Brian Forman is a Human Resources Generalist with Atelier 4 in Long Island City, New York.

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