Maximus, the wellness programPosted: March 16, 2011
What is Maximus the wellness program? I have to give you a little information before I identify this cool idea. Just finished reading an article in California Broker magazine about Employer Wellness programs. Wellness programs are designed to help employees become healthier and over time reducing the employer’s cost. The design is more likely to help larger employers whose renewals are based on their specific plan, plan usage, and prescription drug cost.
YES, YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
So what can a small employer do to help their employees with wellness? I would suggest serving green smoothies everyday to employees. Yes, make them drink it and they will like it!! Okay, realistically, that just may not work. But I’ve been thinking about things that can make a difference.
My husband’s company has a wellness program in place and employees who participate earn points which translates into gift cards. It’s a very cool program. A couple of years ago I accumulated enough points to mostly pay for a Vitamix blender that I use every day for my green smoothies. As the program has continued after a few years it’s the same old boring thing, especially for people like me who already work out and are pretty clued in about eating healthy. One thing I really like about the program is the Health Coach. I signed up for the program and I get a call every three weeks from my coach and we discuss the topic I selected in the beginning of the program.
STRESS REDUCTION, AN ONGOING THEME
The topic I usually choose is related to reducing stress. How can I stop worrying so much about everything and have a more balanced life. My coach had two ideas that I’ve been working on the last couple of months. The first idea is to stop standing up while I’m eating. I know, bad idea, but I’ve made a habit out it while I’m rushing every where. Sometimes I stand over my sink while eating toast telling myself it’s less dishes to clean up later. My coach got me to stop doing that, but I slip up on occasion, like the other day when I took a bite out of my piece of pizza while walking to the dining room table.
The second idea my coach came up with is to take a lunch break. I know you’re shaking your head at me, or maybe you’re hanging your head in shame because you do the same thing. I have developed a bad habit of eating at my desk and staring at my computer. So I came up with an idea. My neighbor has a dog that he used to take to work with him. He could do this on some construction sites, but the most recent job doesn’t allow him to take the dog. Well heck, I love dogs and I don’t have one of my own (my cat, Star would never forgive me if I got a dog) so maybe I could take their dog for a walk at lunch time. My office is close to my home and it would get me outside and help the dog too. Well my neighbors love the idea and now I’m committed. So now you know the program I’ve developed, Maximus, the wellness program.
So the point of this story, is what can you do to help your employees and yourself with wellness. In the small group market (less than 50 employees) the rates are pooled which means you won’t necessarily be able to directly lower your rates with a wellness program but it can make your employees feel more valued because you care. As people take better care of themselves they use less sick time (that will definitely help out your bottom line) and they take less medications, which helps them to reduce their costs.
Maybe you can make a rule like no eating at your desk, or maybe you try to get everyone outside in the sunshine for 10 minutes everyday. I’m sure you can come up with some ideas. Please let me know what you’re doing to help yourself and your employees.