The Green Sheet Online Edition
April 14, 2014 • Issue 14:04:01
Healthy people, healthy business
In the fast-paced payments biz, having a competitive edge is critical to an entrepreneur's ability to grow and prosper. Comprehensive merchant offerings, effective technology, mutually beneficial partnerships, stellar customer service and support, and a well-trained sales force are among the essentials required to be positioned for long-term profitability.
Another area that significantly affects a company's bottom line is workforce health. This is true for people who own businesses of all sizes—from merchant level salespeople running sole proprietorships to executives heading super ISOs.
If you work alone, you can't help but notice that if your energy is low, you don't perform at your best. And if you become acutely ill or have a chronic disease, your bottom line suffers dramatically.
If you have employees, independent contractors or work closely with partners, the greater number of variables might make the immediate effects of each individual's health more difficult to see. Yet the more vibrant everyone is, the more nimble, flexible and strong your business will be. So what is a business person to do?
Create your own health program
Instituting a health program for your business can go a long way toward fostering wellness throughout your company, making it more likely you'll attain your business goals. Here are ideas to help you get such a program underway:
- Send questionnaires to workers that query them about their current health habits and goals for well being.
- Based on the interests noted in the questionnaires, plan a wellness program for your company. It could include weight management, smoking cessation support, on-site fitness programs, discounts at nearby health clubs, etc.
- Introduce the program to your colleagues and appoint a few people to foster and track participation in the program.
- Encourage people to change their habits: for example, schedule some meetings for lunch time, and have participants walk there together, instead of meeting around a conference table in the office.
- Start a softball, bowling or other type of team for workers.
- Consider offering cash incentives for participating in the wellness program or for attaining predetermined health goals.
- For those who travel on business, provide a tip sheet on how to eat well and get exercise while on the road.
- Provide software that reminds people periodically, perhaps every 20 minutes, to get up and stretch. The software could demonstrate different kinds of stretches a person can do at a desk.
- If you have vending machines on site, encourage the vending company to offer healthy snacks such as dried fruits and nuts instead of chips and candy.
- Offer lunch-time health education seminars led by local professionals.
- Collect feedback on the program to determine what is and isn't working, and adjust the program as needed.
- Celebrate every success.
Also, create a healthy physical environment. Make sure the heating and air conditioning are working properly; that work stations promote good posture; that the office is clean and orderly; that the noise level is not distracting; and that there are elements of beauty such as appealing pictures on the walls, areas with well-maintained, live plants, and a peaceful spot where people can take breaks and refresh themselves.
Over time, these actions can cut down on absenteeism and increase happiness and productivity, which will, in turn, contribute to a healthy bottom line.
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