invest in employee healthThe culture at my company has always been health-conscious.

Maybe that’s because I’ve developed so many natural health-marketing plans over the years.

I’ve found that when you make healthy choices easily available and make them fun, people get interested.

So the “office supplies” in our kitchen include jumbo jars of vitamin C and Echinacea. Activities have included afternoon juicing pick-me-ups and a 10-day “fast” challenge. That was a real bond-building experience of nutritious algae shakes and supplements. 

But it wasn’t until one of our clients, Dr. Brett Osborn, a neurosurgeon, certified anti-aging specialist and body builder, came to visit that I got the idea to offer the staff free memberships to the new gym just down the street. The gym was big—50,000 square feet—and had the latest equipment, an aquatic center, exercise physiologists, etc. Sweet.

Many corporations have gyms in their buildings, but for a business like mine with less than 25 people, that’s just not practical. When we first moved into what seemed like our spacious new digs two years ago, we turned one of the offices into a little workout room. But that didn’t last long. My 24-year-old business has been growing a lot in recent years, and we’ve had to tear down walls to make room for everyone. 

Dr. Osborn spoke about the role weight training plays in reducing inflammation and said building muscle is the absolute best disease prevention. We had a great time picking his brain about exercise, physiology, nutrition, etc., and he gave us fascinating answers. Nearly everyone on our staff was engaged.

Working hard and getting fit

This experience got me thinking: I really care about our team. When they’re happy and healthy, I feel good. I also know how much better my husband and I have felt since we started our gym program, and I knew my staff could experience the same thing. So I offered free monthly memberships to the wellness center to anyone who wanted one.  

Everyone signed up.

They’ve all been taking the opportunity to get away from their desks during the day and they come back upbeat and energized. That, of course, is great for everything we do – from client relations to creativity to communications among co-workers.

Best yet, they’re all getting fit. That, as Dr. Osborn says, is the best disease preventative there is.

Is there any better investment small business owners can make than the health of their staff?

Today’s guest contributor is Marsha Friedman, a 24-year veteran of the public relations industry and the CEO of EMSI P.R., a top public relations firm. Marsha is the author of Celebritize Yourself. You can hear her on her weekly Blog Talk Radio Show, EMSI’s PR Insider or connect with her on Twitter. Her insight on investing in the health and well-being of her employees resonates with me. Coming off a summer of surgeries makes me wish I’d made a similar investment in myself a long time ago!

Image credit before quote added:  morgueFile