Health Links (HL): Why is the health and wellness of your employees important to you?
Mountain Sweep (MS): When I (owner - Mairi) feel healthy and happy, my life is naturally simplified and I function at a more optimal level in all efforts. I am successful and driven; anything is possible. By seeking and providing community wellness resources, I hope to support more than an income for my employees.
HL: What does your workplace wellness program look like?
MS: I created a simple, basic point system where employees earn points based on hours worked, achievements, above and beyond efforts, and other bonuses earned. Employees can redeem points towards a variety of wellness options such as massage, chiropractic, reiki, yoga, nutritional consultations, rec passes, acupuncture, allergy treatments, etc. I have networked with a variety of wellness resources and healers in the community that are willing to provide their service at a discounted price because of the business and marketing participants receive from being a part of the wellness program. All of the participants are also very excited to see a local business implementing such an effective resource for employees and most are willing to support the program however possible.
HL: How will you/do you know your program is successful?
MS: It is difficult to measure exactly how performance has increased since implementing the wellness program because Mountain Sweep is a fresh, new business and the program has only been in place since January 2015. However, employees have expressed a great deal of appreciation and whenever one seems to have something holding them up – physically, emotionally, or spiritually, the wellness program provides potential resolutions in a wellness form.
HL: What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
MS: I think the biggest challenge overall was strategizing the wellness plan. It was tough to know where to begin (a workplace wellness program has been a vision for many years), but I started by being clear and specific about what kind of wellness program I wanted to provide and how I would provide it. Getting out there and effectively presenting my idea and asking for support of wellness resources in the community was the most important part of making this idea real and although it was at times daunting, the responses were unimaginably positive. There are always legal factors to consider when providing “benefits” or “gifts” as an employer, but the endless business resources out there helped assure the program was permissible (nothing too complicated at all). And of course, an effective, reasonable budget to sustain the wellness program was very important. Although it requires a decent amount of funding, I am very pleased with the results I have seen in my employees so far and to me a happy, appreciative employee that helps keep the business moving and growing is what matters most.
HL: Do you incorporate safety along with your wellness program? If so, what does this look like?
MS: Along with the wellness program, I encourage and implement a few safety precautions. Since Mountain Sweep is primarily a cleaning company, we do not have one designated workplace. I teach proper body mechanics when bending and lifting, I strive for a zero-stress work environment by encouraging employees to do their best job and not to rush. I also use environmentally and user friendly products and equipment to eliminate exposure to any of the harmful chemicals that can be found in today’s common cleaning products.
HL: What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace wellness program?
MS: My biggest piece of advice would be to simply start somewhere. Feedback from my employees and peers about what kinds of resources would be most effective and utilized gave me a good start. It doesn’t have to be wellness services that are provided either. For example, I also provide little things like organic hand creams (because dry hands happens easily with cleaning frequently), energy fruit chews and snacks, sample products and supplements, etc. I found that when sharing my wellness program idea and initiatives with local sources that they wanted to support the program by donating little items. Often times the smallest of gestures will go the longest of ways, so I highly recommend just starting somewhere to show your employees that you are invested in their health and wellness. Give efforts time to respond and assess initiatives accordingly, you will likely find areas that can improve and where efforts may not be as effective, as well as where they are making the biggest difference.