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6 low-cost wellness ideas for small businesses

It doesn’t take costly gym memberships and a full-scale wellness committee to create a healthy workplace. Businesses of any size can improve employee health with just a few easy-to-implement ideas and little or no investment.

  1. Make it easier to walk at work.
    Walking is not only good for physical fitness, it also improves mood and relieves stress.1 Encourage employees to take walk breaks, form walking groups during their lunch hour, or hold walking meetings.
  2. Swap donuts for fresh fruit.
    Skip the sugary treats and share healthier alternatives with your employees. Fruit baskets, yogurt cups, and trail mix packs can satisfy that sweet tooth in a healthy way.
  3. Put healthy choices in easy reach.
    Vending machines are usually stocked with sugary sodas and candy bars, which are linked to diabetes and obesity.2 Ask your supplier to include water and nutritious options such as granola bars and popcorn instead.
  4. Make your workplace bike-friendly.
    Biking to work is more than great exercise — it lowers stress, improves blood pressure, and can reduce the risk of heart disease by 50 percent.3 Support employees by installing a small bike rack or reserving an indoor space for bike parking.
  5. Use an online survey to gather employee ideas.
    Have your employees suggest healthy habits they’d like to share with others. Making them part of the process will help you focus your health efforts and encourage greater participation.
  6. Lead by example.
    Employees are more likely to take part in wellness efforts when they see supervisors and managers walking, biking, or making healthy food choices. It helps them feel they’re part of a team, and demonstrates a commitment to encouraging healthy lifestyles.


1 Gretchen Reynolds, “The Benefits of a Lunch Hour Walk,” New York Times, January 21, 2015.
2 Katherine Bishop, Erica Friedman, and Margo Wootan, “Vending Contradictions: Snack and Beverage Options on Public Property,” Center for Science in the Public Interest, October 2014.
3 Jill Harness, “The Benefits of Biking to Work,” LifeHack,