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State Program Can Help Michigan Small Businesses Improve Workplace Wellness

For small businesses without a large wellness budget, a program available through the state of Michigan might help in creating healthier work environments for employees.

The Designing Healthy Environments at Work (DHEW) program is a free resource available to any employer in the state. A comprehensive website offers tools and resources to improve employers’ wellness infrastructure allowing them to support their employees’ goals regarding overall health, physical activity, healthy eating and quitting tobacco.

“This tool is a really great way to get your workplace wellness off the ground,” said Ashley Beversdorf, Public Health Consultant with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which operates the DHEW program.

With the average person spending 35 percent of their life at work, Beversdorf said investing in the well-being of staff is a must for employers. Workplace wellness programs have been shown to:

  • Improve retention.
  • Help attract top talent.
  • Improve engagement and productivity.
  • Improve the health and well-being of employees.
  • Create a culture of wellness.

As a small non-profit with seven full-time employees, the Michigan Center for Rural Health had limited resources to implement a wellness program, said Sara Wright, a Rural Health Improvement Coordinator at the center.

Wright said utilizing the DHEW website helped staff come up with ideas to make their culture healthier. The organization now encourages walking meetings and offers flex time to accommodate for employees who want to take an early-morning run or a late-afternoon fitness class. Incentives such as fitness wear Fridays and monthly healthy potlucks keep co-workers accountable for their health goals and to each other.

Wright said another benefit of incorporating wellness into the workday is the bonding that happened when staff embarked on their health goals together.

To get started, employers simply have to go to the DHEW website, register their worksite and take an assessment which will essentially unlock a feedback report with suggestions for improvement. An action planning tool helps businesses choose improvements in workplace culture they’d like to make, as well as to document progress and completion. Other tools help employers survey employees to collect feedback and record and share success stories.

Looking to start a workplace wellness program? If you’re a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan customer, take a look at Blue Cross Wellness Programs and our employer resources page. Find printable information about Blue Cross® Health & Wellness programs you can share with your employees on bcbsm.com/engage.

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