Wellbeing Blog

October 13, 2016

How to Spend your Wellness Funds in a Hurry

Time flies when you’re having fun!  It is not uncommon for employers to come to the end of a plan year and realize they suddenly need to spend carrier wellness funds before they expire. Before you waste money on things that won’t help improve your population’s health status or boost morale, take a breather and consider the following. Identify what you want to accomplish with your purchase. Is your goal to produce a “feel good” effect, increase onsite wellbeing resources, or motivate employees to improve their own personal health? The most important thing is to consider what would resonate with your population. Here are a few ways to spend wellness funds before they run out.

Wellness Week

There are few things that reinforce organizational commitment to wellbeing more than a company sponsored wellness week. Allowing employees to partake in a week (or even one day) full of activities promoting wellbeing is an easy way to spend your funds. An onsite chair massage, healthy catered lunch, fresh fruit delivery, cooking demonstration, onsite fitness classes, onsite farmer’s market, motivational presentation or an outdoor field day are just a few ideas you could incorporate into a wellness week. Consider combining this with an employee appreciation week and follow it up with having managers recognize their staff personally for their efforts through public recognition or a kind note of praise. This can have a lasting impact and sends a greater message of value to individuals. When planning activities focus on your population’s interests and get creative with including employees in the planning process.

Experiential Perks

Another increasingly popular way to spend wellness funds is to offer experiential gifts that allow for employees to learn and grow together and feel uniquely cared for. Research confirms that spending money on experiences produces a more positive effect than purchasing tangible items. Using your funds to buy a group challenge, sporting event tickets or other team building activities can demonstrate appreciation and improve social and career wellbeing. This could also be done in the form of raffle where experiential gifts are prizes.

Fitness and Nutrition Prizes

Put your funds to work by raffling off items such as a high-quality blender or activity device in exchange for participation in a wellbeing interest survey, volunteer hours or participation in a 5k.  Purchase items to enhance the built environment of your workplace such as free weights and yoga mats for a designated exercise break room, desk pedals or stability balls for desk-bound employees, or a Vitamix for shared kitchen. Purchase healthy treats for everyone prior to the holidays, including a recipe, to show your appreciation and support of your employees.

When you’re faced with a last minute decision, you can still exercise intentional spending to maximize your wellness funds. There are so many ways to promote wellbeing! The first step is identifying what your population would most appreciate given the current cultural environment. Filter your purchasing decisions through a wellbeing lens and attempt to address each of the wellbeing domains: Career, Financial, Social, Physical and Community. For more information on Shifting Gears from Wellness to Wellbeing click here.

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