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Road to Worksite Wellness for Businesses

Deciding how to implement a wellness program at your business can be overwhelming. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with other organizations have researched successful programs to find common elements that they share.

Do you have a business, but you don’t have the time or resources to develop a comprehensive wellness program? No need to worry. Click here to learn about low-or no-cost strategies that can help create a culture of wellness at your worksite!

For organizations with access to resources, the following steps have been adapted from the CDC Workplace Health Model, Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) Well Workplace model, and Live Healthy PA. All 6 steps are vital components for building a comprehensive, results-oriented wellness program.

Step 1: Commitment from Leadership

Company leaders must choose to make the health of their employees a priority. Successful worksite wellness programs have integrated wellness initiatives into organizational practices. Leadership must:

  • Allocate resources (staff time, funds) for wellness initiatives.
  • Connect wellness objectives to business outcomes.
  • Enact and communicate company policies and procedures to support worksite initiatives.
  • Champion wellness initiatives and provide a positive example for staff.

Read about organizations that successfully implemented worksite wellness initiatives with leadership support: The Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs.

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Step 2: Create a Wellness Committee

Although company leaders are key to a successful worksite wellness program and essential to championing the cause, they may not be able to devote the time and attention needed for its success. Creating a dedicated wellness team that includes leaders, managers, and staff from different program areas is a key strategy to creating a relevant program for your company. A wellness team can oversee the planning, implementation and evaluation of the wellness program. Creating a wellness team versus appointing full responsibility to one staff member ensures sustainability of the program by not depending on the knowledge and presence of one individual.

Read more about developing a wellness team:

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Step 3: Assess the Current Situation

A successful worksite wellness program must be created to fit the individual needs of your company. Collecting information about your organization is an important step to planning and implementing a wellness program that meets the needs and interest of the employees. This information can be collected through a comprehensive worksite wellness assessment. A comprehensive assessment will capture many factors that influence employee health, including: individual employee health risks and concerns, physical working conditions and social support, as well as current organizational level health promotion policies and practices.

The assessment can be conducted in various ways, but must include an evaluation of:

  1. current company programs, practices and initiatives,
  2. employee health risk and interest, and
  3. the work environment.

The following tools can be used to conduct an assessment in each category:

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Step 4: Plan the Program

It is important to develop a measurable and detailed description of the wellness program, policies, benefits, and/or environmental supports. The plan should include a vision statement, measurable goals and objectives, an implementation timeline, an itemized budget, strategies for reporting progress to company leaders and workers, and an evaluation design. The plan should also prioritize feasible strategies from the assessment findings and have sufficient resources to execute the goals and strategies. The plan will serve as the roadmap that will guide an employer’s investment in worksite wellness initiatives in the present and future.

A successful worksite program does not have to encompass all potential worksite wellness strategies. A truly successful program is one whose components are carefully selected, implemented efficiently, and is suited to the employee population (CDC 2016). The CDC Worksite Health ScoreCard action planning tool assists worksites with planning a worksite wellness program that fits their budget. There are several low-cost effective interventions that are accessible to small and medium sized employers with limited resources to dedicate to worksite wellness initiatives.

For more information on planning a worksite wellness program, visit:

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Step 5: Implementation

Quitting smoking, exercising, and losing weight are all ways to improve health. However, the environments where people live, work, and play are also important in enabling them to make these healthy choices. Changes in the work environment can increase an employee’s ability to make positive changes in their health behaviors.

A successful worksite wellness program includes a combination of individual and organizational level strategies and interventions to influence health. The implementation of worksite interventions can fall into four major categories:

  • Health-related Programs – provide opportunities to employees at the workplace or through outside agencies to initiate, modify or maintain health behaviors.

    Examples include:
  • Health-related Policies – are formal or informal written statements designed to encourage healthy behaviors in the workplace.

    Examples include:
  • Health Benefits – programs or compensation package that includes health insurance coverage or other services or incentives.

    Examples include:
    • Coverage for preventive services and screenings
    • Coverage for tobacco cessation
    • Discount gym memberships
    • Incentives for participation in health promotion programs or achieving individual or group health goals
  • Environmental Supports – programs that positively impact physical factors at and nearby the workplace in order to facilitate healthy decisions within the work environment.

    Examples include:
    • On-site fitness facilities
    • Bike racks
    • Walking/running trails or routes
    • Open space for exercise or relaxation
    • Bulletin boards, or other communications mechanisms that provide information on the company workplace health program or general health promotion information
    • Good lighting and well-designed work spaces

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Step 6: Evaluating Impact

Worksites should examine and report on the strengths and weaknesses of the programs, policies, benefits, or environmental supports implemented as part of the employee wellness initiative. Knowing how well projects have done is important for improving future projects, as well as maintaining and increasing support for the initiative by company leaders and the workforce.

Evaluation can focus on the implementation activities or the outcomes achieved. A comprehensive evaluation includes paying attention to what a program was supposed to do, how many people participated in project activities, how many of them changed their behavior, and how many kept the new behavior over time. You should also look for non-project events in your company or community that may have influenced the project’s success.

An evaluation does not have to be time-consuming or expensive. The evaluation should focus on questions that will be useful to those who will use the findings to support quality improvement of the initiatives.

For more information on program evaluation, visit:

Click here to download the "Road to Worksite Wellness" flyer >

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Road to Worksite Wellness for Businesses with Limited Resources


20 Low Cost Ideas & Strategies

Work Well Alaska understands that many worksites do not have the resources to develop a comprehensive wellness program. 

The following ideas have been found to help employees improve or maintain health and can be implemented at worksites with limited resources:

  1. Convert stairwells to walking areas or develop a workplace walking program
  2. Hold walking meetings
  3. Encourage employees to do desk stretches or desk exercises
  4. Identify places within the worksite or around the building for physical activities
  5. Participate in local community walks (i.e. March of Dimes.)
  6. Send out emails or newsletters with health information
  7. Ask your vending machine company to add healthy foods
  8. Create a healthy meeting policy
  9. Provide covered bicycle racks or fenced-in area for bicyclists
  10. Participate in a Bike to Work Day
  11. Repair and maintain sidewalks and paths around the worksite
  12. Encourage employees to take stress relief breaks
  13. Conduct a “Wash Your Hands” campaign
  14. Encourage physical activity breaks during long meetings and conferences
  15. Promote a smoke-free worksite
  16. Provide a bulletin board for health information exchange
  17. Start a running club, biking club, or line dancing club
  18. Hold lunchtime exercises or weight management classes
  19. Announce and publicize a monthly health theme or National Health Observance
  20. Negotiate corporate discounts for health club memberships

For more low cost employee wellness program ideas, visit:

Click here to download a pdf of the "Road to Worksite Wellness for Businesses with Limited Resources" Flyer >


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For help or more information, email hss.workwellak@alaska.gov.


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