Tag: health

6 Reasons Why You Should Support Local Business

Why You Should Support Local Business

The Power of the Consumer

Being a consumer puts you in a position of power. Each purchase you make throughout the day is, in effect, a vote for what you deem the best. When voting with your dollar, you are supporting a business, whether good or bad. A conscientious consumer thinks about the social and environmental aspects of any product or service before they choose to use it.?A wise consumer supports businesses that are doing more than just making a profit. This takes a bit more thought than pulling into Walmart or a few clicks on Amazon, but it’s well worth your time. Here are 6 reasons why you should support local business.

Related:? The Power of the Purse

Small and Local Businesses

1 – Better Customer Service

A local business owner is more likely to remember you and the products or services you purchase on a regular basis. This means that you get more personalized service. He or she is also more likely to have direct contact with all employees and a thorough knowledge of all products. Should any problems arise, you won’t have to stay on hold on some 800 number waiting for a faceless name to listen to your concerns.

2 – Increased Employment

Local and small businesses employ over 50% of the private sector workforce. Since the end of the Recession, small businesses are responsible 66% of all net jobs created. Local and small businesses are also more likely to hire locally increasing the employment base in your community. Keeping workers local decreases commutes and the environmental hazards that go with them.

3 – Improved Local Economy

Local businesses recirculate a far greater percentage of revenue locally compared to national chains or franchises. This is referred to as the “multiplier effect.” An average of 48% of the revenue from local businesses is recirculated into the local economy compared to only 14% from national chains.? Put simply, local businesses are more likely to purchase from other local businesses and use other local services. When you shop locally, you are actually investing in your community.

4 – Better, Healthier Products?

A marketplace of small businesses breeds competition. You are more likely to be able to acquire better quality products and services at local businesses. Local businesses have an element of transparency that faceless corporations don’t which holds them accountable to the quality of their products or services. In addition, purchasing from local farmers gives you access to healthier foods without the mass chemical spraying and preservatives required of corporate chains that have to mass produce and transport their produce over a long range.?Buying fresh, local and traceable foods is not only being a responsible consumer, but a healthy one.

5 – Property Value and Quality of Life

Local businesses give your community character. The uniqueness of a variety of local businesses is far superior to the bland monotony of ubiquitous national chains littering a cityscape. Because the businesses in your community make up a large part of its character, they also play a large part in both quality of life and property values. By supporting your community’s unique character rather than giving your money to national chains, you help to preserve its value.

6 – Socially and Environmentally Conscious Businesses

Local businesses are far more likely to be socially and environmentally conscious than big corps, especially when it comes to food. To begin with, local businesses reduce the carbon miles required from transport and may use local information to choose between suppliers. Local clothing stores are far less likely to purchase from mass fast fashion overseas suppliers. Due to consumer demand, small farm-to-table restaurants, regional banks, and small businesses are turning greener every day. In addition, because local businesses are invested in their community, they tend to take responsibility for their actions beyond simply bringing in revenue.

Related:? How This Social Start-Up is Changing the Way We Shop

The Bottom Line

There are always knock-on effects to every product or service that you buy. Those effects begin with where you spend your dollar and what you spend your dollar on. While it may not seem evident on the surface, if you take a peak under the lid, you’ll understand both the direct and indirect impacts that each of your purchases has. Knowing where a product comes from is crucial to shopping sustainably. If there is a local option, choose it. Shop in season and don?t buy fruit that has more flyer miles than you do. Ask local shops where they buy their supplies from when it is not obvious.

When you buy products that are produced locally and sold by local businesses, there is a positive effect on the local economy. By contrast, when you buy food and clothing that is shipped in from thousands of miles away by a national retail chain, more often than not it is produced by workers who are exploited in a factory that has no environmental policy, and sold by a corporation that is not acting in a sustainable manner. This not only has a negative effect on local economies, but also on the world at large. Every purchase counts. Every purchase has an impact, whether we like or not. As the world is simply a collection of individuals, it’s up to each individual to make sure that their dollar 1) does no harm, 2) makes their community, and the world, a better place.

Related:? Six Conscious Companies that Help You Make and Save Money

 

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How To Convince Your Company To Create A Wellness Program

Why Wellness Programs Matter

You are your company’s backbone. As an employee, you drive revenue, solve problems, and make money. You aren’t just a drone who sits in an office cubicle all day. You are a real person with a family and a personal life outside of work.

Sometimes, life happens and you may not be as on top of things at work as you used to be. That doesn?t mean you’ve lost your touch or that you’re no longer valuable. Your company can help you get back on track.

About 70% of companies offer Employee Assistance and Employee Wellness programs. Employee Assistance Programs help employees get back on track after their job performance drops, while Employee Wellness Programs prevent performance drops. But these perks aren’t just great for employees. Companies who invest in these programs also benefit from:

  • Reduced long term insurance costs
  • Decreased absenteeism
  • Increased employee retention

Companies like Johnson & Johnson, Google, and IBM not only take these kinds of programs seriously, they also see significant returns on their investments from these programs.

Benefits To The Company

If you’re looking to convince your company to implement a wellness program, make it about them. Outline the benefits to the company.

Lower Costs

Over 10 years, Johnson & Johnson saved about $250 million from reduced healthcare spending and reduced employee absenteeism.

Johnson & Johnson has a comprehensive employee wellness program that focuses on physical health. They?ve implemented programs that have helped employees quit smoking and others that connect their employees to mental health professionals. Their health profile program also scores employees on key health metrics and offers guidance to improve physical health. Not only did employees improve their health, Johnson & Johnson also got $2.57 back for every dollar they spent on these wellness programs. Over 10 years, Johnson & Johnson saved about $250 million from reduced healthcare spending alone. The more comprehensive your company’s insurance plan is, the more they could potentially save from taking an active role in improving their employees’ health.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

“At Virgin Pulse, we have shown positive impact on business and talent concerns like absence, safety, performance and productivity, turnover, and even customer quality and customer satisfaction.” – Virgin Pulse

Richard Branson has famously said that employees come first and customers come second. He understands the importance of investing in employee wellness. Virgin America includes standard benefits like health insurance, retirement planning, and flexible working hours. Sure, these are great, but they also help with student loans, flexible working hours, and wellness programs for employees and their families. That’s going above and beyond for employees, but what does that have to do with customers?

In survey of over 1,000 HR professionals, over 50% of companies who invested in employee engagement programs increased customer satisfaction. Read that again. Companies who made their employees happy also made their customers happy. Happy employees are willing to go above and beyond for the customers that they serve. If your company wants its customers to fall in love with them (and they do), convince them to invest in you.

Increased Employee Loyalty

About 40% of generation X and Y employees cite strong benefits as “extremely important” in creating loyalty to an employer.

IBM is known for its presence in hardware and technology, but what isn’t common knowledge is the robustness of its employee assistance program. IBM?s Employee Assistance Program includes counseling for not only its employees, but also for its employees? family members. It?s work-life balance program, Lifeworks, gives employees counseling about how to manage time, organize their lives to achieve their optimal work-life balances, and even help families with the adoption process. Their website outlines its “competitive benefits program” and encourages potential new-hires to explore IBM’s benefits.

But what does IBM get out of giving its employees so much? Loyalty. The most loyal employees tend to be the ones with strong benefits packages. About 40% of Generation X and Y employees cite strong benefits as “extremely important” in creating loyalty to an employer. Training new employees is expensive, and your company would love to keep you as long as they can.

Before You Make Your Case

To summarize, small changes in a company can make you feel more motivated and engaged at work. In return, employers will benefit from:

  • Saving money
  • Delighting customers
  • Retaining talent

Your company wants all of these perks. Think of the benefits that are most important to you, then make your case. What changes would help you thrive in your job? Things like flexible work hours aren’t super expensive strategies for many companies to offer. If you want more perks, remind them that investing in employee health isn?t just for massive tech companies. It?s good business.

Before you ask, make sure you’re proving yourself to your firm.? This will give you more leverage when you make the request.

What does your employer do to take care of its employees? What kind of wellness and assistance programs do your company have?


Photo by Climate KIC

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