Vegerasta: A wellbeing startup proving health and wellbeing isn?t just for the big corporates
Dominica Alicia Roszko experienced the damage illness can do to a business first-hand. Since then, her health and wellbeing startup has flourished ? here?s her story. Everyone wants their employees to be happy and healthy, but when you?re running a small business on a shoestring budget, it?s not surprising if it?s not your top priority. However, looking out for your employees? health can pay dividends in the future ? a happier, healthier employee is more likely to be productive and waste less time taking sick days. This means, in the mid to long-term, a healthier bottom line for your business. This is something Vegerasta founder Dominica Alicia Roszko can attest to from personal experience. In a previous life, Roszko ran a marketing company, but when her health started failing due to stress and the onset of eczema, the business took a turn for the worse. ?I turned into a comfort eater and started putting on weight. I just wanted to hide at home and felt depressed. I ran a marketing company back then, where bringing clients in depended on me, but I started cancelling meetings and workshops that I was supposed to be running,? she explained. ?It started affecting the cash flow very badly, which then put me under even more stress.? Roszko decided she didn?t want to accept this ? so began eating healthier and juicing, after which her wellbeing began to improve. Building on that, Roszko started blogging, studied up and became a certified international health coach and personal trainer/nutritional therapist. Roszko began her new business as an integrative nutrition health coach and medicinal chef to support people in their efforts to live happier and healthier lifestyles. It is a small team ? Roszko runs the business, Vegerasta, from Norfolk with her husband, and also has a personal assistant. With her unique positioning as a small business owner specialising in health and wellbeing for fellow micro firms, she is evidence that it?s not just a large corporate concern. Should you invest in health and wellbeing? Roszko has found that her clients are often under constant stress, and believes that lack of exercise is one of the biggest problems she sees. ?There are many benefits to investing in your employees? health. It is a great motivator for them, improves morale and feeling of importance. In the long run, the employers can also decrease the number of sick days and improve their employees? satisfaction and productivity. ?My assistant says she has learned a lot since we started working together and it helped her to look differently at her diet and lifestyle and make different, more informed choices.? A great start, Roszko believes, comes from sharing knowledge with employees on how to check ingredients and what to eat. However, she does accept that businesses are bound by what they can afford ? if money was no object, she?d have a gym membership and health insurance package in place. ?Small businesses often have less funds available, so if the worst happens and an employee ends up on statutory sick pay for a number of months, the business owners don?t have enough money to take on someone new,? she said. ?As a result, company owners often end up doing that work themselves ? and that puts them under additional stress and just adds to their long to-do-list. Of course, accidents do happen, but prevention is really important.? Stress prevention Roszko prefers to start her days with meditation, which she believes clears her mind and makes her more focused for the day ahead. What suits your company culture best is down to you to decide ? but don?t make the mistake of thinking you are priced out of making changes for the better to your workplace. There are plenty of budget friendly options, from yoga and flexible working, to healthy eating posters and standing desks. Business healthcare cover could also cost less than you might think, with the ability to tailor it to suit the needs of your business and budget. Don?t just leave it to the big corporates. For more information to help support the health and wellbeing of your employees please click here.
Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Business Advice. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.