Workplace Wellness Programs
Increasing evidence supports the need for workplace wellness programs and more companies than ever are implementing health and wellness strategies to reduce injuries, health care costs and long-term disability.
With additional benefits such as reduced absenteeism, higher productivity, reduced use of health care benefits and increased morale and loyalty, its not surprising more and more employers are choosing to implement workplace wellness programs within their companies.
Preventable illness makes up approximately 80% of the burden of illnesses and 90% of all health care costs. Employers are beginning to realize they can take advantage of this statistic and work to provide services to decrease the occurrence of those preventable diseases.
Despite the United States spending more on health care than any other industrialized nation in the world, it remains the unhealthiest. With increased research and data on workplace wellness programs, it is becoming apparent there are very real benefits to implementing workplace wellness programs.
Did you know employee wellness is considered a potential high return on investment for employers due to rising health care costs? In fact, research now suggests employers get an average of $3.48 back in reduced health care costs and $5.82 in lower absenteeism cost for every dollar spent on employee wellness. Employers who live more healthy lifestyles have reduced sick leave, improved work performance, decrease health insurance costs, increased productivity and reduced overall costs.
There are many real benefits to workplace wellness programs. There is increasing evidence to support implementation of programs in all types of companies and businesses, big or small. The Wellness Proposals website is designed to provide you with different types of information on workplace wellness programs…from statistics to benefits, even resource toolkits to help get you started on your own program! If you are a small employer who already has a workplace wellness program in place, then I’m sure you’ll find many useful items to enhance your existing workplace wellness program!
Workplace Wellness Programs: The Benefits
Escalating health care costs continue to remain an issue of great concern for many health professionals, employers and insurance companies. While the United States spends more on health care than any other industrialized nation in the world, its citizens are not the healthiest, in many respects.
Employees with more risk factors, including being overweight, smoking and having diabetes not only cost more to insure, they also pay more for health care than individuals with less risk factors. To take a stand against this startling fact, many employers are now offering some type of workplace wellness program to offset the rising costs of health care.
Aside from helping improve the health of already at-risk employees, workplace wellness programs also have a huge impact on healthy individuals, raising awareness so employees with fewer risk factors remain in a lower cost group.
People spend more awake hours at work than anywhere else, on average 50 hours a week, so it’s up to employers to take aggressive action towards implementing workplace wellness programs. Corporate wellness programs play a key role in maintaining and improving employee relations and morale. Bottom line, a healthy, motivated workforce is vitally important to a company as a whole.
Workplace wellness program can do the following:
- Reduce absenteeism: It has been shown healthier employees spend fewer days away from work due to illness, saving the company thousands, even millions, of dollars on down time and temporary employment. Additionally, because good health typically carries over into better family choices, your employees could possibly miss less work caring for sick family members.
- Control Increasing Health Care Costs: Today, employers have a vested interest in health-related issues and reducing unnecessary medical costs that consume corporate profits and employee paychecks. For many companies, medical costs can consume half of corporate profits…or more!
- Improve Productivity: While it is not as easily measured as the increase in health care costs, improved employee morale and productivity plays a big role in the success of a company or business.
- Improve Presenteeism: Presenteeism is a new phenomenon occurring when employees are at work but do not feel as productive as usual due to stress, depression, injury or illness.
- Reduce Injuries: Healthy employees with less risk factors are at a lower risk for injury than those unhealthy employees with more risk factors. Classes are a popular means of trying to prevent injury, including exercise classes, smoking cessation courses, back care programs and stress management lectures. More examples of workplace wellness programs / courses include health education classes, subsidized use of fitness facilities; internal policies that promote healthy behavior and any other activity, policy or environmental change that affect the health of an employee.
- Improve Employee Morale and Retention: Employee turnover is expensive and an employee wellness program is an added benefit to encourage employee retention. Company sponsored workplace wellness programs send a clear message to employees that management values their well-being.
Workplace Wellness Programs: WELCOA’s 10 Steps
- Capturing CEO support for the workplace wellness program
- Designating a Workplace Wellness Program Leader
- Conducting an employee interest survey
- Providing an opportunity for health screening
- Administering an annual physical activity campaign
- Holding a healthy eating in-service/lunch & learn program
- Establishing an in-house workplace wellness program library
- Disseminating a monthly wellness program newsletter
- Implementing healthy policies and procedures
- Supporting community health efforts
Related Articles and Information: Workplace Wellness Programs