Wellness programs continue to gain traction in the workplace.
According to a recent study, 64 percent of employers indicated wellness
initiatives are among the top three most effective tactics in controlling costs1. After leaving the office, it is important for employees to continue to
practice the healthy habits.
As early as 2005, between 80 percent and 90 percent of all wellness program
participants reported an increase in levels of exercise, improved diet
and nutrition and better management of everything from their blood pressure
and cholesterol levels to stress levels2. To ensure companies achieve these maximum results, several options businesses
have decided to invest in include gym memberships, smoking cessation programs
One of the most obvious investments for employees outside of work is providing
an on-site gym for workers or a reduced rate or reimbursement for a gym
membership. In fact, 35 percent of public and private firms offer a reduced
rate or monetary incentive for employee gym memberships3. While incentivizing employees to take the stairs as opposed to the elevator
may work in the short-term, allowing and encouraging employees to take
charge of their own health has a greater long-term benefit. Exercising,
besides the obvious health advantages, can also improve mood, boost energy
and prevent injuries – all positive changes for the work environment.
Coupled with better nutrition both during the workday and at home are
great steps to make the most effective changes in corporate wellness.
Another positive change to improve employee health is implementing a smoking
cessation program for your business. It is proven that smoking increases
the risk for cancer, heart disease and emphysema. Quitting reduces these
health risks for individuals, as well as the risk of affecting others
with secondhand smoke. Additionally, smoking cessation potentially has
significant cost savings from the business perspective.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, businesses
pay at least $96 billion in direct medical cost connected to smoking-related
illnesses. In addition, the CDC estimates another $96.8 billion is lost
by businesses in lost productivity as a result of sickness and premature death4. There are multiple methods to implement a smoking cessation program in
the workplace and a chosen program should be catered to the business’
employees based on evaluation by representatives from all levels of management.
Research also shows that employer-provided counseling, whether related
to tobacco-free policies5, nutritional advice or general guidance, results in employees who were
more likely to accomplish their goals. Providing counseling builds relationships
that empower individuals to accomplish mental health, wellness and career
goals, potentially leading to a more productive and inspired workforce.
As we have learned, wellness programs provide between a 3:1 and 5:1 return
on investment on average6. Providing additional resources for employees, such as those mentioned
above, can push business returns to the higher end of the scale. A simple
incentive, such as a rebate for a gym membership, can improve time management
by 72 percent, increase concentration by 27 percent and swell motivation
to work by 41 percent7 – all results that are well worth the investment for a company’s
Written by Leeann Garms