Friday December 11th 2015
As more and more employees have been delegated to sedentary desk jobs, there has been an increase in the risk of metabolic disorders, cardiac problems and other diseases. It is more essential than ever for businesses to implement company wellness programs to promote a healthier lifestyle. Programs can include medical screenings, onsite fitness programs, health education and coaching, weight management programs and much more. In addition to the obvious benefits of wellness programs — better productivity, less absenteeism, boost in morale, etc. — below are four additional ways a wellness program can be an asset to employers and employees:
Though employers have been offering such tangible incentives as cash, gift cards and other items, companies have also been seeking more creative ways to motivate employees to take better care of their health. With health care costs expected to continue rising, employees are enthusiastic about the opportunity of earning a reduction on insurance premiums. Some companies will contribute money to an employee Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or offer insurance premium reductions if an employee participates in a health assessment. Additional discounts can be awarded for test results signifying normal or improving BMI (body mass index), reduction in cholesterol levels, lowered blood pressure or maintaining healthy glucose numbers. Some companies assign points to employees who partake in preventive lifestyle habits such as visiting a physician, participating in a smoking cessation program, wearing a seatbelt, getting a flu shot, or signing up for a gym membership or other exercise-oriented activities.
Health care professionals can only do so much to encourage their patients to commit to a healthy lifestyle. Once a doctor’s appointment is concluded, an employee may ignore recommendations for ongoing lifestyle or behavioral changes. Since it is harder to tune out one’s employer, companies have an enormous advantage and opportunity to make a significant impact on health and wellness. A variety of company communication channels, including company emails, memos, meetings and offsite events, are available to convey health information and create a health-minded company culture.
Wellness programs have become a major factor in work-life balance. For job seekers who contemplate working for a particular organization, the presence of an in-office gym, softball team, biking and walking programs or yoga classes may influence that decision. By offering a range of outlets for improving health, these activities provide the opportunity for employees to connect with each other and their employer.
Support from co-workers can be very encouraging if a colleague needs a reassuring push in the right direction. By participating in a wellness program employees can also be motivated by seeing one another’s positive results. Organized competitions help establish a healthy company culture which is essential to the success of any company wellness program.
Employees tend to be happier and more productive when companies prioritize work-life balance. Since economic and behavioral issues may come into play when providing a company wellness program, companies should establish a practical, long-range strategy that combines good leadership with effective execution.
Does your company utilize an employee wellness program? Share your successful stories.
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