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Wellness Programs: What's the Point?

It's not uncommon to see the typical worksite offer a worksite wellness program. These initiatives can look vastly different from worksite to worksite, but the goals are ordinarily the same - that being to promote health.

Some employers will make available a few services that encourage health. Some workplaces have a gym on-site to use throughout the work week, while other businesses will go so far as to not only have a gym but also offer showers. The goal with worksite health promotion is to not only make it possible for workers to be healthier, but give them every benefit of being healthy up front.

Wellness and health fairs are becoming  more well-liked as well. Wellness fairs are a somewhat formal Corporate Wellness Program, where the community typically plays a role in the program in addition to the company holding the wellness fair.

Some health and wellness ideas may be as easy as handing out health and wellness tool kits with advised nutrition charts on them. Other practical health and wellness ideas may  be ways the employees could burn several calories at the workplace . Listing the mileage of walking the diameter of the workplace building might encourage employees to exercise while on break in lieu of catching up on phone calls.

Health and wellness ideas don't have to be limited to nutrition and exercise; they may cover stress relief techniques as well. Some companies provide a pilates class once a week or an employee sponsored activity or discussion group. These are all ways to promote health and wellness in the worksite .

A lot of corporate health promotion programs could  be more complex and involve a personalized plan for every staff member , but some employers might not be able to cover the costs of such programs. There are a multitude of health and wellness ideas and resources available web-based as well.

A employee health promotion initiative doesn't have to be costly or limited. It can combine cost effectiveness with a broad range of services. Making available a healthy and balanced workplace is the ultimate objective for every staff member .
09/01/2009 0 Comments | Add Comment
What is an Employee Wellness Program?
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What is an Employee Wellness Program?

A Workplace Wellness Program is an organized program to support and assist staff members in establishing healthier lifestyles.  This can include increasing employee awareness on health topics, providing behavior change initiatives, and/or establishing corporate policies that support health-related goals and objectives.  Programs and policies that promote increased physical activity, tobacco use prevention and cessation, and healthy food selections are a few examples.   

The Dimensions of Wellness

Wellness means more than just being physical fit.  The Dimensions of Wellness may include:
  • Spiritual Dimension of Wellness,
  • Emotional Dimension of Wellness,
  • Social Dimension of Wellness
  • Intellectualual Dimension of Wellness and
  • Physical Dimension of Wellness.

The dimensions of wellness are generally shown as a "wellness wheel" with examples of wellness components that include physical fitness, nutrition life purpose, financial planning, social connections & support systems, mind-body health, stress management continued learning and career planning.   The key to personal wellness is maintaining a balanced “wellness wheel”.  A comprehensive Wellness Program addresses most, if not all, of these dimensions of wellness.

Why Offer an Employee Wellness Program?

Workers spend a great deal of time working, and research show that our traditional work-week is expanding.  In fact, the typical American now works about 47 hours per week.  Plus, technologies such as laptops, cell phones, email and voice have blurred the boundary between work-life and home-life.  These realities lower the amount of time that the average individual is able to devote to healthy activities, and yet staff members are expected to be at peak performance when working.

A study by the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses found that Workplace Health Promotion Programs are successful in helping staff members make positive health changes due to several factors such as convenience, environmental support, and social or co-worker acceptance.   

What is the Connection between Wellness and the Workplace?

Workplace Health Promotion Programs and Policies that promote healthy behaviors can make a significant impact on employee wellness AND have an impact on the company’s bottom line.  Research indicates that for every dollar invested by companies in Workplace Health Promotion Programs, there were savings ranging from $1.49 to $4.91 with the average wellness program ROI being $3.14*. 

In businesses terms, that's more than a 3:1 minimum wellness ROI - a number that is difficult to ignore, and a best practice that should garner serious consideration from companies.  In fact, an Employee Wellness Program literature review posted in Health Promotion Practitioner Journal found:
  • 19 studies found a 28.3% reduction in sick leave
  • 16 studies demonstrated a 5.6:1 return on investment
  • 23 showed a 26.1% reduction in healthcare costs
  • 4 showed a 30% reduction in direct healthcare and workers’ compensation claims
There is little doubt that an Employee Wellness Program targeted to meet a company’s specific needs can save money by decreasing absenteeism, decreasing medical costs, decreasing employee turnover, and increasing productivity.

Sources:
02/22/2009 1 Comments | Add Comment
 
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wellness
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Tags:
wellness, health promotion, wellness program, wellness programs, employee wellness, corporate wellness
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Wellness and health promotion programs are discussed on this blog.
 
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