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:
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.
- 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
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