Though employers are not expected to provide wellness programs as they are required to offer healthcare coverage, many organizations are making an effort to promote well-being across their workforce. According to the CDC, more than 75 percent of healthcare spending is due to chronic conditions, many of which are preventable and caused by sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition. With less than 20 percent of private sector jobs requiring regular physical activity, the workplace may be directly impacting employees’ health and organizations’ bottom lines.
The majority of today’s workforce spends at least 40 hours per week in an office setting, with additional hours spent in cars, buses and trains during morning and afternoon commutes. Due to the correlation between workplace settings and poor health, employers are noticing a connection between workplace wellness and their bottom line. Employers facing premium increases may also struggle with workplace efficiency as an unhealthy workforce tends to be less productive and absent more often. In addition to concerns surrounding sedentary workplaces, Forbes reports that 84 percent of US employees experience physical, psychological or behavioral symptoms due to poor mental health, further representing the need for support. It has become clear to employers across all industries that an employee’s health and wellbeing has a dramatic impact on their bottom line.
In response to these growing health-related concerns, employers are beginning to implement new wellness programs and initiatives. Once focused on smoking cessation and weight loss, wellness benefits are growing from one-size-fits-all solutions into highly individualized programs to meet the needs of each employee. This individualized approach to wellness is also allowing employers to respond to other workplace issues including work/life balance, employee engagement and even talent retention. Some programs offer a holistic approach to wellness to promote mental, emotional and financial wellness, ultimately eliminating many of the factors that also impact productivity and retention.
Another trend in employer-offered Wellness Programs, digital solutions, responds to employees’ interest in simple and easily accessible benefits. Capitalizing on mobile wellness programs allows organizations to offer individuals an opportunity to partake in wellness initiatives on their own time, in their own way. This focus on simplicity and freedom allows employees to stay involved and engaged without sacrificing their work/life balance. A digitally-based program also allows employers to minimize spending on workday events or initiatives, often allowing them to offer incentives they otherwise wouldn’t be able to provide.
Taking this easy-to-access, individualized model one step further, some Wellness Programs offer autonomous involvement backed by one-on-one support. This structure allows individuals the freedom to access and utilize the plan as they see fit, while offering peace of mind that someone is always available to offer guidance and support. This support may be provided as health assessments, biometric screenings, educational materials, and even wellness coaching. These comprehensive benefits offer employees guidance and support while connecting them with a roadmap to ongoing health and wellness.
Whether wellness programs are offered as workday events, monthly initiatives, or individualized digital programs, employers across all industries can benefit from offering their employees a clear path to wellness. From decreasing healthcare premiums to promoting a more present, productive workforce, employer-offered Wellness Programs can make a great difference in an organization’s productivity and bottom line.
How do you promote wellness in the workplace?