More and more companies are implementing wellness strategies in the workplace, and this is beneficial for both employees and employers. Companies who make the time and effort to put these programs into place find that the benefits cover many different areas. If you have been considering implementing a wellness program, the following will help guide you.
Benefits of a Workplace Wellness Program
- Reduce injuries- Injuries occur most frequently in unhealthy employees with more risk factors. Different classes can help prevent and reduce many of these injuries. Classes may include back care programs, smoking cessation courses, exercise classes, and stress management talks. Injuries are also reduced when companies have policies that promote healthy behavior.
- Control health care costs- Health insurance and health-related costs have become extremely high. In fact, for some companies, medical costs can eat up at least half of the corporate profits. Organizations who have implemented wellness programs have found that their overall health care costs have been reduced.
- Diminish absenteeism- When employees are sick or injured and they take time off, the company loses thousands and sometimes millions of dollars on temporary employment and down time. Wellness programs tend to result in fewer sick days and fewer absences.
- Improve productivity- Employees who feel better and are healthier are more productive on a daily basis, which improves the organization’s bottom line.
- Improve employee retention and morale- Employee turnover costs the company a lot of money, and wellness programs show employees that the company values them as human beings. This increases their morale and keeps them around for longer periods of time.
Implementing a Wellness Program
While a wellness program sounds good on paper, implementing it and keeping employees engaged can be somewhat of a challenge. You need to decide whether the program is mandatory for all employees or if it is voluntary. You may also find that offering incentives is one way to keep employees motivated and excited about the program. The following gives some ideas of how to bring it to fruition and keep employees connected.
- Provide wearable tech- Wearable devices are becoming all the rage, so why not implement them in your organization? Wearable tech is personal, and it offers constant encouragement. They can be linked to different social wellness apps and customized to include company-wide programs.
- Offer incentives- Offering rewards and incentives is the key to keeping employees engaged. Some ideas of incentives include home days or flextime, discounts on health premiums, gift cards to healthy restaurants or yoga studios, and spa days. You can create a new goal or game every month and make the rewards adaptable to each individual.
- Create occasions- Sometimes you need to create events in order to break up routine and get employees on their feet. Create a “fitness day” in which hours are built in the work day for yoga, gym time, running, or walking. National Walking Day is the first Wednesday in April, and employees can be encouraged to take part by walking for a minimum of 30 minutes. You can also hold healthy lunch & learn programs on a monthly basis.
- Measure the program’s effectiveness- Baseline screenings should be done at the beginning of the program, and then certain results can be measured either annually or biannually. Things that can be measured for each participant include injuries, days of absence, healthcare costs, insurance usage, and productivity. Companies that have measured effectiveness have found that, for every dollar they spent on the program, they saved between $1.50 and $3.50.
Getting your employees involved in the process will help your wellness program become a success. Conduct surveys to find out what types of activities or incentives they would like, provide friendly competitions, and designate program leaders to help keep motivation high.
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