Unmanaged stress. COVID. Burnout. Chronic illness.
Those are probably just a few of the health struggles your employees have dealt with over the last couple of years. If you have an employee wellness program, then you likely have helped many of your employees through some of those challenges.
And if you don’t have an active corporate wellness program, now is a chance to revisit the biggest perks of marketing well-being programs to your workers. Too many employees get by feeling “okay” when their active participation in a wellness program could elevate their energy, productivity, health, and so much more.
A well-developed, targeted corporate wellness program could be a game-changer for many in your workplace. In fact, research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that nearly 200,000 wellness participants improved five of seven health risks after one year of participation in a corporate wellness program.
Wondering if your wellness program is worth keeping or expanding? Below, we give you five of the very best benefits to employee wellness programs.
Fantastic Benefits to Employee Wellness Programs
No matter the size of your company, your team can benefit from an employee wellness program. Everyone needs to keep an eye on their health, and since your team spends most of the day together anyway, it only makes sense to develop a strong culture around wellness.
Here are five reasons to improve your program or start an employee wellness program:
1. Health Risks — and Longevity — Improve Greatly
A recent study published by JAMA Internal Medicine revealed researchers found just 10 minutes of daily exercise could save the lives of around 100,000 people aged 40 to 85 annually. Given that heart disease — an often preventable condition — is still the number one cause of death in the U.S., employers who invest in ways to help employees reach their recommended 150 minutes of physical activity weekly are doing their workforce a favor. In fact, one particular study of nearly 200,000 wellness participants showed that five of seven health risks improved after one year. Most notably, participation in multiple wellness activities like biometric screenings also increased the odds that risks would be reduced.
2. Reduced Employer Healthcare Costs
One of the best benefits to employee wellness programs is reduced medical costs. When your employees are healthier, they can make fewer trips to the doc, which in turn lowers your healthcare premiums. When the Los Alamos National Laboratory started using wellness programs, its annual healthcare premium reduced to 2.5% compared to the national 7% average.
3. Built-In Daily Motivation and Accountability
Setting goals is a lot more fun when there are people cheering you on. This is especially true in the wellness and fitness world. Just think of the biggest running marathons; there are always “cheerleaders” on the sidelines and it encourages the runners to keep going even when they’re exhausted. With a wellness program at work, coworkers can help each other set goals for everything from exercise to diet and even overall well-being.
4. Improved Productivity
When workers feel well, they can do more. One survey from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) found that more than 90 percent of business leaders believe wellness promotion does impact employees’ productivity. Another set of data from the Workplace Wellness 2017 Survey Report found that of employers offering wellness support, more than half experienced financial stability and growth in their companies. Additionally, 66 percent reported an uptick in productivity.
5. Reduced Absenteeism
When workers are well, they can stay on the job and do their best work. If they’re feeling sluggish, stressed, and otherwise unwell, it’s not likely they’ll feel good enough to show up for work. In January 2022 alone, 7.8 million workers missed work due to an illness, injury, medical problem, or appointment. That number is up from 3.7 million in January 2021, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Keep workers healthy by offering wellness programs such as biometric screenings, flu shot clinics, COVID shots, and ongoing wellness campaigns that focus on every aspect of well-being.
When it comes to a successful workplace wellness program, the one that’s the best fit is the one that is molded to fit your workers’ needs. Wellness programs that experience high levels of engagement and also greatly improve employees’ healthy behaviors can be counted as major successes. Seeing improved attitudes and high morale, too? Even better. That means what you’re doing for your corporate wellness program is working.
A Few Tips for a Successful Corporate Wellness Program
There’s really no wrong way to create a corporate wellness program. As long as the focus stays on the employees and their main health concerns and needs, you can keep your health campaigns on track.
Talking with your employees on a regular basis about their well-being concerns makes it easier to plan and implement useful, effective programs. Your program can and should be customized to your company and the needs of your workforce.
Some tips for success as you continue or start a wellness program:
- Don’t forget your remote workers - The new way of working includes plenty of remote and contracted workers. Make sure you include them in your wellness campaigns and programs. They aren’t immune to stress and mental health issues just because they’re not physically in the workplace!
- Be adaptable - Employee wellness programs are not a “one and done” experience or a “set it and forget it” type of experience. Staying healthy is an ongoing process that takes time and dedication. Be willing to adapt your programs as the needs of your workforce changes.
- Inclusivity matters - In your planning of wellness programming, keep in mind the diverse workforce you have. If you’re not sure what they want or need, this is when a focus group and anonymous surveys can be particularly helpful. Customizable programs work best as participants can adjust goals based on what they need.
Related: 2 Experts Weigh in On Inclusive Wellness in Diverse Workplaces
As you revisit or kickstart your company’s wellness program needs, think about a company-wide marketing plan to keep employees in the loop. This should include several communication methods to keep employees aware and updated about how to best use wellness resources. Doing so will ensure that nobody is missing out on the great wellness experiences your company has to offer!
What do you see as the biggest benefit to employee wellness programs? Share your thoughts in the comments below!