Yoga at Work

What you need to know about employee wellness programs

Does your company have fitness goals? Well, it’s 2017, and if they don’t, they are behind the 8-ball! More and more companies are incorporating employee wellness programs into their key priorities. What’s the motivation? Healthy and happy employees mean more productive employees. More productive employees mean greater revenue. Not to mention, many insurance providers provide a break to companies if they meet their metrics on employee enrollment and participation in these types of programs. As you start 2017, now is a great time to capitalize on ways to stay focused on fit at work!

What is an employee wellness program?

As I travel out for my first big meeting of the year, I noticed a new aspect of my cattle-calling national sales meeting. Within the meeting app, there is section to earn points for participation in the meeting. As predicted, if you update your profile and contact info, you can earn points. Meet with your teammates, you can earn points. Participate in the meeting workshop and answer questions correctly, you can earn points. What was new? Take 10,000 steps a day at the meeting, you can earn points. Choose to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch, you can earn points. Wow, my company has come a long way. Over the years, I have had to fight to ensure that our meeting menu included healthy options, and that our meeting agenda included fitness breaks, and now the company is responding. Pretty incredible.

My company implemented a formal employee wellness program years ago, focusing on the physical, mental, social, financial and career well-being of all it’s employees. It is incredibly inclusive for the over 40,000 employees in our organization, depending on what is important to a specific employee. In fact in larger companies, 92% of them have now adopted some type of employee wellness program. It is estimated that approximately 55 million Americans have access to these types of programs. The benefits don’t exist merely for the employee, but for the employer as well, and the trend is only gaining momentum. Why?? Let’s find out…

Employee wellness programs – benefits to the employee

  • Direct health benefits –┬áDepending on the focus of your employee wellness program (and your personal interest or focus), employees can reap many direct health benefits from this type of program. Weight loss, healthier eating, and stress management are usual results, if employees can adhere to these programs.
  • Access to more and potentially free resources – One of the most basic offerings from many employers are access to fitness centers, either at a discount or even FREE membership. This can be a HUGE benefit for employees and their families – upwards of $1200 benefit annually. Employers also usually provide FREE biometric screening annually, which can be a literal life saver to many employees. Additionally, many companies now provide pedometers to encourage a more active lifestyle. Another example, a health coach that offers one-on-one counseling over the phone to help me meet my goals. This becomes especially important to the employee if their goal is stop smoking or manage their stress.
  • Education – A byproduct of all this focus is clearly education. If an employee wants to play along, they will be exposed to the latest recommendations on exercise, nutrition, and even health guidelines. And that education rolls downhill, hopefully touching other members of the employees’ family. We all know that education is the key to growth and change, and some employers are really picking up on that trend!
  • Incentives – Given the value to the company, many employers actually incentivize employees to participate, anywhere from $100 to $500 annually. This can come in the form of cash, cash equivalents or even discounts on health insurance premiums. As an employe, it would be foolish to leave this money on the table.

Employee wellness programs – benefits to the company

  • Decreased costs – On average, based on data reported in 2010, 44% of companies reported a reduction in health care costs based on their implementation of an employee wellness program.┬áThis number jumped up with larger firms, as 69% of larger companies (>200 workers) believed that these programs reduced their health care costs.
  • Decreased absenteeism – When measuring ROI, companies often evaluate productivity through numbers of days lost to illness. All studies demonstrated an improvement in absenteeism, which was measured as a 0.1% risk re
  • Increased employee engagement – According to the AFLAC Workplace Report, employees who participated in an employee wellness program were happier at work than those that did not participate. And happier employees mean higher employee engagement.

It’s January, and most companies are kicking off their employee wellness programs for the year this month. Now is the time to reach out to HR, learn more about it, and get involved. Depending on your goals, your company may be offering more than you know. So set your goals for 2017 and maximize your opportunities. Register with us and we can help you get there!.


Health Fitness Revolution

Harvard Business Review



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