Corporate wellness programs have been around for years, but it’s been in the last several that they’ve really taken off and become mainstream. With healthcare costs increasingly chipping away at company profits and the health of our nation a continuing concern, organizations are taking notice of their role in employee wellness.
What Is a Corporate Wellness Program?
A wellness program is one that offers an incentive to improve health. These take vastly varying forms from organization to organization. While one company might make next year’s gym membership free to someone who used it a certain number of days this year, another company might offer a reduction in healthcare premiums in exchange for quitting smoking. Some offer fun perks like free yoga classes and massages on-site. The main idea is to encourage a healthy change in behavior by using financial or other types of incentive.
Why Are Wellness Programs On the Rise?
Organizations are increasingly aware that their employees’ well-being affects their bottom line. When employees are sick or absent, productivity declines, affecting the success of the company as a whole. Bottom line aside, it also makes sense from a people standpoint – healthier employees are often happier employees.
Although companies have been historically hesitant to invest in wellness programs due to a lack of strong ties between the programs and organizational improvement, those figures are now available. According to the Institute for HealthCare Consumerism, quoting the 2012 Aflac WorkForces Report, effective wellness programs result on average in:
- 28% reduction in sick days
- 26% reduction in health care costs
- 30% reduction in workers’ compensation and disability management claims
How Can Companies Encourage Wellness?
Given the returns, it seems beneficial for every company to offer a wellness program of some level. Strong wellness programs generally incorporate a variety of angles. Because physical health is so important, many companies focus on exercise, diet and lifestyle choices, such as smoking. Some companies also offer medical screenings and informational sessions. Many chronic disease are preventable with the right lifestyle, making information crucial to helping employees make better, more informed decisions.
Wellness isn’t just about physical health, however. Many corporate wellness programs focus on mental and financial health as well. Programs to increase serenity and reduce stress are popular and effective. These can range from financial or self-advocacy education to yoga classes and massage therapy. Fun can also contribute to wellness, so some companies introduce a leisure component to help employees relax.
Sunlighten’s Take on Corporate Wellness
At Sunlighten, we take employee health seriously – which is why we offer our staff a variety of wellness perks, from an on-site fitness center, sauna therapy and relaxation lounge to comprehensive benefits packages and paid time off (which we strongly encourage employees to use!). We regularly provide our associates with information on healthy living from some of the best health experts, and offer gift cards and discounts on day spa services so they can attend to both their physical and mental wellbeing.
Does your company offer a wellness program or other incentives to better your physical and mental health? We’d love to hear about it! Leave us a comment or drop us a line.