A Guide to Corporate Wellness Programs and Why They Matter

Corporate wellness isn’t a nice perk. These days, it’s a crucial part of most company cultures. With drivers demanding better conditions, that’s not surprising. The numbers back this up too, with about 80 percent of businesses that have more than 50 employees offering a benefit linked to corporate wellness, says the Rand Corp. and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in a study. If you’re thinking about providing this benefit to your employees, here’s a helpful guide.

What is Corporate Wellness?

Corporate wellness programs are designed to improve the mental and physical health of employees. The goal is often to encourage employees to lead healthier lifestyles. That benefits the company, too, as healthier employees have fewer absences and medical bills. Healthier employees often perform better, too, as opposed to sickly employees. This helps lower medical premiums as well.

What Kind of Programs are Out There?

These programs are often designed differently to cater to company needs, culture, and size, but they’re generally the same in the sense that employers can choose from a wide range of activities and policies. The goal is to find programs that help their employees achieve their fitness goals. You can also look into incentivizing some of the activities to encourage even more employees to work harder at achieving long-term behavioral changes. You can offer discounted gym membership fees, or have programs that advocate them to stop smoking or offer periodic health screenings or flu shots. The greater focus on improving the mental and physical health of employees is what you want your wellness strategy to have. Look for programs that offer that.

What Do Employees Think?

Obesity in American adults is nearing 40 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reports that 6 in 10 Americans struggle with a chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) says that about 47.6 million American adults have some form of mental illness in 2018. Broken down, that is about one in five people. The end result is that a lot of obesity-related illnesses lead to higher healthcare costs. The numbers only reinforce the fact that it is in the best interests of the company to help employees stay healthy.

What are the Challenges?

It can be daunting to come up with a corporate wellness program if you haven’t had one before. There are several challenges that you’ll be up against. One of the key problems is the cost. Implementing the program will mean coming up with a budget. Some of the efforts might be low-cost but hosting a health screening, for instance, or a health-related seminar might require a bigger budget. This might discourage some companies from taking any further steps in improving their corporate wellness programs. However, these are only short-term costs.

Is It Worth It?

All indications say yes. Even given the short-term costs, the long-term benefits far outweigh them. If you want to improve your bottom line, start helping your employees get healthy and achieve their fitness goals.

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