Workplace wellness is evolving. Health programs that were once gym memberships and free seminars have grown into more creative, comprehensive offerings — health screenings and risk assessments, coaching, online wellness solutions, and more.
As health and wellness programs evolve, more companies are realizing their value. In a survey on wellness initiatives, the Society for Human Resource Management found 76 percent of organizations offered employees health and wellness resources. Some companies — Google and Zappos, for instance — are known for their unique wellness programs, granting employees time for activities like golf or laser tagging, or encouraging employees to educate co-workers on their expertise.
But even as their popularity increases, some employers shy away from such programs. They might prioritize other business initiatives, fear the cost of implementing a program, or doubt employees will participate. Of course, those are valid concerns. A wellness program might seem like a low priority next to marketing initiatives and sales goals.
Not every company has the time or resources that Google or Zappos do to create out-of-this-world wellness initiatives, but that doesn’t mean business leaders should forego a program altogether.
Wellness programs don’t just benefit employees’ health; they’re also an investment. When leaders take time to carefully design and implement wellness programs, both the business and employees see results.
Bring Wellness to Your Workplace
Not convinced? These four reasons should whet your appetite for a scrumptious wellness initiative:
- Increased employee satisfaction
To be well is to be happy. Who doesn’t love the feeling after a great workout? But with a corporate wellness program, the satisfaction boost spreads well beyond the gym.
The 2016 Aflac Workforces report found that employees who are offered wellness programs tend to report higher job satisfaction and be happier with their employers.
Psst — this also has financial perks. Employees who are happier perform better, and increased performance equals a better bottom line. With a healthier and more engaged workforce, you’ll see a decrease in absenteeism and spend less on sick pay.
- Boosted savings and ROI
Organizations consistently see return on their wellness programs. One case study conducted by the National Business Coalition on Health revealed a $3 return for every $1 spent on a wellness initiative at the University of Louisville, while a Harvard Business Review article reported one company enjoyed a $6 return for every dollar spent.
In practice, wellness programs can save companies millions. Johnson & Johnson estimated wellness programs have saved the company $250 million on healthcare costs over the past decade, resulting in a $2.71 return for every dollar spent. Since 1995, the amount of J&J smokers decreased by more than two-thirds, and the amount of workers with high blood pressure or who led sedentary lifestyles decreased by more than 50 percent.
To lift wellness programs’ ROI even further, many health insurance companies offer incentives to organizations with healthy employees. At-home tests are inexpensive and can effectively prove a team is healthy, leading insurers to decrease the organization’s monthly premiums.
With wellness programs, price shouldn’t be a deal breaker. They have upfront costs, of course, but they’re also proven to bring healthy returns.
- Strengthened team morale
When employees feel good, team morale and confidence surge. Giving employees opportunities to be active, go for a walk, and participate in community work together helps them bond while also improving workplace skills like stress management and critical thinking.
Google’s “Googler to Googler” teaching program, for instance, teaches employees new skills and connects co-workers to one another. Employees from across teams who might not otherwise encounter one another can connect and share ideas, building a more cohesive, collaborative team.
- Improved community involvement
By participating in local walks and working with nonprofits, your employees become invested in the community. When others ask your team members why they’re volunteering, they’ll share your company name and build valuable connections. It’s a win-win for your company, employees, and community.
Whether it’s spending funds on sick pay or missing out on healthcare savings, unhealthy employees affect your bottom line one way or another. But with a healthy workforce, you’ll enjoy increased productivity, reduced healthcare costs, and decreased absenteeism. Consider wellness programs the low-hanging fruit to boost your bottom line.
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