Thanks to research done in recent years, corporate health and wellness programs have been shown to provide far-ranging benefits to both employees and their companies when designed in the correct way. Programs that offer resources to support healthy decision making on the job--like nutritious lunch options, group exercise opportunities, and smoking cessation programs--address workers’ healthcare needs in both the long and short term: daily steps toward healthier lifestyles collectively constitute leaps away from sky-high healthcare costs incurred through preventable illnesses.
Designed to make the fast-paced modern workplace more enjoyable, wellness programs take many forms, ranging from low-cost options such as enhancing the office with potted plants, to lavish benefits like comprehensive health screening and on-site childcare. Despite some lingering confusion over the relative benefits of disease management versus lifestyle management programs, the evidence remains clear: workplace wellness programs provide a significant return on investment to the employer while making employees feel valued and cared for.
3 Reasons Why Your Company Needs a Health and Wellness Program
1. Save on Healthcare Cost
Every year, American companies spend millions on employee insurance premiums, racking up big bills for hospital visits and chronic disease management. By targeting risk factors for chronic illness, such as overweight, elevated stress levels, and tobacco use, wellness programs aim to lower healthcare costs through preventive care. With headlines touting the plush nap pods and organized recess breaks at Google and Zappos, along with our increased awareness of how the health of individual employees influences a company’s performance, the relationship between happy employees and stronger company performance may seem obvious to the modern worker. What’s more surprising is the dollar amount backing up the investment into worker well-being.
Consider a 2019 case study which tracked the success of a healthy meal labeling program at a leading oil and natural gas company: over a period of five years, offering lunch options marked as healthy saved the company an impressive 10% on their annual healthcare costs, even when subsidizing the price of the healthy lunches by up to 50%. Crediting a steady trend of employee buy-in, the company also reported $4.64 in return on investment, showing that investing in employees’ healthy diets pays huge dividends.
2. Increase Employee Productivity
When workers don’t feel their best, on-the-job performance suffers. A person can mentally check out at work for any number of reasons; whether your employees are dealing with anxiety, a lack of nourishing meals available at lunch, or limited time for fitness, each issue presents an opportunity for the company to step in and provide a path to a more productive workday.
Research shows that half of all companies offering wellness programs see a decrease in absenteeism, in addition to increased productivity and employee satisfaction.
3. Foster Culture of Wellness
At the ideal job, a worker feels like their company cares deeply about their office experience, not just its bottom line. One of the best ways employers can show their dedication to their employees is by creating an environment that supports healthy choices. Corporate wellness programs that center on healthy eating, group fitness, and friendly competition build camaraderie around a shared purpose, like meeting team goals for weight loss or water intake. Investing in employee well-being is important not just for retaining an existing roster; showing the talent that you’ll promote their long-term health can mean the difference between securing top candidates or losing them to rivals. In fact, data tells us that 87% of employees consider health and wellness packages when job hunting.
Health and wellness programs are a no-brainer opportunity to invest in your employees and reap savings on healthcare, boost productivity, and create a company culture that promotes worker happiness and attracts top talent. With wellness programs quickly becoming the norm in the modern workplace, there’s never been a better time to go above and beyond to promote healthy lifestyles and a supportive work environment.