Workplace wellness programs are growing in popularity. And the degree to which various companies do employee wellness can differ. However what’s important is that you’re thinking about employee health and recognise the role wellness can play among your workplace.
Every wellness program contributes to the strides being made toward a healthier corporate environment. No matter where your wellness program sits, there are seven things you need to know about employee wellness.
1.There's no one program fits all
Wellness should be tailored and made relevant to your employees—not the other way around. Some companies choose to offer preventative services. Others focus on health education, or smoking cessation, whilst others embark on terms classes of yoga and meditation. All are excellent options in building a wellness program relevant to the needs of your workforce.
2. They Can Be Highly Inclusive
Some people worry that wellness programs only reward people who are already healthy, and wind up punishing those who still have a ways to go. The truth is, however, that wellness can be incredibly inclusive. As research continues to support the importance of a holistically healthy lifestyle, wellness programs have expanded to address health on multiple levels.
Many wellness programs now address things like emotional well-being, mental health and nutrition. They can also include all types of people - yoga and meditation can be practiced by anyone at any age. All programs address the health of their employees. Many have extended into the home to also impact the health of spouses and dependents.
3. They Can Adapt To Corporate Culture
Wellness is incredibly adaptable because health means something different in different contexts. It’s important to take evidence-based health information and integrate it with your specific company culture.
That means working with your employees to learn what they value on the journey toward better health. It also means finding wellness activities your employees want to be a part of and addressing issues that are actually a challenge at your company.
4. They’re Incredibly Popular
A vast majority of companies address employee wellness in some way. In the U.S. the Society for Human Resource Management reported that, in 2015, 80% of employers offered preventative wellness services and information. The popularity increases with larger workforces. Some reports suggest up to 92% of employers with over 200 employees offer a wellness program. More and more companies in Australia are offering wellness programs to their staff, following the trend overseas.
5.They Go Hand in Hand With The Tech Trend
Many programs have integrated with online platforms to allow employees access to health information at all times.
Other programs utilize common technology tools to help collect and track wellness data. A popular trend is to make wellness work with wearables. As employees track their activity with devices like Fitbit or the Apple Watch, they can earn points for the progress they make and achieve the incentives their programs offer.
6. They’re Paying Off
The popularity is well-deserved. Employee wellness programs are successful in a lot of different ways. For companies, wellness programs have been shown to boast an average return on investment (ROI) of about 3:1. Outside of the direct financial gains, companies have seen reductions in employee absenteeism, staff turnover and employee stress.
For employees, wellness programs have been associated with a whole host of health benefits. These programs can lead to a greater readiness to change exercise behaviours, increased fruit and vegetable intake, decreases in body weight, increased adoption of smoking cessation and improved mental health. For all parties involved, wellness programs are working.
7. They’re Made For Employees
It’s not all about the corporate ROI, though! It’s about the value added to your company and your human capital. Many companies get caught up in the financial benefit and savings an employee wellness program can provide, but that’s not what matters most.
Wellness programs are built for employees. They’re designed to help employees learn about and make healthy lifestyle choices. Ultimately, your employees should be the focus of your wellness program.
Wellness programs can differ from workplaces. The important thing is that your leadership team are implementing and discussing the importance of the health and wellbeing of your employees.