IT Workers Benefit from Employee Wellness Programs

by: Nichole Gunn November 24, 2010

The IT world is one wherein the day is primarily spent sitting at a computer. Providing employee incentive and wellness programs to offset the sedentary lifestyle of this type of work is important for business leaders and managers in the IT field.

In an article at Computerworld, contributing writer Mary Pratt talked with a number of leaders of health initiatives and IT executives about techniques and strategies that encourage movement and a healthy environment for their employees.

The fitness and wellness programs offered by businesses can include “health fairs during business hours to 24/7 corporate gyms to on-site medical services.” Companies can make the programs diverse and flexible to benefit workers in all departments.

According to Debbi Brooks, employee wellness program expert at Health Care Services Corp (HCSC), “It often comes down to breaking down the barriers as to why people aren't doing it on their own. Making it convenient and offering flexible e and incentive programs that actually appeal to the different teams, departments, and individual workers is a key element in having these strategies work.

Another expert, Dr. Richard Luceri, head of healthcare services for the IT firm JM Family Enterprises, explained to Pratt that a company’s managers need to put emphasis on employee wellness programs. “It’s really a trickle-down phenomenon. If it doesn’t come from the top to encourage the associates to stay healthy, then it’s not going to happen."

Creating flexibility and ease of use can be quite easy. At JM Family Enterprises they have a 24-hour gym on site for all employees. The company has also turned a section of the parking garage into a basketball court. And, rather than sitting at a board table for meetings, managers walk an outside track with employees as they discuss meeting details. Simply put, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Noting an example of the results that can be gained from health and wellness programs, Laurie Wright, a database administrator at Paychex, lost 40 pounds and lowered her blood sugar level.  Participating in one of the company’s fitness challenges, Eat Well, Live Well, she started wearing a pedometer. "I was surprised to learn that I didn't even walk 2,000 [steps a day]. Now on a normal day I can get 10,000," she stated.

Surprisingly, there are a number of “work-related injuries for employees who work on computers is extensive, including chronic head, neck and back pain, skeletal problems and cardiovascular disease.” Incorporating wellness and fitness programs can help alleviate these health issues.