Corporate Wellness Programs Benefit Employees and Employers

by: Nichole Gunn July 7, 2011

A Forbes report demonstrates that workers place importance on their health, as well as being more informed about a healthy lifestyle. The study, Yoga in America, was conducted from 2004 to 2008.

Results from the study reveal that American workers spent $5.7 billon on services and products related to yoga, such as classes, media, clothing, equipment, and even vacations. Fifty percent of those who practice yoga do so to enhance their well being.

Companies are realizing that placing priority on their employees’ health apprehensions through corporate wellness programs is an effective strategy to enhance the companies overall bottom line.

It’s been proven that employee engagement, and concentration is improved through a healthier diet; this will help increase a company’s workplace productivity. In addition, when employees perceive that their employer is genuinely concerned about their well-being through the implementation of wellness programs that encourage healthy behaviors, morale levels will be boosted.

A corporate wellness program can also help curtail preventable illness occurrences, which in itself has a positive impact on the company. Stress and an unhealthy lifestyle can increase absenteeism and decrease productivity; taking initiatives to battle these situations will help the company see noteworthy return on investments.

Effective elements of a health and wellness program for the workplace involve competiveness and social networking, according to founder and chief medical officer of Shape Up Rhode Island Dr. Rajiv Kumar, as reported by the Herald News. The Southcoast Worksite Health and Wellness Collaborative held a recent conference wherein Dr. Kumar explained the benefits of using social networking strategies to garner more participants in company programs.

Speaking at the conference, Kumar noted, “Employers spend a lot of money and a lot of effort rolling out interventions for their employees … but the problem is that they can’t get people to actually sign up for them."

He added that financial rewards do have a significant place in worker participation, but “they’re only part of the solution, and there’s actually something much more powerful, much more sustainable and much more affordable … and that’s to take the social approach to health and wellness."

Employee wellness programs need to be designed with social networking in mind. Kumar says that a social strategy can be accomplished through various methods, such as competitions, challenges, and encouraging workers to share their healthy lifestyle achievements. Sharing weight loss or lower cholesterol news can help motivate fellow workers to ‘kick it up a notch’ and realize their own successes.