What is a wellness program? A wellness program is a program that is intended to promote health and fitness. These types of programs can be offered through one’s employer or insurance company. The general idea behind such programs is that by one taking an active role in their well-being and living a healthier lifestyle the need for medical care and thus associated costs will decrease.
Many wellness programs focus on some of the basics we all know can have a direct and immediate impact on our well-being. Examples include smoking cessation, weight loss, and health screenings.
When an employer initiates a wellness program for its employees, this can help build morale, comradery and help create support systems that lead through greater positive results through team support systems. From a recruitment standpoint, anecdotal evidence also suggests having a wellness program can also help a company in both its recruitment efforts and retention rates. A well-developed wellness program tells employees and prospects alike that a company cares.
With the rise of medical care increasing year over year for both employers and individuals being active in a wellness program can not only benefit one in terms of their health but also financially as well. Both physical and financial health then can reap benefits on one’s psychology thus leading to less sick days, higher productivity, better employee relations, and better family relationships.
We all know that hospitals and doctors are great at treating illness but where it comes to prevention we are often times our own best advocate.
As a company considers developing a wellness program, they often start the conceptualization process wondering what exactly it is they want to include and what impacts they wish to have.
Many elements can be assessed to determine the best approach for your company wellness program. First, a company must look at what assets it has available to support the cause. Not every company has it within their budget to add workout space and equipment or to help cover costs of gym memberships. Other factors may include demographics such as what is the makeup of one’s workforce. Offering health screenings, in general, are a great option to consider but offering mammogram screenings for a predominantly male workforce or colonoscopy screening for a millennial-dominated company will not be the best use of one’s resources.
Most companies in their consideration will take into account programs that focus on activities that will have the most significant impact on their employee’s health in the quickest time possible. Examples like smoking cessation and weight management are examples that most employees will quickly get behind and likely to have the greatest employee buy-in.
Some companies may look to think a little more outside the box and work to incorporate other ideas that will have the added benefit of adding to a positive company culture and build on the idea of teamwork. Examples of programs that could fit into this category are planting a company garden with free produce giveaway, setting up play time and developing team sports activities.
Another idea many companies are using is the implementation of incentive-based activities. These may seek to empower the employee to take a more active role in their health beyond the confines of their workspace. Such programs should focus on positive change however and not necessarily an end goal. While the end goal is important making that the sole focus can cause some who are naturally more-healthy to be rewarded for little to no effort while giving little credit to those who work harder to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Incentives can come in many forms. Examples can include Win a Fitbit, gift cards to stores with more of a health focus, office visit by a local massage therapist, extra days off, etc. Creative incentive plans can have a huge impact and are only limited by one’s imagination.
If interested in learning more about wellness programs and how they can benefit both your business and employees contact us. We are happy to help.
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