Introduction to Workplace Wellness Programs
Risky health behaviors by staff members cost a company. Changing those behaviors can save the employer money and increase the staff member’s productivity.
Because work gives an staff member a stable setting and support system, Workplace Wellness Programs can have a great impact on decreasing high-risk behaviors. This impact results in decrease health claims cost, less absenteeism, and less short-term disability.
Workplace Wellness Programs can include:
Awareness Rasing Activities: Health and wellness newsletters, health topics covered in payroll stuffers, healthy emails.
Health Risk Assessment: Employee health screenings, health fairs, health risk appraisals.
Educational Programs: Lunchtime wellness presentations, guest speakers at staff meetings.
Skill Building: Healthy cooking demostrations, activity challenges, CPR instruction opportunites, stress management classes, weight management classes.
Interventions: Massage, smoking cessation, and skills to help you get the most out of your doctor visit.
Physical setting: Healthy items in the vending machines and cafeterias, clean air practices, ergonomics, bike racks, flex time, welllit stairways.
Assessment: Worker needs assessment, baseline Workplace Wellness Program assessment measures, ongoing Workplace Wellness Program assessment of overall effectiveness.
Why Make available Workplace Wellness Programs
The typical employer spends about $8,000 a year on an employee’s medical care. This includes medical insurance, disability and worker’s compensation. As these costs climb, medical insurance is expected to rise at least 10% per year.
A 1999 study showed that companies using Workplace Wellness Programs had a return on investment (ROI) from $1.49 – $13 in benefits per dollar spent. The amount depended on the nature of the Workplace Wellness Programs used. (S. Aldana, American Journal of Wellness, 2001; 15:296-320)
One study showed that a “stop smoking” element to Workplace Wellness Programs can save between $404 -$40,829 per employee, depending on the age and sex of the staff member.
The Workplace Wellness Programs at Traveler’s Company included a self-care book, a newsletter, single-topic brochures, and videotapes. The Workplace Wellness Programs saved the company $7.8 million in employee benefi t costs, decreased doctor visits, and it reduced absenteeism by 1.2 days per staff member per year. The estimated Workplace Wellness Programs ROI was $3.40 per dollar spent.
In 1998, the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) reported a study of 46,026 staff members from six large employers for three years. Employees with an inactive lifestyle had 10% higher costs; staff members with depression had 70% higher costs.
Benefits of Workplace Wellness Programs
Increased Productivity – The Canada Life Assurance Company realized a 4% increase in productivity after beginning an employee fitness program.
Increased Job Satisfaction – According to employee opinion surveys conducted by the Silverstone Group about thier Workplace Wellness Programs, staff members’ morale increased, which helped support a more creative work setting.
Improved Recruitment & Retention – In the midst of a tight labor market, Workplace Wellness Programs could be a vital tool to draw new recruits.
Decreased Absenteeism – Canada Life Assurance Company’s absenteeism dropped 42% among staff members in the Workplace Wellness Programs.
Decreased Workers Comp & Disability – In one year, Boeing Company’s number of back injuries decreased by 34%. Six million dollars was saved by tracking injuries as they occurred.
Managed Healthcare Costs – Golden, Colorado Adolf Coors Company’s Workplace Wellness Programs returned $6.19 for every dollar spent.