Corporate wellness programs can improve employee health, boost productivity, and reduce a company’s total healthcare spend. Sounds too good to be true?
Are these employee wellness programs just a passing fad? Or are they becoming a necessity in today’s modern digitalized world? Should you start an employee wellness program at your company?
Keep reading this guide to find out! 🙂
What Is the Employee Wellness Program?
Employee wellness programs come in various shapes and sizes, but at the most basic level, they’re intended to improve and promote employee mental and physical well-being.
With employee wellness programs, organizations can:
- Promote the health and reduce health-risk behaviors of employees
- Identify and correct conditions that can compromise the health of employees
- Reduce levels of stress in adults
- Increase productivity
- Reduce escalating health care costs
Employees are a company’s most valuable resource, and company policies should include programs that focus on employees’ health.
Employee Wellness Program In Numbers
Here are some fantastic company wellness program statistics every employer should know:
1. A workplace that enhances employee health and wellbeing would encourage 7 out of 10 to stay at their current job. (Source)
2. 89% of workers at companies that support well-being efforts are more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work. (Source)
3. Lack of exercise is common, with 29% of employees exercising only 0-1 days per week.
4. 1 out of 6 people experiences some form of mental health problems in the workplace. (Source)
5. Research has demonstrated that workplace health initiatives can help reduce sick leave absenteeism by 27% and healthcare costs for companies by 26%. (Source)
6. 61% of employees agree that they’ve made healthier lifestyle choices because of their company’s wellness program. (Source)
7. 38% of wellness program participants said it helped them take fewer sick days. (Source)
8. 91% of workers at companies that support well-being efforts say they feel motivated to do their best. (Source)
9. 74% of employers view well-being as important to employees and a useful tool for recruiting and retaining staff. (Source)
10. 54% of employees say their employers should offer financial rewards for living healthy lifestyles. (Source)
These numbers prove why employee wellbeing programs are so important.
Employee Wellness Program Benefits
Employee wellness programs have multiple benefits, both for the employers and the employees. Discover the seven key benefits of company wellness programs backed by research!
Recommended Article: 80 Employee Benefits Ideas for Remote Workers [2021 Guide]
1. Reduce Health Care Costs
One of the direct benefits of employee wellness programs is reduced healthcare costs. When you take care of your employees’ health with proactive initiatives, they are less likely to fall sick. The best way to take care of this is to invest your efforts in an employee wellness program.
Among the 22 different studies that looked at employee wellness programs and healthcare costs, the average return on investment was 3.27. This means that for every dollar spent on the program, the company saved $3.27 because of reduced healthcare costs.
You could partner with an organization that holds expertise in meditation, yoga, Zumba, etc. This way your employees get a chance to stay active and take care of health despite their busy schedule. In the long run, when your team is physically and mentally fit, they’re more likely to keep the diseases at bay.
Johnson & Johnson has stated that their wellness program has saved the organization $250 million over six years, resulting in a wellness program ROI of $2.71 for each dollar invested!
2. Increase Productivity
Wellness programs help increase productivity levels in employees. Often employees are too busy in their monotonous schedule that their health takes the backseat. This results in poor work performance or a drop in productivity levels in the long run. With wellness programs, you prioritize the mental and physical well-being of employees.
This helps them reduce their stress and motivates them. For example, yoga and meditation, when done regularly, can help attain much clarity in thinking. Ultimately, this can help in increasing focus, productivity, and performance at work.
However, the study confirms that employee wellness programs consistently report improved employee productivity.
3. Improve Health Behaviors
There are a lot of factors that affect a person’s behavior. However, the most important of these is their physical and mental well-being. A healthy employee is more likely to be at their best behavior at the workplace. To ensure this, you must leverage different types of wellness programs. This will help reduce the healthcare risks in employees and improve the outlook of their lives.
The idea behind the best workplace wellness program is to help employees adopt healthy habits that reduce their overall stress and bad lifestyle choices.
For example, with the right wellness programs, you can help your employees decrease their smoking habits and motivate them to exercise regularly. These practices, in the long run, improve the mental well-being and behavior of employees.
Many studies have evaluated the ability of wellness programs to improve health behaviors. Programs that are well-organized and follow effective behavior change models show the best results.
4. Higher Engagement
American Psychological Association has found that an overwhelming 91% of employees at companies that support well-being say they feel motivated to do their best.
Taking wellness initiatives at the workplace for your employees can also result in higher engagement levels. That is because a carefully curated wellness program involves engaging the teams for some activity or task. For example, wellness programs can include engaging group activities like walking meetings and weight loss challenges.
Fun wellness activities can turn into opportunities to bond with other employees and create a culture of enthusiasm. Once people start communicating with each other better, it directly results in better collaboration and engagement at the workplace.
Recommended Read: 23 Best Employee Engagement Apps for 2021
5. Reduce Absenteeism
Employee absenteeism can affect the work adversary if it happens pretty frequently. One of the main reasons your employees might not be turning up for work can be health issues.
With wellness programs at the workplace, you can help employees stay fit and healthy. When your workforce is stress-free, physically and mentally fit, there are fewer chances that they will remain absent from work due to health reasons.
Additionally, wellness programs keep employees motivated and engaged in the workplace, ultimately helping them stay enthusiastic about their day-to-day tasks. Not to forget, good health directly impacts the morale of employees positively.
Research suggests employers save on average $5.82 in lower absenteeism costs for every dollar spent on employee wellness.
6. Higher Employee Retention
There are many reasons why employees will want to stay with your organization if you’re offering them wellness programs at the workplace. First, a successful wellness program shows the fact that you care about the well-being of your workforce.
It helps employees remember that their health is valuable to you, which keeps them loyal to the organization—next, wellness programs at the workplace work towards assisting employees to achieve their personal goals.
For example, if your team members want to lose weight, weight loss programs at the workplace can provide them with the proper guidance to achieve their body goals.
Lastly, by engaging in wellness activities at work, employees feel appreciated and stress-free, vital for their retention and loyalty. When you provide your teams with such perks, they will surely stay with you for a longer duration.
According to research conducted by an American Psychological Association, In companies without employee wellness programs, 51% of employees said they intend to leave their job in the following year.
7. Build and Help Sustain High Employee Morale
Most organizations have a jam-packed work schedule. Tight project completion deadlines line up multiple meetings in a day. While your team might feel energetic about work initially, their morale might get impacted in the long run.
On the other hand, employee wellness programs provide people with an opportunity to destress themselves. They are also able to communicate with each other on non-work-related issues and bring in enthusiasm.
Moreover, if your wellness program includes a team activity, there is a renewed sense of energy among employees. All of these factors, including the fact that your employees feel appreciated, results in boating their morale. Chances are they will be happier when they know they can control aspects of their behavior and well-being with exercises and other guided initiatives.
Six Ways to Improve Employees’ Physical and Mental Well-being
Wellness /ˈwɛlnəs/noun: the state of being healthy, especially when it is something that you actively try to achieve
Here are six proven and powerful ways to boost employees’ physical and mental wellbeing:
According to a new survey, 77% of employees did not think they consumed enough water daily to meet their health needs.
We all know drinking the right amount of water is important for our bodies. It helps maintain body fluids and protects organs and tissues. Here are some ways to encourage this habit:
- Most employees are too occupied in their daily routines that they miss out on hydrating themselves. Sometimes they are too lazy to take breaks and go to the water cooler. Make sure you take this concern seriously and encourage your employees to take frequent breaks, along with placing the water cooler nearby.
- Facilitate your workplace with water at all times. Additionally, ensure that the water supply is fresh and tastes well. You can also place jugs, glasses, and bottles for people who don’t carry their water bottles.
- Getting up from the seat and going for a short walk increases the blood flow in the body and refreshes the mind. Moreover, employees also get to chat with their peers around the watercooler, which helps destress and feel alive. Highlight the importance of these facts in your workplace to promote a healthy culture.
Regular running helps build strong bones, strengthen muscles, burn plenty of kilojoules, and maintain a healthy weight.
A study found that employees are happier and more efficient at the workplace on days when they run.
How to encourage your employees to embrace running?
- Organize a marathon or health run to encourage employees to get off their seats and prioritize health. While this will help build sportsmanship in people, it will also boost their morale and lead to greater productivity.
- Nothing provides more motivation than positive reinforcement. When you reward your employees for undertaking a healthy initiative, they will be inclined to do more of it. In other words, they’ll be pursuing healthy activity for longer periods and setting an example for others at the workplace.
- One of the most important things to remember about people is that they forget quickly. It doesn’t matter if you’re sending a fortnightly newsletter highlighting the impact of health to your employees because there’s not much they’ll be able to do with the information.
Instead, make them aware of the day-to-day implications of healthy activities such as running. Then organize sports days in your workplace to encourage participation.
3. Healthy Eating
Proper eating is an essential part of overall wellness. As an employer, you have to motivate your employees to eat better.
According to the WHO, 80% of heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented by adopting a healthy diet.
How to encourage your employees to embrace running?
- One of the best ways to ensure your employees’ physical and mental well-being is to offer healthy snacks. Since many employees snack at the workplace, providing them with healthier options to eat can improve their overall health.
- Another excellent health initiative that you can try at your workplace is a potluck. Potlucks are pretty popular among the employees and can be used to implement healthy food habits. Ask your employees to bring different healthy home-cooked dishes, which can also inspire others. Frequent potlucks can impact the food choices of employees in the long run.
- As an employer, you can subsidize healthy food items at the workplace. This will ensure that your employees choose them instead of their regular junk food. Additionally, it also helps develop a positive and caring image of your organization.
Yoga has many benefits, including reduced muscle pain, stress, anxiety, improved quality of life, fitness, flexibility, and strength. So, yoga can be a crucial component of your workplace wellness program. About 15 minutes of yoga practice can boost your mood.
How to encourage your employees to do Yoga?
- Yoga is not just a physical exercise but the union of mind and body. It takes care of your physical health as well as nurtures your mind. Encourage employees to regularly pursue yoga to help destress, clear the mind, and rejuvenate their minds and bodies. Since it doesn’t require much, employees can do it easily without any prior experience.
- Most people don’t undertake yoga because they think it requires flexibility and other prerequisites. Make your employees aware that anyone can do yoga and benefit from it daily. You can also tell them about breathing techniques and relaxing postures that can increase their mental well-being almost instantly.
- Gamify it. Organize quiz competitions between teams and ignite their sportsman spirits. While healthy competition can motivate people to try, they might also feel impressed by how they feel towards the end of the exercise.
Mental well-being is an integral part of an employee’s overall health because it impacts their performance and productivity. And meditation is a great way to foster brain—and body—health.
A study from Boston University has shown that meditation-based programs lead to significant reductions in anxiety and depression and increased patience and positivity.
How to encourage employees to do meditation?
- Meditation can calm the thoughts and leave the mind refreshed. Encourage meditation at your workplace so that our employees can re-energize their minds after or before a long day’s work.
- A good way is to start with a relaxing breathing exercise and close their eyes to recollect their thoughts. Since meditation doesn’t require much, even 10 minutes of it can help improve your employees’ mental health.
- For those of your employees who aren’t inclined towards meditation, help create a meditative environment at the workplace. You can add calming pictures, indoor plants, and other such interior elements.
- Additionally, you can also offer employees some time out during the day where they can focus without paying attention to calls, emails, etc. if possible, play classical music or nature sounds for some time during the day.
According to a study by Harvard University, “a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury.”
How to encourage employees to get a good night sleep?
- Help your employees deal with sleep deprivation by providing them with free counseling. Make sure they get the best remedy to get their sleep cycle back on track.
- Encourage employees to avoid coffee in the late afternoon or evening. It will help them maintain their normal body clock.
- Give them access to a sleep tracking app. Then create a sleep challenge: can you get 7 hours of sleep for 21 days straight? And reward winners with cool prizes or gift cards!
How to Encourage Employees to Participate In Workplace Wellness Programs
For corporate employees, staying healthy seems like a daunting task. As most of their time is spent sitting in their offices, they find it hard to take out time to work towards their health.
This is why employers must promote good health behaviors and create a culture of wellness at work. Here are some proven ways to encourage employees:
Corporate Wellness Application
Technological advancements have brought the world closer to us. We have access to things that we couldn’t even imagine earlier. This also includes healthcare.
Today, with some time and effort, organizations can quickly provide their employees with wellness initiatives. They can encourage teams and provide the requisite support to achieve their health goals. One of the best ways to do this is to incentivize your employees to take up health challenges and win rewards when they reach them.
While you get to track their goals, your employees are motivated to pursue their health goals and stay on top of them. A win-win situation for your organization, such initiatives promote employee engagement and enthusiasm at the workplace.
Appoint Health Ambassador
A Health Ambassador for the workplace can do wonders for your organization. However, you don’t need to look for them outside. There might be several employees in your organization who are passionate about their health and make sure they stay fit.
These people also serve as role models for others at the workplace. Leverage the positive attitude and wellness strategies of these individuals to help encourage other members of your teams. Start by appointing such people as the health ambassadors of different teams.
Another smart way to encourage wellness at the workplace is to offer your employees a gym membership. While there’s nothing like owning a gym in your office, it is also an expensive affair. Moreover, you would need to hire a healthcare expert who provides guidance on exercises and takes sessions from time to time. Avoiding all of this, you can partner with a gymnasium in your area and offer free or subsidized memberships to your employees.
Health Articles and Resources
Changing the existing trends and work patterns at the workplace can take a long time. You will have to do more than initiating wellness programs at the workplace because your employees might not be used to them. In simple terms, you will first have to motivate your employees to think in the direction of a healthy lifestyle. Only then will they feel encouraged to take action.
Health articles and resources are some of the best ways to do this. Create a newsletter or share vital information relating to physical and mental health, exercises, and more. This will help impart awareness about adopting a healthy lifestyle. After all, healthy employees equal a productive workplace.
Offer Healthy Snacks
Snacks are the most underrated and overlooked meal we consume. Most organizations think that offering their employees big and shiny incentives amount to the best perks. However, it is the little things that matter. One of those significant perks that an organization can offer to its employees is healthy snacks.
Research indicates that the food we consume directly impacts our cognitive abilities and performance. And snacks are one of the most critical meals since they affect a person’s overall diet and mood.
As an organization, you can leverage this opportunity to provide your employees with healthy snacks. This includes stocking your vending machines with healthy alternatives to ordinary snacks. Similarly, if you have a team gathering or event, make sure to add healthy food choices to the menu.
Create Active Workstation
With modern research kicking the traditional stereotypes, a lot needs to be done at the workplace. This includes changing the way people work at their stations.
Today, you can see everyone sitting on their chairs and working the entire day. While it might seem like the most comfortable option, research states the opposite. The idea is that sitting on a chair for more extended periods can impact your metabolism, slow it down and lead to a higher fat accumulation in the body.
As an organization, it is something you must take seriously. An excellent way to beat this bad habit is to create standing workstations. When you stand for short periods or have a stationary bike in place of your chair, you stay active.
While it might not burn all your calories instantly, it indeed promotes a healthy option of getting up and adapting to more dynamic positions. In the long term, it can increase productivity and keep your employees healthier.
Ensuring employee wellness is not only restricted to physical exercises. If you want your teams to stay overall healthy, you need to pay attention to their mental health. Remember that while your employees are physically present in the office, it is their mind that they are putting to work. Daily, with the large amounts of tasks and nearing deadlines, mental stress can pile up.
So, unless you provide your employees with ways to lower their stress levels, you’re not focusing on workplace wellness entirely. A good way to do this is to offer the opportunity to nurture the brain with an in-house library. A book can do wonders for the mind. It can help people break away from the monotonous work schedule, gather information, improve vocabulary, and rejuvenate the mind.
Alternatively, you can also offer in-house courses for people interested in learning about different topics in your organization.
Monday blues aren’t that uncommon. Most employees hate Mondays because that’s when they have the least motivation to work. After all, there’s an entire week full of work lined up for them. As a responsible organization, you can try to turn this situation around. Organize wellness sessions on Mondays that help employees reduce their stress and feel motivated.
For example, meditation can be an excellent way to collect one’s thoughts, stay focused and calm. It also helps keep a check on anxiety, blood pressure, and other physical and mental phenomenons.
Encourage Work Breaks
Many employees take only one long break in a day, which is usually lunch. For the rest of the time, they’re either too lazy to get up or just too involved in finishing tasks. But, seldom do they realize that this habit can adversely impact their mental and physical health. Right from backaches to cramps, eye strains, and more, it can lead to more severe health issues in the long run.
Therefore, encourage your employees to take more frequent breaks. This helps release the stress gathered in the mind and body and feel refreshed.
Games and Fun Activities
Once in a while, organize an offsite wellness program to have some fun at work. Even the idea of going outside the workplace can release stress and help employees feel energetic. You can either organize indoor games like table tennis, chess, pool, etc. or take your team on a hiking trip, volunteering activity, etc.
If you have ample space in your office, you can also set up a badminton court or a soccer playground. This way, your employees can take a break to pursue these wellness activities and come back to work with a refreshed mind.
Employee Wellness Program Ideas
Employee wellness programs are a great way to attract top talent, keep employees happy and productive, and decrease employee turnover. How to implement a workplace wellness program?
Little or no wellness budget? These are some excellent workplace wellness ideas and tips that you can do on any budget.
Try to include a few of them to create a unique corporate wellness benefits program for a better, healthier work culture for your employees.
Employee Wellness Program Best Practices
How do you design and run a successful workplace wellness program?
Here are best practices to establish and design a workplace wellness program:
Ask Your Employees First
Do an internal survey to determine what kind of things your employees want and would value. You can ask questions like:
“What are your health goals?”
“Do you think conducting wellness programs during office hours is helpful?”
“Do you feel that we could do more to support you with your physical and mental health? If so, how?”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance on designing an employee survey, including survey topic areas.
A wellness program will not work without support from the management. It takes time, money, and resources to build and launch a successful employee wellness program. And leadership buy-in is critical for funding purposes, for guidance, for getting support throughout the organization, and for approving program policies and processes.
Appoint Wellness Champions
The next step is, creating an internal well-being champions’ team to lead your program and build a wellness culture in the organization.
Make sure that management sets clear and measurable objectives and supports them with a budget. Here are some responsibilities of the wellness champions’ team:
- Evaluating the current workplace programs and policies
- Assessing employee needs and preferences
- Developing a wellness program plan and process (which includes a vision statement, goals, objectives, and activities)
- Monitoring and evaluating the wellness program
Decide the Program Budget
It’s a critical step. Without a sufficient budget, the program will stall. While creating a wellness budget, include the cost of incentives or rewards, activities cost, marketing, and program design cost.
Incentives and Rewards
Employee Incentives or rewards are effective tools to increase participation rates and encourage individuals to complete a program. You can offer reward points that can be exchanged for shopping, gifts, food, or monetary awards.
It’s time to write and communicate the organization’s wellness policy. Well-executed wellness programs require exceptional employee communications. You can create a dedicated wellness program webpage, signage, and posters in the office.
Or create a document with all the information and send it to your company-wide Slack channel. Also, appoint a dedicated team to answer any questions or concerns your employees may have.
Keep posting new program updates in the Slack channel, company-wide newsletter, and emails.
Measure the Program Results
Did employee health improve? Are your employees more or less happy in the office? What’s the program participation rate? Program completion rates? Healthcare cost reduction?
Evaluating the results of your employee wellness program can answer all your questions. It’s the only way to determine if it’s working or not and understand what you can do to improve the results.
Best Corporate Wellness Program: Companies With Wellness Programs
We’re proud to build a team of 130+ lovely people & achieve a Glassdoor rating of 4.9 with 100+ reviews. Employee wellness, engagement & productivity are our priorities at Springworks.
At Springworks, we started a company newsletter highlighting the importance of health and wellness at the workplace. We regularly conduct mental well-being sessions where we ask experts to come and talk to our employees.
We frequently conduct fitness challenges – and reward the employee with the highest number of step count with a gift card. We run many other wellness activities for remote employees, such as yoga, meditation, flexible working hours, surprise day-offs, happy hours, fun games, etc.
Springworks provides corporate health insurance for all full-time employees. Currently, this is applicable for employees, spouses, and max two children.
One of the most popular companies globally, Apple, isn’t just famous for the iPhone and MacBook. It turns out the organization has a 100,000 square foot wellness center set up for its employees. One of the best parts is the waiting time of mere 5 minutes for people who want to avail the facilities.
The Cupertino facility of Apple offers the A to Z of health care services and boasts a green campus. Employees, therefore, have a chance to rejuvenate their minds and body from the beautiful environment that includes almost 9000 trees. The organization’s commitment to conserving the environment is evident from its wellness center.
Additionally, Apple also revived its parental leave program where its employees can take more weeks off to relax and take care of their child. Such initiatives help retain employees and demonstrate that they are cared for at the workplace.
Microsoft has designed a Living Well Health Center and Pharmacy wellness initiative. Ensuring their employees’ well-being, the organization offers access to superior and precise healthcare at a dedicated facility on the Redmond, Washington campus.
This includes several on-campus perks like nutrition counseling, filling a prescription, mental health services, gym memberships, physician house calls, spa, and sports facilities. Employees at Microsoft are motivated to take advantage of these services and prioritize their health and wellness.
If there’s an organization that is well-known for its health and wellness programs at the workplace, it is Google. Right from offering on-campus perks like a gym, it has several other wellness programs in place to ensure employee wellness. Some of its unique initiatives include nutritious meals, mental health counseling, and others.
The organization makes sure that the employees enjoy their social life and grow in their personal life. For this, Google offers paid voluntary leaves, which is supported by the company’s generous match for the donation made by its employees.
Moreover, Google provides several opportunities for the employees to reach their learning goals. Right from offering courses in music, professional development, language, etc., there are also facilities to pursue higher education and return to the job.
Expedia’s UK HQ was once described as “the happiest workplace in London.”
Employees get a Wellness Allowance. It’s between £400 and £1,200, and it’s to be spent on fitness-related items. That could be running shoes, skis, a new tennis racket, a gym membership – you name it!
It gets better. Employees that stick around can expect to receive a travel allowance of between £6,000 and £10,000. Yep – stay with Expedia for more than 12 months, and they’ll pay for your holiday. As you might expect, staff retention is high at this travel company.
Workplace Wellness Survey
Measuring employee wellbeing in the workplace is possible, and it’s important. An employee wellness survey is more than a general health and wellness assessment. Employee pulse survey seeks to learn about staff’s health and exercise habits to provide better support for achieving their personal health and wellness goals.
We suggest measuring these five primary dimensions of employee wellbeing:
Asking a few questions in each dimension will give you an overview of worksite wellness programs and help you understand the challenges they face. With feedback from your employees, you can take action where needed and ensure everyone’s well-being is supported.
Let’s take a look at a few sample wellness questions that you can use:
- The company demonstrates a commitment to the well-being of employees
- I believe employee wellbeing is a priority at my company
- How much is stress from your workplace affecting your personal life?
- Our company culture encourages a balance between work and family life
- My manager genuinely cares about my wellness
- I feel misunderstood or unappreciated by my manager
- How important is workplace wellness to you?
- How often do you exercise?
- When I am stressed, I feel I have the support available to help
- How interested would you be in attending a wellness program?
- I get the most value from workplace wellbeing initiatives
- Is there anything else that you want to add to help us improve employee wellness in our organization?
A wellness survey can help you understand the challenges your employees face and identify solutions to support them.
Workplace Wellness FAQs
An employee wellness program includes activities designed to support better health at work. These programs often include medical screenings, incentives, behavior change interventions, fitness programs, social support, yoga, meditation, emotional and psychological well-being, stress management, and life satisfaction.
In the above guide, you’ll find some best practices to establish and design a workplace wellness program.
Here are some top reasons to have a wellness program:
– It improves employee health behaviors
– It reduces elevated health risks
– It reduces health care costs
– It increases productivity
– It decreases absenteeism
– It improves employee retention
– It builds high employee morale
If your worksite wants to improve employee health and reduce health care costs, you need some effective workplace wellness activities. In this article, you can find 36 wellness ideas and activities any worksite can do.
Here are some elements that can help you to encourage participation:
– Wellness program incentives
– Effective and clear communication
– Wellness committee
– Leadership support
Among the 22 different studies that looked at wellness programs and healthcare costs, the average return on investment was 3.27. This means that for every dollar spent on the program, the company saved $3.27 because of reduced healthcare costs. (Source)
Employee wellness programs can be difficult to manage. Springworks’ Employee Wellness Tool helps organizations to manage and maintain programs. Check It Out Now