Running Your Business

Organize a Workplace Wellness Program for Your Employees

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Posted by October 19, 2016

A good workplace wellness program for your employees is vital for the health of your business. In fact, a happy and healthy workplace translates into a motivated and productive workforce. But how do you choose the right program, one that will motivate and encourage your employees to live a healthier lifestyle? Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

What’s in a Workplace Wellness Program?

Workplace wellness programs encourage employees to live healthier lifestyles. Typical programs often include exercise classes, weight-loss programs, smoking-cessation programs, vaccination clinics and even chronic disease management assistance. Additionally, you might consider offering mental health programs such as stress management courses, meditation classes and access to counseling. Your company may also want to provide health screenings to help your employees learn about and manage their health risks.

Workplace Wellness Programs Increase Productivity and Save Money

If you’re on the fence about whether to invest in a workplace wellness program, this should help convince you. A recent study found that for every dollar an enterprise company spent helping employees manage their chronic illnesses, it saved $3.78 in health care costs. Research has also shown that medical costs for the same injury are three times higher for obese workers than for non-obese workers in the first year after the injury.

Workplace wellness programs can also increase employee morale and productivity. One research review found that effective wellness programs reduce the number of sick days taken by an average of 28 percent. And, according to the World Economic Forum, increased employee wellness may lead to reduced turnover rates, which will save you money on recruitment and training.

The Steps to Creating the Right Wellness Program

When it comes to creating your wellness program, you have a number of options: You can set it up from scratch, you can go with a program that’s offered through your health insurance provider or you can outsource the program to an external vendor or organization. Your budget, the size of your business and other needs will determine which is the best option for you.

Whichever you choose, there are four steps that are essential to creating an effective workplace wellness program:

1. Customize Your Program

Make sure you’re focusing on the right things. The key to a successful program is engagement. So use surveys or risk assessments to determine your employees’ fitness levels, health risks, interests and needs. You can also create a leadership team to handle the implementation.

2. Encourage Management Participation

Get upper management involved. If managers are taking part in the program, their employees will follow their example.

3. Incentivize and Reward

Set up incentives. Providing health-related discounts can be a great way to encourage employees to sign up for the program. Can you offer discounts on gym memberships or fitness clothing? Can you give employees an extra 30 minutes off at lunch to attend a yoga class or participate in a walking club?

Gamification can also be a great tool when it comes to engagement. Offer your employees incentives to meet certain goals, such as losing a certain number of pounds or attending an exercise class twice a week for a month. Incentives can include rewards such as an extra vacation day, a gift card or a company-sponsored departmental lunch.

4. Check Your Compliance

Lastly, you’ll want to consult an attorney before you launch any program. All workplace wellness programs should comply with HIPAA and Affordable Care Act regulations. You should also make sure that none of your programs discriminate against disabled employees.

Have you ever participated in a workplace wellness program that you found extra motivating? Or are you running a wellness program now? Let us know about it in the comments below or on Twitter.

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