Workplace wellness programs have become increasing popular in the past few years. When implemented successfully, workplace wellness programs give employees incentives, tools, social support and strategies to adopt and maintain healthy behaviors. Further, workplaces are doing more to prevent and even reverse chronic diseases, leading to happier, healthier employees.

What is a workplace wellness program?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Workplace wellness programs are coordinated and comprehensive sets of health promotion and strategies implemented at the workplace that include programs, policies, benefits, environmental support and connections to the surrounding community designed to encourage the health and safety of all employees.”

Typical benefits in a workplace wellness program include smoking cessation, weight loss strategies, stress management, company gym/workout facilities as well as recreational opportunities like company-sponsored sports teams, medical screenings and immunization shots.

Why create a wellness program for your company?

Creating and managing an employee wellness program is an important tool for improving the health and productivity of employees and potentially improving the overall cost of employer-provided health care. 

With the right education, skills, motivation, tools and support, people are able to change behaviors, often permanently. Wellness programs are helpful for people to adopt and maintain healthy behaviors, and healthy employees can aid employers by lowering health care costs and reducing absenteeism as well as enhancing employee morale.

Elevated blood glucose, high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure are almost all caused by unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity. An employee wellness program can help address these issues and improve the quality of life for employees.

Further, for many reasons, employees may experience low productivity or what’s called presenteeism. Despite other causes, one of the main factors leading to a lack in productivity is poor health. 

By the numbers, smokers were 28% more likely to have high presenteeism than non-smokers; employees with an unhealthy diet were 66% more likely to have high presenteeism than those who regularly ate whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; and

employees who didn’t exercise regularly were 50% more likely to have high presenteeism than employees who were regular exercisers. 

In short, unhealthy individual lifestyle choices may result in substantially higher levels of lost productive work time. With a structured and strategic workplace wellness plan, productivity can increase while also addressing employees’ health issues.

Corporate Wellness Program Ideas

Not sure where to start to design and implement a corporate wellness program? Here is a list of activities that are common among organizations and can be tailored to your unique employee base.

  1. Host a company-wide athletic event such as a 5K
  2. Offer daily, weekly or monthly yoga sessions
  3. Provide a healthy snack pantry that includes fruits, vegetables, protein and other nutrient-rich foods
  4. Host a company-wide weight loss challenge
  5. Provide standing desks, if possible
  6. Provide smoking cessation resources

Challenges when implementing a Corporate Wellness Program

While corporate wellness programs can have significant advantages within an organization, implementing such programs can come with its set of challenges including:

  • Lack of employee Interest 
  • Insufficient resources, such as employees to run the program
  • Insufficient funding to provide the necessary resources
  • Inability to engage high-risk employees in the program
  • Failure to gain the support of senior management

One key factor to ensuring the success of a workplace wellness program is to have top-down support from the C-suite, fully integrate the wellness initiatives in the company culture and be proactive to address employees’ health issues such as stress demands of the job.

How to get started

Enlist the help of software such as BetterYou. BetterYou enables you to better 

understand the health and goals of your employee population. Running seamlessly in the background, BetterYou provides a real-time dashboard to enable you to make data-driven decisions for offerings that will best benefit your employees. BetterYou offers a complete wellness program under a single platform that handles most of the work for you. 

Ready to get started? Schedule a consultation and/or a demo of BetterYou today.