Employees are the backbone of any business. They provide their skills and expertise to keep the company up and running. As an employer, you may already have invested money and time into increasing productivity in the workplace. However, a productive and efficient work environment isn’t only made up of the right tools and equipment. It’s also largely composed of happy and motivated employees.
Enthusiastic employees are healthy employees. More and more businesses are realizing the importance of having a healthy workforce, as absences and sick leaves can definitely hurt the productivity and the bottom line of the company. This is where wellness programs come into play.
These programs are more popular than ever. What started as an employee perk for bigger companies is now a common incentive for both medium and even small-sized businesses. In fact, they’re now often considered as part of the benefits package for most corporations.
What are the pros and cons of corporate wellness programs? (Image Source: Pexels)
But are wellness programs really worth the investment? Find out about their pros and cons.
Improves health behaviors and lowers healthcare costs
The goal of most wellness programs is to change people’s behavior on health. This means equipping them with the right education, motivations, skills, and social support to transform the unhealthy behavior that they have become accustomed to.
Unhealthy practices lead to health risks, which in turn lead to chronic diseases and absences, and ultimately higher healthcare costs for the employer.
Good wellness programs help people adapt to healthy changes and maintain this behavior. This is probably the biggest benefit and reason to get a wellness program.
Almost anybody can have a good couple of days or weeks. The most challenging thing is maintaining the habits of a healthy lifestyle. The day you stop making good decisions is the day you stop enjoying the benefits of well-being. You can even encourage your employees to maintain this lifestyle outside of the workplace. They can take vitamins and workout supplements to boost the results they are getting. If you are looking for a great supplement, for example, check out this detailed analysis of 4 Gauge.
If employees are able to adapt to a healthy lifestyle, there’s a good chance they will maintain it. They will choose more nutritious food, eat smaller portions, exercise often, drink less, smoke less, and more. All these things can contribute to healthier and more productive employees.
Furthermore, wellness programs can alleviate stress, anxiety, and even depression symptoms and improve life satisfaction. In some cases, it can also boost your confidence so you won’t be shy about approaching the opposite sex.
Reduces health elevated risks
An unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to dangerous health risks, such as elevated blood glucose levels, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. In addition to that, work-related stress can lead to multiple problems such as headaches, body aches, chest pains, and tension pains, insomnia, fatigue, and a weakened immune system.
A wellness program can help your employees avoid developing these conditions. In fact, multiple studies have proven this over the years.
A randomized clinical trial performed by Brigham Young University in 2005 showed that nutrition and exercise could dramatically improve health risks in as fast as six weeks. The study followed 337 volunteers aged 43 to 81 years old. Results showed that those who maintained healthier lifestyles experienced lower health risks in just six weeks, up to six months, 12 months, and 18 months after the program started.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of corporate wellness programs? (Image Source: Pexels)
While the benefits often justify the costs of these programs for most large companies, small business owners may find it challenging to invest and implement workplace wellness plans.
Initial investment cost
It’s no secret that these programs are huge investments for any company. Of course, the cost varies depending on the program you choose. Aside from staff time, you may need to equip your business with a fitness center (or partner with a local fitness gym and enroll your employees). You also need to hire a fitness instructor and educational speakers, provide healthy food and snacks, offer free medical screenings, send employees to smoking cessation programs and/or substance counseling, and other things.
Sending your employees to the gym or providing them with exercise equipment can open you to legal liabilities should they incur injuries or illnesses after participating in a company-sponsored wellness program. Disgruntled employees can say you pressured them into those activities that caused their injury.
With that said, it is best to check with your lawyer to decide on the wellness program you should offer. Additionally, make sure you communicate the plan with your employees and have them sign a document that says they voluntarily participated in the wellness program.
You would have to devote some manpower to craft a program, develop an implementation plan, purchase equipment and materials, and manage the wellness program. Your best option is to start with your insurance provider and ask for their advice. Many insurance and benefits providers actually offer this kind of program, as it can help keep the workforce healthy and reduce claims.